Lessons to learn!! From the 18th Century London to 21st Century Delhi.
I now recollect that day when I read news of India winning the bid to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games, at Delhi. I don’t quite remember when this was, but I do remember to have felt awed at the thought of India hosting a mega event much like the Olympics, if not as big. Fast forward days, months & years, being at the juncture we are in right now, the awe has for long given way to anger, frustration and pity-ness towards the organizers who are responsible for all the current mess. There have been enough of filthy living areas, shameful corruption and the shocking failures to newly constructed structures like the bridge adjoining to the stadium.
I don’t think there is anything at all, that I can add about the already messed up event, all I can is wish and hope for a decent event which brings about at least a smile on the faces of those Indian and foreign athletes at the end of the 11 day ‘supposed-to-be-mega-event’. What I intend to spread by this post is a warning to the mega cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata & Chennai (the list doesn’t end here, just naming a few), and this would be a right time to work on it, I guess!
I recently found a friend of mine sharing a link in Twitter which was about the Top 10 filthy cities in the world and shockingly Mumbai headed the list. Delhi’s filthiness doesn’t require an explanation and the dirty environment in Chennai near the railway station and under the bridges, a few to name, is something I have seen quite a dozen times. Kolkata, the 4th Indian metropolis, I have heard ain’t much different too.
India has been a place of diseases, even when the name and the viruses or bacteria’s causing it keeps changing, the end result have always been the same, wide spread panic and uncontrollable deaths. There has been the Chikungunya, the Dengue fever, the Rat fever, and the more recent H1N1 influenza. London has a story to tell us, let’s check what it is.
London as we know it is one of the best cities in the world and UK has set high standards as a nation for others to follow. I am sure one of those things that attracts anyone about London, either in the pictures or videos or movies, is the mere beauty of the places and the cleanliness and hygiene in the environment. This is the London we know off now, the world knows of now. There was a stage when thousands and ten-thousands died every year in each British city as a result of epidemics like Small Pox, Cholera, Tuberculosis and even fevers like Typhoid. Several websites point out that around 80000 people were killed by TB alone in the 18th and 19th century and other diseases were as dangerous too. Poverty was the most basic problem and unhygienic conditions and polluted & sewaged water bodies like the mighty River Thames, all contributed to these age old tragedies. It was then that the Europeans learnt of the necessity of a clean environment and the dangers a shabby place can cause. Since then, there has been no looking back and it has contributed to what we see as one of the cleanliest & wanna-be places in this planet earth.
To read further about the 18th Century London – Click Here.
Most Indian states receive huge rainfall every year and the Indian cities like Mumbai & Delhi are no exceptions. This year Delhi received the highest rainfall in 35 years and there is no real stopping for the flood water. I am sure almost everyone knows the adverse effects the waste water causes like the un-controllable breeding of mosquitoes, which are responsible for almost all these deadly fevers. W aste water is just an example and the list of those pollutants and wastes shall go on forever if I start naming them.
The current condition in present India may not be as bad as the old UK, but it must be remembered that it won’t take long for a epidemic to spread across a nation and considering the billion plus population, there can never be a bigger tragedy. As Prevention is always better than Cure; a few cautious steps won’t do us any harm, and is in fact the need & necessity of the hour.
It would be the best step forward to take a couple of lessons out of the London experience, and make efforts to clean our city as we do in our homes. Constructing big buildings and express roads do improve the outlook of any city and nation, but it must be remembered and understood that the form stating India as a developed nation cannot be submitted when the “Hygiene & Clean Environment” box remains unticked.
Commonwealth Games is sure to have taught us a lesson, and i wish this is the right time to re-construct our nation, for the sake of the billion people who take pride even at the thought of being an Indian.