It was one last wish answered for Cole Linux, an environmentalist from Sydney, who spent almost 30 years of his life in Varanasi raising environmental concerns about river Ganges in the holy city. In doing so, he fell so much in love with Benaras or Varanasi, as the city is known by, and the Hindu culture mostly associated with the holy river in the city that he returned to Australia harboring one desire – to have his last rites completed in Varanasi and for his ashes to be scattered in the holy river.
After working in Varanasi for many years, in 1992, Linux got associated with the Sankat Mochan Foundation. It was primarily because his efforts that oversaw established the Ganga Research Laboratory there.
Although he returned to Australia, many years ago but yet he longed to be in Varanasi. On learning that he was suffering from cancer, he confided his last wish with his wife – of having his ashes scattered in the Ganges.
On Monday, after the demise of her husband, Linux’s wife Su Linux flew to India and came to Varanasi to fulfill her husband’s last wish.
Speaking about her husband’s love for the Hindu culture and the holy river Ganga, Su told Nav Bharat Times that her husband also wished to have the mahaviri of Sankatmochan Temple touch his forehead with gangajal before his death. To fulfill this one wish of a true admirer of Hindu culture, Professor Vishwabharnath Mishra sent his younger brother Vijayanath Mishra to Sydney along with the mahavira and ganga kalash. The news of Linux’s death got to Mishra when he was on way to Sydney in Delhi, yet he decided to continue with the journey and to complete the holy rituals on Linux’s mortal remains.
According to Su, Linux’s last rights were completed only after Mishra reached Sydney. He touched the mahavira over Linux’s forehead and placed gangajal on his lips. Thereafter, they came to Varanasi to scatter Linux’s ashes in the Ganga. To witness this incident, several lovers of River Ganga also did come to Varanasi and paid their homage to Cole Linux.
When IIT-BHU professor Veerbhadra Mishra wanted to build the Ganga Research Laboratory on Tulsi Ghat, Kashi, he had contacted many well-known environmentalist from across the world. Cole Linux was one of the first person to stand up for the cause and devoted his entire energy to make it happen.
If today, river Ganga is being restored to its full glory in Varanasi, some of the courtesy goes to the unsung hero, Cole Linux.