The Optimist Citizen

How a corporate professional is using the unique sport of stand-up paddle-boarding to spread the message of a clean Ganges

The planet is governed with the blue seas, green flora and the omnipresent soil. Although the most beautiful, but they are also the most vulnerable aspects of our natural habitat and this vulnerability is aggravated by reckless human intervention. M Kumaran, a corporate professional, took a 3 month sabbatical from his job to pursue his passion for the sport of stand-up paddleboarding. But, to extend his passion, he decided to paddle his way through the Ganges to generate awareness about the sport and to take a stand against pollution. M Kumaran, along with his group, is paddling 40 km per day and aims to reach Gangasagar – 2525 km from their starting point in three months.

My group of stand up paddlers in the white rapids from Devaprayag on October 15. Since then we have been promoting this sport of stand-up paddling, and talking to villagers in the settlements near the river banks every day about the need for a cleaner river,” he told The Deccan Chronicle.

The only policy that they follow is not to leave any trace behind. They set their camps, rest and dismantle it without condemning the place. They also collect water samples on their way to various destinations, so that their interaction and discussions with the villagers about the Prime Minister’s Ganga Cleaning campaign can be supported with an authentic base. “The villagers have mixed reactions to the campaign but most are of the opinion that efforts are being taken to clean the river. The villagers have started using toilets and are more aware of open-defecation harm,” he continued.

The group was thrilled after having spotted a dolphin in the waters. “This shows that water is still healthy for living organisms. Also, there is a variety of fauna and flora around,” he commented. M Kumaran is also on this expedition to spread more awareness on the fervour needed to change our lifestyle to mellow down the waste production and stop our irreversible corruption of the nature. Kumaran has paddled over three years now and said: There are a plenty of places in Chennai where one can just take a board and start paddling. Similarly, this is a sport that can be embraced by anyone looking for excitement and relaxation.

Kumaran finds it a fulfilling experience to explore all the horizons of the river Ganga which is something that has never been done before by anyone. He has managed to mix mission and pleasure in such a way that it leaves an inspiring message for other adventurers to think outside the box.

This article was originally published in The Optimist Citizen – Issue 19 dated 16 FEB ’17.  Get exclusive early access to the stories, SUBSCRIBE NOW.

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