When we think of development or developed countries, images of Burj Khalifa and the sky scrapers of Kaula Lampur and New York flash by. When we think of a city’s growth, images of bullet trains and wide, super highways and enormous shopping malls fill our mind. Is there something wrong about our understanding of growth and development? If tall buildings and wide roads are said to be symbols of development, why are we worried about unpredictable weather changes and introduce odd and even systems to reduce pollution?
Respected teachers and dear friends. May I change your concept of development with a concept about which you have not heard. It is Ruralization, the return from the concrete jungles or the last way to check pollution.
We have always heard of urbanization since our lower classes but it is sad that we have not even heard of Ruralization. When our grandparents had their first car bought and their narrow, muddy road was tarred, they used to think that it was development. When they had their muddy house moved to the city and bought a new flat in the city, they called it development. When they saw their sons and daughters buying cars after cars, they felt proud of them and thought that it was development. But, after several years, now they have realized that none of that was development. On the other hand, they regret their recklessness. For levelling the green hills. For filing the paddy fields and village pools. For felling trees for constructing houses and factories.
Honestly, dear friends, tall buildings and wide roads do not mean development. They only pollute our air, they only leave the earth barren, they only level the hills, they just distort the beautiful earth’s wonderful surface. It is absurdity to boast that you have five or ten cars. It is a mark of poor education if you live in a castle with fifty rooms. It is aberration if you have levelled a hill to make a garden in front of your house. If you feel proud of your city’s tall building and super highways but fail to enjoy the greenery of the village and coastal areas, you are said to be barbarous, illiterate, prehistoric. Wake up, dear friends. Wake up to save our earth. Let’s reduce our cities to villages. Let’s fight pollution in the most practical way.
There is no denying that majority of the Indians will not refuse to migrate to Europe, Australia or America if they are offered an opportunity. There is also no denying that no European, no American will be so much glad as to accept a similar offer from India except for a short vacation. Indians are aware of the vast world out there, cool and clean, let alone advanced, while they loathe the life here, even in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore or Mumbai. Why is India not everyone’s dream?
The once glorious nation of Ashoka, Akbar and Shah Jahan is racing to compete with the ‘civilized’ nations of the earth while farmers commit suicide and states wait for a rain after four years. Here politicians win votes by widening roads and leveling hills to construct airports. There is no end for the population rise and the politicians win votes by hailing the nation as the most populated power in the world.
Is India a power? More than 80% of children are malnourished and over 70% adults are under nourished. Powerful, huh? Forget India’s poor performance in Olympics because sports and games are not as important as survival. What is more important is a discussion on the life of an Indian in the year 2050. By that time one fourth of the Indians have migrated to the aforesaid countries yet the rest of them, the unfortunate and unprivileged ones, will be doomed to slog here, with temperature burning the thermometer and water and oxygen more priced than petrol.