Thursday, March 19, 2015

Do We Need This Progress?

“The project in question is a “smart city,” a concept that is very dear to Mr. Modi and unclear to Indians who have tried to find out what exactly it does. A smart city, it appears from the government’s sketches, is a cluster of high-rise buildings that shine in daylight and glow at night, and loom over waterways and handsome trains that have automatic doors. A smart city would be run and managed by software that would, among other things, suck human waste from buildings and send it at high speed to some other place.

“Mr. Modi plans to build scores of smart cities and hundreds of other cities that are only marginally dumber. He also wants to develop many industries.”

This is what is being dreamed by an individual who thinks Genetic Modified Organisms (GMO) crops are safe, as also is nuclear energy. (For a better understanding of GMO crops see the links on top left of this blog.) Because they are modern and somebody has told him that they are modern. He thinks acquiring farmers’ land is easy because they are destined to be destitute and vagabonds without much education. Believe me, the individual in question hasn’t read a book in his life, and I doubt if he has read an article on the above subjects in his life time. 

The world is trying to phase out nuclear energy. Germany is closing its last nuclear energy plant and substituting it with wind and solar energy. We have 365 days of sunlight and wind and do we need nuclear energy that bad? Despite what happened in Fukushima and Chernobyl we seem to think nuclear energy is safe. The soil around Fukushima is contaminated for around 40 kms and the residents of the town have not returned to their homes. It is estimated that many more years would be required to clear the area of contamination. Nuclear energy is not safe, in any circumstance.

I despair about the intellectual vacuum that is around the current government. There is nobody who is sort of well-read or aware of what the world is going through. The UPA had people like Jairam Ramesh and Mani Shankar Iyer who, at least, knew something. AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal lacks the temperament to be a national leader. So what have we? A totalitarian theocratic state in the making?

Would you follow this man in the path to progress? Chauvinism, and by this I mean, religious and other development-oriented chauvinism, can destroy a civilisation and plunge it into darkness like that of Pakistan. Our fears are coming true much earlier than we imagined they could become reality.

Are smart cities and high speed trains the answer? China is groaning under the onslaught of the fallback of rapid industrialisation. It’s cities are virtually unliveable. We don’t need that type of development, do we?

No comments: