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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Misplaced priorities

Times of India(blog)
Monday Dec 09, 2009

Tarun Vijay

Copenhagen pundits rushing from poor countries are the same as who once adorned the Mughal durbar. Never thinking or doing what they actually need to, but following what they are told. The mad rush of articles and a craze to be seen and counted with the western sahibs with very serious and very gloomy faces is just hilarious.

True, we have got to save our planet and rivers and water and mountains and the good earth. But today India needs much more than that to save humans from dying on footpaths. Reducing carbon emissions is fine. But should it be reduced before we reduce the levels of corruption, illiteracy and terrorism?

We may allocate a thousand crore rupees after Copenhagen for addressing issues handed over to us by those who have been actually responsible for the climatic mess we find ourselves in. Still, all that would go down the drain if we keep on living with high corruption levels, widespread rural and urban illiteracy and unimaginable poverty amid islands of stinking wealthy sections who organize seminars on Kyoto protocol.

India needs immediately to address the highly inflammable issues of terror, improve the public health system and spread literacy on a war footing. Everything else will work better afterwards. If we try to copy blindly a highly literate and prosperous west and set our priorities accordingly, we shall be doomed. Look at the messy preparations for the Commonwealth Games, the billions wasted on the Ganga cleansing project, Yamuna turned into a nullah and the agricultural scene presenting suicidal tendencies with Maoists cashing in on the resultant unrest. What have we done seriously on these issues that suddenly a Copenhagen jamboree took overwhelming everything else?

The problems created by the gora-lands can't be our burden like Kipling's Ramu. Time is ripe for the Asian power centres to lead the west rather that offering to be led by their misplaced priorities.

Just have a bird's eye view of what they have 'gifted' us so far. Massacred aborigines in the Americas, New Zealand, Australia etc, and then created endowments to study their 'rich' culture, put the original owners into reservations and asked the rest of the world to come and see them as tourist attractions.

They wanted the whole world look, worship and behave like them, the way they would understand and appreciate and hence began the wars first, second, the atom bombs and Hiroshima and Vietnams. Then they began a movement to stop nuclear proliferation, compel us to sign the CTBT, which they won't do themselves. Start peace missions and grab all the Nobel peace decorations rejecting Gandhi purely on racist basis.

They send armies to foreign lands to kill people, including children (reported as accident), create an atmosphere where large populations are devoid of progress and food unless they accept their hegemony and then ask us to clean up the dirt in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq making friends with Beijing, giving it the 'responsibility' to get Kashmir crisis resolved. Wow! Isn't it a wonderful mechanism of neo-world order of the old colonialist mind?

They destroyed the largest hectares of rain forest, built huge monstrous dams, angered nature and now ask us to come to Copenhagen forgetting our national priorities and sign on papers they have prepared.

Good that we have a Jairam. One can only hope he will do what India needs and not what the western conceptualisers of new anxieties dish out for us.

In our part of the world more people die and will continue to die, unless immediate action is taken, of hunger, poverty, terrorism, unavailable or bad healthcare, political and administrative corruption.

We get sick of these daily doses of high levels of carbonized inactions and see nauseatingly a group of disconnected mediapersons and politicians eating out of the hands of Copenhagen's starlets. They must focus on environmental issues more seriously and in a committed way. That alone is going to bring about the change, nothing else.

The tricks they crack on us are not new. Remember the Y2K scare just before the new millennium began? All the machines would crash, time zones would mismatch, stock exchanges would collapse and all that blah-blah. It was fun to awake in the first morning of 2000 without anything bad happening. Not that pollution or drying up rivers and changing climate is a false scare like that. But this is just an example of the western attempt to confuse and misguide the rest of the world setting our agenda.

In fact, we just don't need a Copenhagen to make us work for addressing our issues. We are responsible for polluting Dal lake, making most of the water bodies in districts disappear, seeing Gangotri glacier receding and shackling Ganga in a most horrendous way -- with unbelievable thoughtless action to produce more hot money than generating power for the poor. It all happens because of a callous administration unawakened masses, huge socio-political divide that thrives on corruption. Climate change is not an isolated issue to be resolved through rich men's papers. It's our own creation and hence needs a domestic cleanup first. The money we have to spend on security because of the two nuclear-powered hostile countries around and to tackle insurgencies and terrorism, supported by the enemies looking down our necks is too enormous and has to be saved through an invincible defence and a ruthless mechanism to end internal insecurity. What's our response on this front? Can any leader or even a middle-level bureaucrat think of going to a government hospital in times of an emergency? If not what right these dummies have to talk of an issue that a common Indian will take years to understand? Why can't we prioritize issues that make his life better and address the other issues in a different way, the way our domestic needs guide?

Fifty-six newspapers in 45 countries taking the unprecedented step of speaking in one voice through a common editorial was a good idea. But for those whose stomachs were full and had access to read a news sheet. What about those who were far away from these 'luxuries' and have to face the brunt of the climatic change more than anyone else? Who loses land, finds polluted rivers unusable for agriculture, unavailable schools and wells filled with industrial waste? Not those who write special edits and have access to mineral water bottles? Should they decide what the majority needs?


Varaha Mihira said...

What did the BJP do for improving Ganga or Yamuna?

Did it ever take action against polluting industries?

Did it even talk about it?

Does it oppose the dams on our sacred rivers?

Anjaneya said...

very nice article Tarunji. The y2K example is jarring and out of place, though. I hope Jairam will stand his ground and not cede an inch. We will take care of the environment on a continual basis and not on the terms of the devils.

Vijay said...

Traditionally, Indians have lived in harmony with nature. Copying western lifestyles is changing this. The rich in India are responsible for this. We now have the highest growth of cars in the world.

Tropical countries like India will face the brunt of the ill effects of climate change. We don't want greedy and exploitative capitalist model copied in our country.