Issue :   
December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Dec' 2017


This smog is hellish!

Humra Quraishi

I've been sitting rather forlorn, asking myself: 'What living is this where I'm gasping for breath in an atmosphere riddled with pollutants of all hues and forms! Is this what's called development? Is this what's called living, where even that basic level of survival is getting to be tough …very tough!'
Yes, its getting hellish to survive in this capital city and surrounding suburbs.Smog is back. And back with a vengeance! Its difficult to describe the conditions we are surviving in. There's that perpetual layer of dust and together with that a strange mix of fumes and fog in the atmosphere. The eyes are burning, if not watering. The nose and throat somewhat choked. The lungs over -worked as breathing gets difficult… and can't describe the slogging the heart is undertaking! Is this the capital city or some sort of a gas chamber! The very basic survival gets difficult as a majority of us are either coughing or sneezing or wheezing. And at this juncture its difficult to say how long this spell will last or for that matter how long we'll last!
Why don't the political rulers of the day throw aside the air purifiers fitted in their rest rooms and office rooms, and then see how we, the masses, are surviving in this smog – ridden mess. I would prefer the old emperors' strategy of killing at one go and not like today's political rulers who seem determine to kill us slowly yet rather too steadily. Dying that we are, day after day.

It wouldn't be wrong to describe this prevailing situation as a medical emergency which requires an immediate solution. Remedies should be brought into force: The odd-even formula should be reintroduced, not just for weeks but for endless months, if not for years. The Metro fares be brought down to the lowest possible. Air-conditioners totally banned, together with diesel vehicles and the connected bandobast. And garbage dumps and dusty roads be sprinkled with water…If the municipalities cry ' no staff' for this level of watering, I would go the extent of saying that release( temporarily if not permanently ) the hundreds and thousands of under- trials from prisons and jails and let them be a part and parcel of cleansing this city from all possible pollutants of the day!
There has to be a way out from this mess. No, this is no living when you cannot step out because of the smog strengthening its hold on the atmosphere. You cannot sit indoors for very long, as those everyday essentials have to be fetched from a this or that market. Also, not to be overlooked the basic fact- a great majority of us have to earn our daily bread and that rather too automatically means one has to be commuting to offices or factories or furnaces...
Do we realize where we are heading! Towards health disasters! A human form born and raised in this atmosphere is sure to suffer a host of ailments, that is, if she or he can ever reach adolescence. Needless to add, the disasters this situation is heaping on us, the not –so – young!

Rulers or killers!

And who is responsible for this complete mess, for this breakdown of the very system? Definitely the political rulers and the civil servants and planners manning the very system. A strange sort of nexus holds sway, where it gets difficult if not impossible to cry out for our survival rights. Distractions are thrown in way…yes, we are heaped with all sorts of silly distractions so that we have little time or the energy to cry out! Enough is enough. This mess has got to be settled before we reach the dying stage.

Sanity missing

Hadiya and her husband Together with the environmental pollution, there stares another offshoot: political pollution is hitting the heads of the supposed who's who on the circuit. Last month I was taken aback hearing some of those arguments, on the ban on the sale of crackers in Delhi and in the NCR.
The political mafia was dragging along politics even in the ban on the sale of crackers. They couldn't see thousands sitting on the verge of death because of the poisonous atmosphere. They couldn't see sense prevailing! Here we were gasping for breath and there they were crying hoarse some petty political nonsense.
Nah, I wasn't prepared to see this level of communal politics, where communalism seems to be seeped into the pores of those hell bent on implementing a certain set agenda. They are not even open to sound reasoning or sense prevailing. They couldn't be bothered if thousands die with collapsed lungs or hearts or with damaged eyes and ears and whatever organs the human form is bestowed with.
What does one do when today's political rulers don't seem to give a damn to the dead and dying? All they seem interested in, is in making lofty announcements in those speeches. Speech after speech! Mind you, none of those speeches can clear the pollution or reach out to the parched and beemar! Can't the political brigades realize that this entire environment is for one and all. We all have a right to a clean and pollution – free environment After all, our Creator created it for each one of us. He didn't have the Hindu – Muslim factor in mind. In fact, whilst keying in, I'm reminded of what Sufi Nizamuddin Chishti had told his disciples…words along the strain, 'Our Creator has created the sun and moon and the breeze, fruit trees and plants and grain, rivers and rivulets, for each one of us. Its not meant for one country or for a particular community. Each living being has a right on Nature's bounty.'
Look, even love gets killed in these polluting times! Political mafia is even killing love in these surcharged times. Look at the plight of Hadiya and her husband. If this can happen in the state of Kerala where high literacy rates hold sway , one can well imagine what madness must be unfolding in the rural and urban stretches of North India, where killings of emotions and forms and wants and all the connected strains are taking place as the love-less speculate! Sorrow -dripping lovelorn tales are emerging from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Bihar ; short lived they are, as the political mafia hacks the lovers together with their love. Coming back to Kerala's Hadiya, and with that to Kerala's celebrated poetess Kamala Das who had also dared to fall in love with a Muslim and wrote verse after verse on love. Of course, Kamala Das lived in those saner times and so could dare proclaim her love, loud and clear.
Leaving you with these lines of Kamala Das from her book – Closure ( HarperCollins) – 'A Blessed Life/ True,/
I broke a commandment /
or two/
but shall not plead/
for society's pardon,/
or God's./
When I disobeyed/
I tasted bliss/
I count myself blessed/
not for the fame/
or fortune/
but for those wanton hours/
of pure abandon…'