Issues

Fire in the forests, Cancerous Hate of Bhakts, JNU fights back — Signs of the times

Every winter I think of traveling down South. Every summer I think of traveling up North. That’s a different matter altogether I don’t travel much! But this summer I sit nonplussed, as fires are spreading out, from the hills of Uttarakhand to the forests of Himachal Pradesh. And in between it all, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, quips that convenient little one-liner ‘man made these fires! ’ Don’t know what he means by man made; I have little means to query him on this as I try to keep miles away from these ministers and their expert opinions. If he uses the term ‘man made’ in the broader context (and not really fixing and prefixing terror tags to it ) then he does hit the crux.

Yes, man made these forest fires, as our political rulers and the machinery they man have wrecked the hills, stripped them of their greenery and cut down tall trees. Contracts of the wildest nature have been given to land and forest mafia and with that forests have been plundered and destroyed. One of those ongoing loots, more so in the so called conflict zones. I’ve been told that forest contractors hold sway in the State of J&K. Powerful political lobbies behind them and with that its difficult to ascertain the level of wreckage they have been inflicting, on Nature and on the connecting offshoots.

Forests have never been subjected to fires of this magnitude …widespread and spreading out. Not in these developed times! Not when we sit boasting, setting up smart cities! Little of the traditional intact, yet we have the audacity to brag of upcoming new projects. Is there a nexus between rulers and builders and destroyers!

Man made destructions taking place, not just in the forest belts but also in valleys and port towns and even in the capital city of India. If one has to gasp for fresh air or go running for miles looking for drinking water, it speaks volumes of the conditions we are living in …continue to live in, as all promises of better days have flopped.

This brings to write a report card on the two years of Modi government. I’m no expert. But, yes, as a citizen of this country its by duty or call it my basic right to write what I am seeing and sensing and experiencing.

These two years have been bad. Situations, experiences, realities, daily doses have been worse than before. Study any sphere - food and water, health, safety and security, crime, environment, development, religious freedom, education and institutions, traffic and congestion, minorities and Dalits and farmers - and you will find conditions going haywire, from bad to worse.

Two years back, the masses got taken in by those hollow promises and now when gloom is holding out, there’s that hopelessness spreading out. I keep nagging myself, to try and locate that one sphere where we have bettered or where there could hold out a lingering trace of hope but nah, I see none.

Today even the political discourse has reached so low that last weekend when Digvijay Singh’s 37-year-old daughter Karnika Singh succumbed to cancer, third-class comments surfaced on the social media; dragging in Digvijay’s loyalty to Congress and the Gandhis, his second marriage to television personality Amrita Rai, the ‘whys’ to his remarrying at the age of 69 and much more along the strain! Its difficult to digest we have been reduced to such low levels, where even the dead are not spared because of political wars. Shockingly insensitive we been reduced to, worse than gangsters! We are not allowing a family to mourn in peace, in solitude!

And when the going gets too loaded, those usual distractions do intrude - in the form of nonsensical tales from Bollywood, or those sudden ‘capture’ of dozens of terror striking men, orthose unending corruption laden business deals. Right now all possible focus on the Augusta Westland deal and the potential dealers/fixers to that. Why these deals never reach a closure? Is there a purpose, is there a political motive to their longevity; to that ongoing suspense and the melodrama that follows. Hours and hours get consumed by unending debates on those deals. No closures! Perhaps, closures do not suit the whims and fancies of the rulers of the day.

FIGHT BACK JNU! YES, FIGHT BACK!

Just received this from the organizers of ‘FIGHT BACK JNU’ …sharing with you readers -

ARTISTS, INTELLECTUALS, ACTIVISTS IN SUPPORT OF THE JNUSU HUNGER STRIKE

AT FREEDOM SQUARE(ADMIN BLOCK) JNU

MAY 5TH 9PM ONWARDS

CULTURAL VIGIL

POETRY, MUSIC, SONGS, DANCE, PERFORMANCES

SANJEEV -ANCHOR

ALI JAVED, ASHOK VAJPEYI, DEVI PRASAD MISHRA, IPTA, JNU, JANAM, JANASAMSKRITI, DWARKA, KAJAL GHOSH, HARBANS MUKHIA, MANGLESH DABRAL, NITYANAND GAYAN, RAGHU RAM, RANJEET VERMA, SANJAY RAJOURA, SHANKAR & FRIENDS, SHEFALI FROST & SOHAIL HASHMI, SNEHA CHAKRADHAR, SYEDA HAMEED & RENE SINGH, VISHNU NAGAR

MAY 6TH 8PM ONWARDS

SOLIDARITY PUBLIC MEETING

OVAIS SULTAN KHAN- ANCHOR

A C MICHAEL, AMIT SENGUPTA, ASGHAR WAJAHAT, FARAH NAQVI, HARSH MANDER, INDU PRAKASH, 
ISHA KHANDELWAL, ENIS FRANCIS, JOHN DAYAL, KAVITA SRIVASTAVA, KIRAN SHAHEEN, MANISHA SETHI, MURLI MANOHAR PRASAD SINGH, PRAMOD SINGH, RAJNI TILAK, RITUPARNA BORAH, RIZWAN QAISER, SAHBA FAROOQI, SEEMA MUSTAFA, SHABNAM HASHMI, SUKUMAR MURALIDHARAN, WILSON BEZWADA, 

JOIN RELAY HUNGER STRIKE 

MAY 6TH 10AM TO 10PM

We invite you to join the programmes in big numbers to express solidarity.

Those wanting to join the Relay Hunger Strike should carry your neebupaani with salt. Nothing else is permissible during the hunger strike.

(The end)

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