Saturday, September 25, 2010

We deserve bad infrastructure and filthy rivers!

Recently, India - New Delhi, has earned lot of negative publicity.  All thanks to the conditions at the Common Wealth Games venue - India - New Delhi 2010. 

I use the term earned very carefully.  Earned literally means

acquire or deserve by one's efforts or actions

Conscious efforts have to be made to earn something.  And that is exactly what India has been doing.  There was enough time to prepare for CWG then why this last minute rush!

Papers, Media, News Channels, common man everyone has been cribbing we need better infrastructure, better roads, cleaner city!

But, I would beg to differ.  I think we deserve bad infrastructure, poor roads, filthy rivers, ugly cities! 

Its not the government who is at fault.  Its us, the common people, who are at fault. 

I have come across a lot of incidents where common people have damaged public properties like roads, rivers, parks, trains (and the list goes on) for personal or religious motives.

The recent example that I want to highlight in this post is the famous Ganesha Festival! 

I stay in Pune, where the festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm! 

When the festival is nearing, one can see a lot of Ganesha pandals being setup up right in the middle of the road.  I am not kidding, people staying in Pune would agree with me, the pandals are literally in the middle of the road!

How are the pandals set up? 
Its simple!  Find 4 helpers, dig up the road, set up the pandal.  And we are done! 

Government spends huge amounts of taxpayer's (like us) money constructing the roads. 

Then one fine day, we (the tax payers) decide, who the hell needs roads!  We need Ganesha pandals!  Lets dig up the roads! 

As the years have passed by, more and more Ganesha pandals have been setup.  I think in Pune, there is a Ganesha pandal every 10 meters (or less)!  At some places the Ganesha pandals are right next to each other.  One bigger than the other!

End result: The road constructed by the government (using the tax payers money), is damaged by tax payers themselves! 

I don't know what are we achieving by doing this, but I think we are wasting our own money!

Do we need soooooooooo many Ganesha pandals?  What about the amount of money spent in celebrating this festival?  Can it not be brought to good use?  Can we not build schools and colledges out of it?  Can we not help poor and needy people in someway with that money?

I am not saying that we stop celebrating the festival all together.  But we could tone down the celebrations a bit.   We can come up with 10000 alternative ways of spending left over money for a constructive activity! 

Lets not talk about the environmental issues caused because of the massive and maddening Ganesha visarjan (idol immersion)!  Who is responsible for that?  You may think its definitely not me!  But, I think its all of us! 

How did this festival start in the first place?

If we look back in time, freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak, transformed the ganesh festival into a large and organized public event (before that it was a family affair)

Why did he do it?  During those times it was necessary to bring people closer to each other, to unite them. 

Wikipedia says:

It served as a meeting ground for people of all castes and communities in times when, in order to exercise control over the population, the British discouraged social and political gatherings. 
During those times, I feel it was for a good cause!  The festival had a constructive effect!

But now, we have forgotten the real motive behind the festival.  These days people are more concerned about whose pandal is bigger or whose pandal is more attractive!

At the end when the festival is over, it has a more destructive effect on our roads, rivers and city in general.

Its not just the Ganesha festival in Pune, I am sure Durga puja is also celebrated in similar fashion in in Kolkata!

Because we, ourselves damage the infrastructure, environment and the cities, we have no right to ask for better infrastructure, clean rivers, clean cities!

We deserve all this!  Unless we change, things will not change!

PS: I don't intend to hurt any ones religious sentiments. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Dear Deep nice Write up , while I beg to differ in all context , reasons are

    1> The CWG has been a mismanaged event from the day one, all because of our "Jande do & Chalta hai & Ho Jayega " attitude. Delhi is a city built on an old city which has more cramped spaces and locations that mumbai at places. If we try to do an reverse engineering on the root cause analysis the end will be finger pointing on our system, politician and fianlly to us!

    2> Ganesh Utsav : Tell me Deep should we wail at the condition of the roads!! and yet we should pump out our drainage water right on to the road while its raining ?? Our System is like a rusted experimental robot which is stationery for a long time .. no matter how much we lubricate the system with new ideas and laws , the robot doesn't want to move !!

    Tanujan Soman

  3. Dear Tanujn,

    That is exactly what I am trying to highlight!

    We as individuals have the attitude of "Jande do & Chalta hai & Ho Jayega" and our politicians know this. The chaos before CWG will be remembered for 15 days? 1 month? or max 2 months? and everything will be back to normal after that!

    You have given an excellent second example. I don't have to look any further than the place where I stay.

    A shining new road was build in the summer of 2008 (just outside the place where I stay). There is a bunglow very near to my place. That guy had some function at his place for which he needed a mundap. How did he setup the mundap? By digging the road! As simple as that! The road which was build just about 2 months ago now had 4 nice and big potholes on it.

    Another example, which I think happens every time I travel by train. Someone gets tea, coffee or some chips or some other snack. After eating that, people simply throw it out of the train. I am not talking about illiterate people here, people who are well educated, who have kids going to big and reputed schools do this! What will the kids learn from the parents who do this?

    These are just a few incidents that I have highlighted. There are a numerous such cases. And after analyzing all these events I have come to a conclusion that we don't deserve better infrastructure.

    Before we get better infrastructure, we have to learn to protect and respect public property.


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