Essay on the autobiography of a river


I am a river. I like to give you an account of my life. You may laugh to think what is the value of the autobiography of a river. You may laugh if you like. Men write their autobiographies. They have importance in their own way. I have importance in my own way.

Birth and early career

I was born long ago in an obscure place in a mountain. Several very small streams of water joined together to form one bigger stream. That is how I was born. I am that bigger stream. I am restless from my birth. I cannot stay at one place. So I flow down the mountain. I leap from one rock to another. I am full of life and vigor. As I flow down, I gather strength. My current is very strong here. I carry down with me broken rocks. At last I come down to the plains.

My career in the upper plains

Here I begin to widen in my course. People begin to make use of my water. Here it is as pure as anything. In my upper course, people have built up towns of pilgrimage. They have built temples on my banks. Hundreds of people bathe in my sacred water. They worship the deities in those temples. They regard me as very sacred. There are also several health resorts in my upper course. People from many parts of the country come there for a change. They walk on my banks. They enjoy the natural beauty. They recover their lost health and return home with a happy heart.

My career in the lower plains

I have said before that I am very restless. I am constantly on the move downwards. Leaving the upper plains behind I flow down through the lower plains. My water increases the fertility of the fields on either side of my banks. Abundant crops grow there. The country become prosperous.

Towns on my banks

People have built large towns on my banks. Some of these towns are centres of culture. Some have commercial importance. People carry on trade and commerce. They ply boats and steamers along my surface. These carry many important goods for trade. People travel from one place to another in boats and steamers. Hundreds of people bathe in  water. They use my water for drinking and other purposes.

Efforts to control me

During the rainy season I carry large quantities of rain-water from the mountain. My surface rises. Sometimes I overflow the banks and cause flood. People suffer much. But am I to blame for this ? What can I do if huge quantities of rainwater flow down me from the mountain? Your Government has now tried to control my furious nature in the rainy season. In my upper course sometimes I fall down several hundred feet from a great height. Here your Government has built barriers across me to hold back my water. It has built dams to store up the surplus water to irrigate the land to help agriculture. Electricity is also generated here with the power of my water. This electricity is cheaper. It helps industry in towns and even in remote villages. Thus you may see how I help you.

My career in the lowest course

In this way I go on. I have no rest. “Men may come and men may go, but I go on for ever.” Your Government has tried to control my furious nature. But it is a very difficult task to control me always. Sometimes I play the part of a destroyer. I wash away my banks. I destroy towns and villages. Again I play the part of a creator. I carry down sediments. These are deposited in some places where the current is not strong. New land is formed there. This land is very fertile. This is done near about the place where I join the sea.

Ports at my mouth

I flow on to join the sea. This is my goal. This portion of my course is called my mouth. People have built ports here. Factories have been built on my banks. This makes the country prosperous. But the factories do one great harm. In my upper course my water is very pure. But here the municipalities of the towns and the factories throw away all sorts of impurities into my water. This pollutes my water. I am not to blame for this.


This is my life history. There is one great difference between men and me. I am constantly on the move to join the sea. Men are born and they die. I have no death. I will flow eternally. I will do great service to men. They should, therefore, remain grateful to me.