(Somewhere in some street of South Delhi)
Shekhar murmurs in his mind: Oh man, not now, my new white shirt is ruined, why these people have to sweep the road now, I mean it’s 9:30 A.M., the day has started at least 4 hours ago!!
Anjali is honking like mad but that won’t clear the traffic as some school students are out on the street for some “save environment” campaign.
(CDR chowk near Chattarpur)
All the car drivers, passengers, and daily workers are saying in unison, “Can’t you all worship in peace at your home? Why you all have to run down the street and create a traffic jam. For your belief in some spiritual leader, the whole city is stuck!!”
Just after watching and praising the recent Swachh Bharat Abhyaan ad on TV, Pammi aunty threw the dust bin trash from her window pane.
(Bentinck Street, Kolkata)
Chandan is already late and he would be given a second warning in office because the whole city is stranded for its 21st July martyrs Day celebration.
Several are injured due to a century-old issue of Cauvery water and with that, many dreams and desires were burnt in buses.
So, what is wrong with all of us? Are we a part of a progressing culture or degrading with inhumane qualities? I don’t know to whom I should write and vent out my anger. As a person, I also have my own personal grudges, painful areas of concern, and worries to suffer, still, I am more concerned about the health of our city and nation as a whole.
We call ourselves the largest democracy of the world where our PREAMBLE has the pillars of Sovereignty, Socialism, Secularism, Democracy, and Republic. But what the government understands out of it and what is implemented varies grossly. People were uneducated in the Mohenjo-Harappa era or in the times of the Ramayana and Mahabharata but what they had was compassion and tolerance towards each other. But we in the 21st century being well-educated lack civic sense and companionship both. Why is that so? Until and unless we understand the basics of living like a civilized animal, we will never ever overcome our challenges.
All the incidents mentioned in the beginning of the essay narrate incidents that we face in our daily lives. A common man or an Aam Aadmi’s life is already full of commitments and promises and he really has to toil a lot from morning till evening to earn his livelihood and he cannot afford to miss a bus, train, or meeting. I understand that those other people on the street for the environmental rally, Cauvery issue violence, Martyrs Day celebration etc. are also following certain beliefs and ideologies for a bigger issue, but do these people think twice that due to their utterly atrocious act, so many promises and commitments of the fellow society people break? No, they never think. Taking a candle in hand and marching with hoardings, shouting loudly to pierce into the eyes and ears of the government is not a solution to our problems. If someone has to show sympathy and empathy towards any cause, that can happen in a peaceful manner. I don’t have to teach people about the reach of the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter – do I?
My main objective to write here is about the hazards we put to the environment due to these uncertain and unpredictable upsurges in rallies. People take part in rallies with the motive of “Save girl child”, “Save trees”, “Fight for justice”, “Narmada Bachao”, etc. But with all these events, don’t you all think in unison we are calling for more pains? I am terrified with some numbers in this perspective. Reports and studies reflect that India houses 550 paper mills and we are able to recover only 3 million tons of paper which are only 20% of what we have used in a year. Paper is the third largest polluter of air and it is a sickening fact that these people come out on streets with paper cuts and other paper products, block the traffic, make the lives of other people a burning hell, and then at the end of the rally just dump those papers anywhere they please. I have seen people promoting Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan also doing the same things. So, where is the difference? Are you making Bharat a Swachh place?
This term Swachh or clean should be first clear in the head and then only we can rub off the dirt layered on our nation and society. The sweeper in the morning should sweep at 6-7 A.M. and not when people are ready to go to work. But that person is another one working for a government body and takes his/her work clumsily. Secondly, the Martyrs Day celebration in Kolkata is an event held every year in remembrance of 13 people shot by the West Bengal Police in Kolkata, during a rally by the West Bengal Youth Congress held in 1993. Now, every Year a rally is held and the leader delivers a speech and those families of the shot people are showered with gifts, and then dance and songs follow. Now, tell me being a responsible citizen, we cannot return those shot people to their families, so what is the whole meaning of bringing the city to a standstill? If I have to show my empathy and be a support to a family who was killed in a heinous act, would I be loud about that garnering attention and raising the noise and air pollution? I don’t think so that’s a good idea.
Similarly, a century Old Cauvery issue is all about water sharing where the Supreme Court has ordered Karnataka to release some amount of water to Tamil Nadu and there is a huge uproar in both the states regarding that. Why so? We are one nation, and where are our traditional values of sharing, caring, and loving? To show anger on this issue, again some people come on street and instead of a peaceful rally they showed their anger by damaging public transport and even firing to welcome an environmental hazards.
Look, there are problems everywhere and challenges in every state, but these burning rallies are just not any sensible and justified remedy. People of J&K to Karnataka who are showing their anger through violence and also those who become a part of a rally, are posing a threat to nature. Because the violence of these non-violent approaches is silent and cannot be seen instantly. Already our ecological balance is disturbed, please don’t disturb it anymore if you want to live a little longer. Only 24.16% areas in India are green whereas it should be 33%. Therefore, the more you show your anger, this rate would fall more.
So, what is the resolution to it? I understand you cannot sit at home and see the nation falling down. So, we can start educating people socially and not through any rally and congregation somewhere which brings the whole city into a cessation. Bring your civic senses back to fight your battle. Unlike Pammi aunty, not only clean your house but take a step to clean the nation because it’s not “US”, it’s the nature and environment that has touched the ZTL or Zero Tolerance Level this time.
My city is waking up to another morning
It’s running ruthlessly to conquer its dreams
But someday it will wake up sensibly……………