Showing posts from November, 2021

The Perils of a Technobahn Approach to Solving Air Pollution

This technobahn is a failure (picture credit: Indian Express) What is technobahn? Bahn essentially refers to a physical track or a train in German and its sister languages. Technobahn would in literal sense mean a techno track. It is important to define this phrase because it is perhaps the best way to describe the haphazard manner in which air pollution is tackled in India at all levels.  Now, it would be easy for any reader to see this introduction and dismiss the rest of the piece, calling it a kind of hit job on those who want to solve the issue. At the outset, let me clarify that this is not about science and technology per se; rather, this is about a mindset that has come to dominate the way we deal with air pollution on a daily basis. Technobahn is a concept that I have come across in recent times, and essentially refers to the single track approach of thinking that technology can solve every problem that plagues mankind today. While technology does offer us great solutions, the

Looking Beyond - Air Pollution is a National Problem, Not Just Delhi’s

Pollution Happens Everywhere, Not Just Delhi (credit: Wikimedia commons) For the last five days, the National Capital Region (NCR) consisting of Delhi and cities in its neighboring states has dominated media space. Deliberation on pollution is a necessary and welcome change in the media, for issues like these need their magnifying glares for action. However, there has a problem created by this Delhi-obsessed discussion over air pollution. The brouhaha on Delhi’s pollution seems to create the perception that pollution is yet another problem being highlighted by Delhi centric media. This has led to the belief for many ordinary people that air pollution is a problem only in the big, rich cities but does not bother them. Nothing could be further from the truth though. We Are Getting Serious About Pollution Measurement Only Now Ours is a country that is drowning in waste and swimming in air pollution; however, this does not necessarily reflect correctly in data. Delhi is certainly well high

Thoughts on India's Caste Disapproval Obsession

An old Mexican painting about 16 castas (Wikipedia) Recently, I came across perhaps the nth thread on the issue of caste and its European origins. While I cannot disregard the seriousness and merit of the arguments often put forth, it's something that I feel rather jaded about. Allow me to elaborate on some points that would perhaps clarify my position on the same. First of all, this is a rather complicated issue because in all honesty the jati ossification can be traced back genetically. A lot of genetic studies have been done that came to this conclusion, dating it to 2,000 - 2,500 years ago. While it has its fair share of criticism DNA results can't be just wished away. Therefore to ignore this would be naiive at best. European caste system certainly is a reality, and that same understanding was perpetuated to understand India. It was not an Iberian peninsula phenomenon; rather, it was widespread across Europe. A good indicator of the same would be the long standing presence

मैं आदमी हूँ

मैं आदमी हूँ, और अक्सर मैं बदनाम ही होता जाता हूँ, हर किसी की खुशी, अपनी कुचलकर हर दिन परोसता जाता हूँ। मेरी चुप्पी में छुपी है टीस, मुस्कान से ढकता जाता हूँ, बस आदर की भूख नहीं मिटती, इसलिये बदनाम हो जाता हूँ। कहीं पिता की रात की लोरी और कहीं पति के प्रेम  सुनाता हूँ, कहीं बेटे का कर्तव्य और कहीं मित्र का भाग निभाता हूँ। मेरे अंतिम श्वास की घड़ी में बस मैं इतना ही कह पाता हूँ, बस आदर की भूख नहीं मिटती, इसलिये बदनाम हो जाता हूँ। कभी दफ्तर के तनाव से तो कभी दुःख से जूझता जाता हूँ, जीवन की आपाधापी में अक्सर पीछे रह जाता हूँ। मेरे जीवन का कोई मोल जो था, उसे गिरवी रखता जाता हूँ, बस आदर की भूख नहीं मिटती, इसलिये बदनाम हो जाता हूँ। औरों की खुशी में अपनी खुशी, बस यही बात दोहराता हूँ, अपना क्या और पराया क्या, सब कुछ ही छोड़ता जाता हूँ। बन इस समाज की धरा की ईंट, एक उज्ज्वल कल को सजाता हूँ, बस आदर की भूख नहीं मिटती, इसलिये बदनाम हो जाता हूँ। कभी सोचता हूँ के मेरे जीवन का सार था ही क्या? एक क्षण सुख की छाँव, और शेष धूप में बिताता हूँ। कोई चला जाता है अनदेखा कर, तो कोई धिक्कार जाता है, बस आदर की भ