Thursday, June 27, 2013

Time to burn our cities!

Time to burn our cities - Kartik Dayanand - Mind u Read

It’s man-made – It’s nature’s fault – It’s a combination of both

The hills have been ravaged - We need to save them – It was a disaster waiting to happen...scream our headlines in the aftermath of the Uttarakhand flash floods, and rightly so. Voices have to be raised, to understand how something like this could happen all of a sudden and to find out if there was any way we could have prevented or avoided this tragedy.

The hills are everyone’s concern today. But my concerns go beyond that.

The perks of living in Delhi:

Though I have never been to Kedarnath, I have driven extensively in the hills of Uttarakhand, right from Haridwar-Rishikesh to Landsdowne to Dehradun-Mussoorie-Dhanaulti and Jim Corbett national park at different times. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most beautiful places in the county and is probably one of the reasons why a city like Delhi seems tolerable, with the hills just a few hours away.

At the same time, I have to admit something.

The thought did occur to me - how do people survive at such remote places, connected by narrow ghat roads which act as their only lifeline? What if the links are broken, how do they connect with the rest of the world? That nagging doubt unfortunately proved prophetic and the Uttarakhand flash floods and the mayhem unleashed after that have proved my worst fears right.

Doomsday prophet:

This makes me even more scared because I have similar thoughts about our major cities and have wanted to write about it for a long time now. In August 2012, I even posted a question on my Facebook Page for some preliminary research and the responses to that confirmed my worst fears (You will understand why I call them fears as you read further). But then, I stopped myself from writing that blog post, which I wanted to call 'I want to burn my city', because I didn't want to sound cynical, paranoid or like a doomsday prophet.

But now, I am not going to stop. If the Uttarakhand tragedy is possible, then it is very much possible that my other fears might come true too. Hence I feel - it is now ‘time to burn our cities’ and here is why...