Glimpsing Sustainable Development as the balance slides further to lift the few, watching the crumbling rest. Are they really lifted ?!
NO Plastic, less consumerism, more sustainability .. beautiful! A very forward far-sighted move from the Fadnavis Administration in Maharashtra; though I have to admit that even the environmentalist in me could not sleep well last night as somewhere the thought of the thousands of jobs and crores from the plastic industry that are going to be lost made me nervous. Our country is at present suffering a major job suction as is, and this economic insecurity is seeping into every level of being – ethics whether professional or personal are downward heading and still on a roll. Consequently, frustrations are leading to more disharmony, imbalanced law and order and no mutual respect or compassion as a collective.
This move towards sustainability from the Fadnavis Government is even more confusing, as this is the same government who has decided to go ahead with the 210-m-high Statue of the Maratha warrior- Shivaji on the Arabian Sea, at the extreme environmental cost of all the air and water pollution the building and erecting of the statue would cause. Many PILs have been filed opposing this project in the Arabian sea due to the negative ecological impact it would have on the costal areas and marine life, and the communities it would displace. The expenditure of Rs.3, 600 at a time when the State is already under a crunch has been questioned again in a PIL filed by Mohan Bhide last year where he talks about this “un-necessary expenditure of the tax payer’s hard earned money”, he also states in the PIL how just the year before, the Government had declared more than 25, 000 villages ‘drought-hit’, he emphasized further, “The Public is not concerned with the building of such memorials. We expect the State to provide a better standard of living and better amenities. It should prioritize this.” And now the same government has gone a step further and disrupted several lives and further burdened the economy, and if this is for the long term positive to ensure sustainability for a better quality of life, then he should definitely think about the long term detrimental impacts of the Statue, wherever it might be built, it will be polluting the surrounding environment and also through its erection. The Plastic Ban has also seen protests by the Industry and all the related livelihoods that have been put on stake, the Government promises to undo the burden and reduce the impact of the ban in the next two years, Jobs have been guaranteed in different departments of the government, where even qualified youth have been denied recruitment because of low vacancies.
Our Nation is threatened today by unrealistic goals and demands, not of it’s people; but the leaders. We, coming from the land where Yog was experienced and then handed down to all present here as humans breathing the cosmic breath- we were all aware of our connection with one another as we understood that we are of the same source origin and destination. And as this understanding spreads and permeates across oceans and over ridges, igniting the spirit of this singularity to achieve more sustainably harmonious ways of doing and being; the masses here in Yog Bhumi are entranced by doubt, distrust and limited self- preservation.
Is it really a choice? I can sit here and talk about sustainability and no plastic and the larger SDGs that we want to achieve by 2030, but really, is that even Just? If possible. So many of our brothers and sisters are stressing day to day to simply ensure their family a good meal and descent, safe environment, they are struggling with the basics, and we are making ‘developmental’ changes by erecting statues and bullet trains like never before. Were we ever asked?! And we are the ‘largest democracy’ in the world and if that meant nothing to the framers or so our leaders like to prove, then why not set progressive instrumental mandates as China which truly aim to solve our problems towards wholesome development, why not address issues such as population control, why not deal with the conditioned social implications which are limiting our man power and collective consciousness daily?
We are not a very ambitious lot, though there are some quite ambitious ones too who have benefitted the less ambitious. But overall, our country has seen repeatedly, the shortcomings of over-ambitiousness when other structures and elements are not well thought of for integration and collective management, what our sincere leadership needs to understand is that ‘Development’ is not possible until progress is achieved at every level – which means no brain drain, no insecurities when it comes to the basic human rights of life and justice; it means a collective common good, not goods that separate.
The skill and humility of our people is exemplary, we have our daily garbage – rag pickers come along and gracefully collect our non- segregated garbage, or even if segregated at origin, they flatten it with their bare hands into their garbage carts to ride it away on a bicycle with a smile and a song still. When asked why do you mix it all up, “Because when we take it to the main dump, there is not segregation, it has to all be merged.” And so, what exactly is the Swach Bharat Abhiyaan about? And just because these humbling skilled forces of our country say little and manage to get by, does not mean that their rights and needs are continually over looked by the controllers of us, the true servers are the ones who touch the garbage every day for us, and securing their rights and other standards of hygiene, support and well being is more important than granting the fulfilment of some Ahamkar driven ambitions of a few.
Coming back to the Opulence that this government wants to display on the Arabian Sea, the answer that was granted to the PIL filed by Mr. Bhide was, “ Have you seen the statue at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu or the Statue at Hussain Sagar Lake, Hyderabad? .. If those States can afford those statues, we are certain the State of Maharashtra can.” Really?! Then why are forts and monuments that already exist there not being maintained, the roads and other infrastructural facilities lacking, it was recorded that 221 farmers committed suicide from one district alone, in Maharashtra, between January to March this year, the Government instead of helping them with subsidies and technological agricultural inputs and other support mechanisms is charging interest on waived off loan. All schemes for farmers, under the Devendra Fadnavis led Government have failed to compensate the farmers, and instead just burned them more with interests and inability to compensate them at the time when relief was required, it has still not assured the farmers of any relief from cooperative and Nationalised Banks, or the NDRF. So, coming back to sustainability and progress, and the real intention of the Fadnavis Government behind the plastic ban remains unknown; if it really cared for sustainability and progress, it would have been doing a lot of things differently, and would be more aware of the long term consequences of their decisions and actions as impacting the lives many who they are governing.