Political, environmental pollution choking us; Weren’t the good old days better?

With today’s climate - political and otherwise –turning murkier, the aftermath is writ large on every single aspect; that basic day-to-day survival is getting nothing short of hellish existence

Representative Image (PTI- File photo)
Representative Image (PTI- File photo)

Humra Quraishi

Sitting in this terrible May heat, I am wondering why the so called leaders of the day are not focusing on the murky mahaul, why they are not talking of the killer environment, in their electioneering!

Graphs and statistics indicate that its going to get bleaker on the pollution front; perhaps, a lethal combination of rising heat and polluting dust is set to wreck many more lungs if not other organs of the fragile human body. The environmental pollution is killing us. We can’t also overlook the noise pollution hitting the very heart. And the limbs cannot be left spared with strays around. In fact, very often residents have cried out, detailing the havoc caused by monkeys and dogs on the prowl, attacking pedestrians and intruding into homes and fields. Yet there is nobody out there to harness their moves. In fact, though we talk of dengue and viral fevers but little focus on rabies. Why?

With today’s climate - political and otherwise –turning murkier, the aftermath is writ large on every single aspect; that basic day-to-day survival is getting nothing short of hellish existence.

I am more than shocked when the so called rulers of the day continue to talk of growth, development, longevity, and whatever else they can package in their attractive bundle of lies. In fact, contrary to their bogus claims, never before did we witness such a destruction of human lives. In these so called ‘developed’ times of today, we are more prone to deaths and decay due to natural disaster.

Those cruel kings of the past killed humans at one go! None of the slow killing sessions that today’s political rulers are putting us through, day after day. Today’s rulers prefer to kill slowly but rather too steadily! And do not overlook the official killings by the state machinery; in Uttar Pradesh only, since March 2017, more than 50 persons have been killed in 1100 state-conducted encounters. Those spared by the state machinery are lynched and brutalised by goon brigades nurtured by the rulers of the day. In fact, private senas have been raised by several of the political who’s who of the day, only to terrorise the local population.

The state tyranny has reached campuses where students are treated like criminals. Political mafia is holding sway in the university departments, intruding right into the classrooms and hostels. Hired political goons are made to enter campuses to cause rifts and with that less of academics and more of a war like situation.

Why don’t we talk of the terrible hunger pangs killing hundreds? Malnutrition deaths could frighten you and I, but for the ruthless rulers, these are just numbers. These rulers can talk of vote-banks and money-banks but not of roti or milk banks to help saves lives of hundreds of our malnourished children.

In fact, the biggest irony of the day is that farmers who try and feed us are hanging themselves because they cannot cope with the daily round of struggles. And this sarkar has done practically nothing to stop farmers’ suicides.

We as a society should have realised after the horrifying and agonising experience of the Partition that such a situation should never arrive when people are forced to relocate themselves from one place to another on the basis of their religion or caste. But unfortunately, it is not so.

I have been interacting with several from rural stretches of North India. They told me that people’s displacement is going on in many villages. Political mafia together with communal politics seems well seeped in the villages, using shrewd strategies, making sure that no major rioting erupts but well-planned moves are put into practise for forcing people to shift overnight. There are families who are not just getting uprooted from their base but even forced to become beggars or daily wagers!

Communal politics in cities is one aspect but when it reaches rural stretches it reeks of eerie build-ups. Polarisation is now getting down to the ground, people are being forced to run from here to there and are made to flee like refugees in their own land. Yet we only talk of that Partition of 1947. Why not talk about these murky build-ups, leading to partitioning along a set agenda.

People around nowadays look as if they were trying to escape to a nowhere of sorts; as though each one of them is an under-trial of sorts, let loose in an open jail, with poisonous gases unleashed right from the top. Then there are curbs on even the free flow of words and thoughts compounding the mess, the decay and despair around.

There’s not just a haze spread out on every front but also an unhealthy layers of gloom. Why should these investors or holiday makers sit or squat in this dust-ridden atmosphere, potent enough to choke or dent the lungs for times to come!

Tell me weren’t we better off in those good old days when we were called ‘under-developed’? Just two square meals and those once-in-a-while dining out sessions seemed to take care of everyday wants. The skies up there looked blue. The flowers bloomed. The human face looked carefree and hassle free. Those were the good old days...

Leaving you with these lines of Faiz Ahmad Faiz :

Somewhere near the pillow, /

the night’s fading away/

Or is it the candle melting ? /

Something is burning within me –/

Is that your memory, or my life seeking to depart.”

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