To live through smog and flood, we need to recapture the spirit of ‘smart’ living

It’s about living with nature.

 |  3-minute read |   17-11-2017
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There’s little doubt that the smog over the skies of India’s capital shortens our life spans; leaving Delhi has become the choice of many, but our governments don’t seem to be much bothered about the crisis. What’s wrong with our system is becoming a clichéd question. The fact remains that everything is turning wrong with our system — our ideology of development. The latest in the list of irresponsible acts is the news about Delhi government’s green tax.

An amount of Rs 1,500 crore had been collected as “green tax” over the years and has been lying unspent.

Smog is the ugly result of this kind of “political” ignorance and inefficiency.

We are often upbeat about the great Indian growth story. Our political leaders say we’re marching towards development; a super power-in-waiting becomes our trademark. It’s the great irony of our times.

The super power hullaballoo is just like Donald Trump’s inane campaign —“Make America great again”. By killing the habitat around us, we gain no super achievement. This is nothing but a civilisational tragedy. After repeated warnings, screaming debates, and eye-catching headlines, the government machineries have no clue as to how to bring things back on track, and how to clean our ugly cities.

smog-delhi-reuters-6_111717031527.jpgThe simple yet powerful solution for all these problems is to have a second thought about nature while deciding every aspect of a development project. Photo: Reuters

Our development theories assume little value despite their sophisticated outline and peripheral mark of modernity.

If smog is the bane for Delhi, for Chennai it’s the floods and for Bangalore it is garbage. We’re acquainted with garbage dumps snaking through all the way. A host of pollutants, including dust and noxious gases are released into our atmosphere from vehicles, construction sites, air conditioners, garbage-burning, et al.

The simple yet powerful solution for all these problems is to think about nature while deciding every aspect of a development project. Approach things scientifically, and think about the impact and side-effects of a project in the long term.

India is a country with a great legacy of executing development concepts without disturbing the ecological balance. That’s the reason for the birth of great civilisations here. But post-independent India was engaged in imitating the West without the logical understanding of development.

India has to recapture its ancient spirit if it wants to move ahead in terms of civilisational excellence. But for that we need to learn the real meaning of development and civilisation.

We’re passing through a crisis of awareness and visionary thoughts. Policy makers and new-age custodians of development have a terrible understanding of growth; they are rushing towards a mirage. I do not understand what our leaders are saying about eco-centric policies — we haven’t seen much improvement in cleaning the Ganga or saving Delhi from poisonous air.

We’re merely repeating the mistakes the West made in the past. They corrected them and moved on with new policies; for instance, look at how Britain brought back the dead Thames river to life with concrete policies.

The challenge before India is to understand what development truly means. As we have learnt absolutely no lessons from history, sustainable development will remain a utopian dream. What are the principles on which our leaders have been trying to govern?

Introspection is the need of the hour. We need to recapture the spirit of evolution, learning and smart living.

Remember, smart living is not about making things “smart” by polluting our atmosphere. It’s about living with nature.

Also read: How to rid India of terrifying pollution once and for all


Dipin Damodharan Dipin Damodharan @dipinbharath

The writer is co-founder of EduQuest and Ex-Editorial Head, DC Media, DC Books.

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