River Ganges

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Paul Boote

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Pretty and cute but not the otter that's found on most Indian mahseer rivers, the very gregarious Asian Smooth-haired otter -

http://cdn1.arkive.org/media/2C/2C0...of-smooth-coated-otters-coming-on-to-land.jpg

I have fished a North Indian river's pool in the company of no less than seventeen of them - the adults hunting in the river in front of me, the youngsters playing chase-the-tail and repeatedly sliding down a high sandbank into the river - and still caught mahseer.
 

Paul Boote

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Ganges at Raiwala: not looking good.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/PAzdGeEZ3nQs7wQkVJ4gbO/The-perils-of-the-water-tiger.html

Oh, Raiwala ... what water for the plug ... big, running like a train but true and even ... got spooled twice (ran me down 150 yards, got it back on the reel, then off it went again to do another before finally smashing me) by a true monster there in its last days in the late 1970s...

And the oldest Mann still alive at 93...

Another Mann on another river further north, who owned a lovely tea estate, who sent his 1920s / '30s Cadillac (one of several, classic, big British and American cars up at the house) and chauffeur down to the bazaar to collect me and my girl for lunch, afternoon tea, then sundowner beers (a couple of servants invisibly doing the topping up of a glass that had become half full) on the terrace...

And there were other Manns ... the ones who owned the sugar mills near Ghaziabad, on the road to the Ramaganga and Ganges...

And yet other Manns, not related, who were part of the Dehra Dun Crew...

All great great mahseer-fishers.

Shame about the fish.
 
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dorsetandchub

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Paul Boote

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More like The Edgar Broughton Band's "Out, Demons Out!" [Not!]

Grrr.....
 

Paul Boote

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Early, big, monsoon. Monster floods. The mahseer - those that remain in the Ganges - will love it: they swim en masse straight up this sort of water to get to the upper reaches and into the upper tributaries to spawn at his time of year. Wouldn't like to be one of the new dams / barrages on the river, though - one year soon one of them is surely going to pop, with many many thousands of people downstream dying as a result and irrigation to the fields vital to the millions living on the Plains below devastated.

House overwhelmed by floodwater in Uttarkashi, north India – video | World news | guardian.co.uk
 

Paul Boote

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I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.
His rhythm was present in the nursery bedroom,
In the rank ailanthus of the April dooryard,
In the smell of grapes on the autumn table,
And the evening circle in the winter gaslight.


T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages



A strong brown god attacking another one in Rishikesh - India floods: Death toll rises amid heavy rain - Asia - World - The Independent - the once-lovely holy town beside the Ganges that the Beatles visited in 1967 to be taught meditation by the Maharishi and which I did rather less publicly a decade later, staring in wonder at the sacred (unfishable, try fishing and you'd be lynched) occasionally huge mahseer below Laxman Jhula bridge before heading off to fish much further upstream.

Wouldn't care to be the owner of a riverside property at the moment, but then the river, though the loveliest blue when low, can be a strong brown god, as can ours here.
 

Paul Boote

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Well well, the Indians are actually beginning to admit that the aftermath of the Upper Ganges floods were the result of a (man-made) disaster waiting to happen, as I mentioned here on 17th June. Mere bricks and mortar built by moneyed-up Plains people in the Hills over the past 20 years that never should have been built, but just wait for when a dam pops.

Watching and waiting, not me, the river...

YouTube clip of a BBC report from northern India, 21.6.13:

[ame=http://youtu.be/F2qtlDq_xQI]India floods: Race to save Uttarakhand victims - YouTube[/ame]

PS - Recent massive deforestation doesn't help. either. Time to start treating the Holiest of Holiest for the Hindus (and a place of importance for a fair few Sikhs) rather better.
 
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Paul Boote

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Yup. Gross over-development, dam building, mass tourism - just some of the things that killed the goose that laid the golden egg that once was the lovely upper Ganges Valley. An Indian writes in the Guardian about the disaster here - India floods: a man-made disaster | Praful Bidwai | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

There'll be a lot of talking and blaming after the recent disaster and some warm words said and promises made, but nothing will be done.
 

jacksharp

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I had a Dhobi Wallah washed away in the floods while he was banging my smalls on a stone beside the sacred river. Simply shocking, (they were M&S silk boxers!)
 

Paul Boote

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I had a Dhobi Wallah washed away in the floods while he was banging my smalls on a stone beside the sacred river. Simply shocking, (they were M&S silk boxers!)
Severe blow for you, Jack.

Proper mahseer fishers wash their loincloths (and short shorts so beloved of pervs on other fishing sites) with a block of local RIN soap - http://www.vijayshoppe.com/image/ca...Detergent_Bar_-_250_Grams-500x350-250x250.jpg

Don't know what's in it, but it will get the stains out of Staines and attracts shoals of tiny mahseer that fight over of the little blue fragments that drift away down the current from what your washing. Had them, small catfish, snow trout and a couple of other species whose name I'd have to hit the web or a book to find on bits of it on size 16s and 18s, too. In Africa, on the Zambezi, the locals use another brand of block soap for much much larger Vundu catfish. On the Congo, such in-river washing is done but at considerable personal risk: a fairly beautiful local lady washing her aluminium and steel cooking pots and pans in the shallows beside a village one morning limped out of the river to the bank, causing me to ask the missionary guy who was with me checking out a dug-out for fishing "What happened to her, Bill?"

"Goliath happened. Swept in out of the deep thirty yards out and ripped her achilles tendon through here last year."

"Really?"

"Really."
 
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chrisfromthevalley

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Oh well, It's to late now, mahseer fishing has been banned, never mind, I'm sure some clever sod will put a few in a lake near me....:p
 

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With temperatures predicted to rise to 30+ degrees C. soon, I'll be doing what I used to joke to slideshow audiences in the 1980s - stock the Thames.

I see it now ... "What rod for ridiculously large barbel?" "What reel? (mine's just blown up)"...

Then we can have yet more fights.
 

Paul Boote

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They've got it all wrong, yet again - it was only an International Mahseer Fishers R Us Fish-in that got a little out of hand...


Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth

February 2013, Allahabad, India. Over the next 55 days, nearly a hundred million people will come here, to the Great Kumbh Mela. This incredible and awe-inspiring celebration of the world's oldest religion happens every 12 years at the place where Hindus believe two sacred rivers meet. For many Hindus this is their most important pilgrimage, and it happens at one of the most holy sites in India. Hindus come to cleanse themselves in the sacred waters of the river Ganges, to pray and emerge purified and renewed.

This follows British pilgrims as they embark on a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual journey. A journey that will take them into the heart of Hinduism - its philosophy, its beliefs and its traditions. A journey that will culminate in the largest ever gathering of humans in one place.


BBC iPlayer - Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth
 

Paul Boote

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"These days we see people trying to make bizarre records like, for instance, standing on their head or taking off their clothes while on the summit."

I know, I really should not have done this whilst mahseer fishing, realising now that me and the girls set such a bad example to climbers...

BBC News - Everest climbing rules 'to be tightened'

Reminds me of what I wrote in something published in 1992, about today's modern adventurer, who, on finding that it's all been done before, resorts to stunts like "walking sideways across the Kalahari in a wetsuit."

Been there, done that.
 
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