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Culture, Purity and Pollution in the Ganges River Basin World Water Forum Istanbul, March 20, 2009. Kelly D. Alley, Professor of Anthropology, Auburn University. Purity and Impurity. pure-impure: pavitra/apavitra, suddha/asudhha

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Kelly D. Alley, Professor of Anthropology, Auburn University


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    1. Culture, Purity and Pollution in the Ganges River Basin World Water ForumIstanbul, March 20, 2009 Kelly D. Alley, Professor of Anthropology, Auburn University

    2. Purity and Impurity • pure-impure: pavitra/apavitra, suddha/asudhha • Pure things: Ganga, saints, gold, Brahmans, ritual implements • impure things: bodily substances, dead bodies, menstrual blood, birth, death, leather, hair

    3. Clean and unclean • clean-unclean: saaf/ganda, svaccha/asvaccha • clean things: bathed bodies, swept ghats, washed clothes • unclean things: unbathed bodies, unswept ghats, unwashed clothes, pan spit, excrement, wastewater drains, and in some cases, corpses floating in the river

    4. Gandagi • pan spit, excrement • dirty wastewater drains and solid waste • soap from bathing and washing • bad business • Moral degeneracy in the Kali Yuga

    5. International Conference on Rivers, Kumbha Mela 2001

    6. Radio project during Kartik Purnima

    7. Can religious groups and institutions help? • Create public awareness • Mobilize sentiment toward specific goals • Put pressure on agencies controlling water and wastewater management • Maintain a public appreciation for and worship of rivers • Connect the study of ecology, hydrology and water resources to fundamental values, beliefs and worldviews