For Indians in Scotland, River Clyde is the new Ganga


LONDON, MAY 18: A quiet spot on River Clyde in the town of Port Glasgow has been designated as the first official spot in Scotland where, instead of travelling to towns along the Ganga, Hindus can scatter ashes as part of rituals after funerals.
Following talks with the Indian community, the Inverclyde Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to recognise the ritual, and has installed railings at the Newark slipway in Port Glasgow, 35 km from Glasgow.
A spokesman for the Council said: “We have been dealing with the Sikh and Indian community for some time with a view to identifying a suitable location for scattering ashes on the Clyde. Clearly, this is a very sensitive issue and we have been doing our best to help”.
“The group has approached every local authority looking for assistance and we are hopeful the assistance we have provided will help with the solemn and dignified scattering of ashes”.
The Council installed railings at the site as a safety measure, but it caused some annoyance among local boat owners, including members of Newark Boat Club, who were obstructed from launching their craft.
The spokesman said: “We have now fixed this. This will allow the slipway at Coronation Park to serve as a way of getting on to the water for sailing opportunities and to give members of the community a suitable and accessible location.”
Port Glasgow Councillor and Deputy Provost, David Wilson, said: “It’s a good example of the Council taking action in a humanitarian way and from a safety point of view.”
In England, a leafy spot on River Soar near the National Space Centre in Leicestershire was designated for the purpose of scattering ashes in 2014, following calls for such a facility from the area’s large Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities.
Leicester Councillor Piara Singh Clair said at the time: “Local faith group leaders have been asking us for a suitable site on the River Soar in Leicester for scattering ashes, and following work with the Environment Agency we identified this location”.
“It meets many of the requirements in terms of being a quiet spot suitable for such a ceremony, but is also easily accessible and safe for people to use”, he added.
A spokesperson of the Environment Agency said: “Ashes have little impact on water quality, but other items should not be placed in water with them. Wreaths can contain metal or plastic which can cause litter or harm wildlife.” (Courtesy: HT)