Child to Grandfather : Where are you off to Dada?
Grandfather : Am going out for a walk son, but find it difficult nowadays to know if I am headed in the right direction. It’s very foggy. Finding my way back is not easy.
Child : Do you have to go out then? Is it not risky?
Grandfather : Fogs were there earlier too, fogs will continue to be. As we progressed some fogs have become smog and are entering homes too. Staying home will not help me find the way. So, will continue my effort.
Like our annual celebrations of Diwali, Eid and Christmas, the smog too honours its annual date with Delhi unfailingly.
There are two types of haze the modern creature is forced to contend with…..one, the beautiful fog that compels you to dilate your eyes to see the pristine dew drop on a leaf it leaves behind, almost as a compensation for the brief inconvenience it caused, and the other is the smog that violates your basic right as a creature entitled to clean air or at least to a semblance of it.
Pollution and contamination unfortunately isn’t confined to air and water alone.
How remarkable it is that the national capital is emblematic of toxicity and its spread. Pollution is a much larger word than what is commonly perceived. The scourge damages severely – in every sphere of our existence.
Romanticising Delhi has been a favourite pastime of historians in addition to those on whom the city has not only grown but ripened. Irrespective of how other cities fare or flourish and regardless of what people think, it is Delhi’s health that matters to the nation. Historically, Delhi has been a crucible of many experiments. Some wittingly and some not so. Ancient history to date is witness to jealousy, hate, deceit, invasion, plunder, the chasm between the supremely powerful and the hopelessly powerless, between serious wealth and abject penury, between the intellectuals and the morons and many other contradicting binaries which constitute as ingredients in the recipe that cooks up to be Delhi. Arguably such definitions may not be entirely irrelevant to other cities or towns but Delhi is special. Isn’t the national capital supposed to be reflecting national mood? Just like stubble burning, factory effluents and vehicular emissions vitiate the air, a concoction of hate, bigotry and the resultant nationalism, becomes a lethal cocktail that doesn’t kill but incapacitates all reason, and worse when it corrupts tender minds after gate-crashing into school curricula too. Such is the nature of toxicity that when you give it an inch, it gobbles up square-yards. This obnoxiousness needs jettisoning, much as the bad air we need to be without.
There appears an eerie silence, when someone asks, “How hazy is the perpetual political standoff when the elected CM responsible for governance and administration of Delhi finds himself limbless against the Central establishment who are desperate to take up that role too but unable to because people have not shown the faith in them?”
How toxic can toxic get? The country is going through a peculiar phase of soul destroying toxicity. This of course invariably sees two distinct behaviours on display: one is of affirmative action and the other of impotent rage. Unfortunately today the nation is filled with the latter.
Smogginess, more often than not, extends to the mind and political will too.
High time we cleared it!
Guest Author: Shekhar Nerala
Shekhar is a marketing professional and is currently based at Pune and looks at Delhi without attachment and pretensions. He has been contributing to StateOfDelhi.in.