Muslims conquered disunited India; smog vanquishes disunited India

Smog increases every years and no one seems to do anything about it

Smog increases every years and no one seems to do anything about it
Smog increases every years and no one seems to do anything about it

Muslims conquered India, history books inform us because our rulers at that time were neither prepared nor united to face the onslaught. Hundreds of years later, another danger lurks over northern India, the deadly smog, and history repeats itself: our rulers are neither prepared nor united to face the onslaught.

In a nutshell, our rulers have no use of history; they haven’t learnt from the past that fighting each other all the time is the surest recipe for disaster.

There are a couple of differences, though: first, in the past, the rulers at least had the resolve to resist the invaders and they did fight valiantly the Muslim attackers; and, second, they were not aware of the magnitude of the threat posed by the conquerors. The current incumbents, on the other hand, have neither shown any resolve nor courage in combating the menace that threatens the lives of millions of people. Further, they are fully aware of the severity of the problem, and yet they don’t do anything to overcome it.

Worse, as far as politics is concerned, there are no nuances—it’s all black, it’s vile, like sin. Just like the smog, nay dirtier and fouler than the smog. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress, etc., are different brands producing the same kind of netas — unconscionable, deceitful, myopic. They are least bothered about the life and health of millions of people; their speed is greater than that of light when it comes to mouthing lies and making false promises; and they can’t see beyond the next election, regardless of the cost involved.

The problem of stubble burning in northern states, accompanied by the overhang of dust in the National Capital Region, has been growing over the years. It assumed alarming proportions in last November. Many of us believed that the authorities, which weren’t proactive and smart enough to preclude the deadly smog, would be reactive and competent enough to counter it in the future. Especially in the wake of public outrage, media outcry, the condemnatory observations by the courts, the National Green Tribunal, etc.

There was indeed a lot of activity. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held an emergency Cabinet meeting, which banned construction and demolition activity for five days, shut down the city’s Badarpur power plant for 10 days, disallowed generator sets for 10 days except for emergency services, and ordered sprinkling and vacuuming of roads to contain dust pollution.

A report in The Indian Express (November 6, 2016) quoted the Chief Minister as saying, “Officials will bear financial penalties if leaves burning cases are reported in their area.” Further, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called a high-level preparatory meeting in which he said the government would have to take “aggressive” measures to curb air pollution at the onset of winter in the capital. The government would take measures like sprinklers and mist fountains, smoke tappers in crematoriums, and a waste management system to minimize the emission of methane gas released due to burning at landfill sites.

Since about 90 percent of the dust comes from construction sites, the state government will ask people to come forward with complaints on which action will be taken, the Deputy Chief Minister had said.

Kejriwal met the then Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave, after which he said, “Pollution levels in Delhi are so high that Delhi has become a gas chamber. Smoke from other states because of stubble burning and meteorological factors are responsible. The environment minister should call an emergency meeting of the chief ministers of Delhi and its neighboring states on Monday so that immediate steps to tackle the issue can be taken… This situation needs the intervention of the Centre at the highest level. Farmers should be given incentives to find alternates to burning stubble.”

The result of such hectic activity, however, was zilch. The high-level meetings, “aggressive” steps, corrective measures, inter-state dialogue, grand statements, grandstanding—everything came to naught.

Kejriwal and his cronies, however, are not the only culprits. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, instead of handling the emergency situation in earnest, began his phony war against corruption and black money, hurting the economy and ending the jobs of millions of workers. For his goal was not the wellbeing of millions of people in north India but Assembly elections, especially of UP. He and his followers in power are concerned only about cows, mandatory singing of the national anthem and Vandemataram, falsifying history, changing names of places, etc.

As for the principal Opposition party, the Congress, the crown prince has been busy lampooning the Prime Minister, instead of goading his government to do something worthwhile. So, it is not surprising that his party’s Chief Minister in Punjab, Amarinder Singh, is least bothered about the issue of crop burning.

In a nutshell, our rulers have no use of history; they haven’t learnt from the past that fighting each other all the time is the surest recipe for disaster.

1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Ravi Shanker Kapoor
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