The extravagance of the advantaged class
Today, while going from home to polytechnic, passing through the Smriti Park on Ring Road and seeing the vendors on those pavements who nowadays are selling big plastic bathtubs, my mood was deteriorated once again. It gets worse every day, nothing’s new.
Some anger on those sellers, but a lot on those governments who have become very insensitive to the environment. These scenes are common in every city of North India. Lucknow is no exception and there are people like me everywhere, who get boiled over these scenes, just like me.
What is this? This is nakedness, the shamelessness of a resource-rich society, with the highest level of cruelty towards its resources. Just think about the utility of water in our life and then think about its unavailability and how terrible the crisis can be for an entire society. If you cannot go far, search on the internet by yourself. Those cities, those villages, those settlements where there is a struggle of kilometres to get a bucket of water.
Is there a struggle anywhere, that too for a bucket of water?
I have been in Mumbai where I had to stay awake till midnight for water, had to spend an hour in a line. I have lived in Delhi where there is this critical condition of the water that most wells off families stay lined up in front of water tankers.
Where the drinkable sweet water from the taps is available just once for a while and the rest of the day its saline like seawater, which even makes it difficult to take a bath.
I did not see the areas of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat battling with water, where there is a struggle for every drop of water but I can understand their pain. Then I look upon my home town Sitapur where if the water is available below the ground, it is being exploited indiscriminately.
Almost all affluent families have got submersible or jet boring and if there is need of one mug of water, a bucketful is wasted. The colourful tanks on the roofs overflow for hours. There are many factories which suck up the water day and night, where yarn is dyed and leave that chemical water in the city’s only river, poisoning it too. There is no wrinkle on anyone’s face, no worry about the future.
The building where I have a flat in Lucknow, there are borings for three submersible and water keeps on going all day. The flat just below mine lives a madam who uses her washing machine three to four times a day.
Even if there are only two clothes to be washed, they wouldn’t be done without machine. Everyday cars are washed in the parking lot below by running water through pipes and it’s not any uneducated people, rather all are well educated, elite people equipped with all means. Given a chance they can easily deliver a two-page speech on the environment, but if you see their actions, they will look like the biggest dumb.
These are the kind of people who buy these bathtubs. Previously only baby bathtubs were sold in the malls, but now their cheaper versions are available on the sidewalks. Seeing them, your child is insisting, you are the one with the money, buy it, fill it with water every day, play in the water for a while and then drain it. Why do you have to think about water, regarding the cost of the water? You have the money, the submersible pump and the water under the ground. So waste a lot, but this water will not be there forever!
Almost everyone is indulged in wastage of water…
When I was very young, there used to be a water tank in my old city and that too for the whole city. Since there was no pipeline in the newly inhabited mohallas, people with somehow good financial conditions would get a hand pump installed. It was also used by the people around them.
Apart from this, since the water was available at around forty to forty-five feet, some wells also existed. The population started growing, prosperity started increasing… Government boring was made available in some places, Handpumps carrying “India” mark with deeper boring started to get installed. People with more money started installing jet pumps and indiscriminate tapping of water started.
The geological water level kept falling continuously; well after well lost their existence. Hand pumps became useless and then jet pumps of people started to fail. So now submersible pumps were started to go deeper and they threw more water faster than before because of the air pressure.
The municipality has done many mini tubewell borings in the city so that no one faces a problem of water. The responsibility of these pumps is also upon the people around.
So now the condition of the city is, that without knowing how precious the water is, people leave their motors on and you can see the tanks overflowing from place to place. People even leave their mini pumps on for hours, Even the pipeline does not withstand this pressure, it bursts from many places and water keeps flowing for hours.
If a bucket is needed, ten buckets are shed for a round of fresh and cold water.
The servants in the homes of the posh areas (who doesn’t even know the price of water) can be seen everyone, washing the vehicles daily, washing the gates and the road in front.
Factories polluting the river
A terrible problem is also created by those large factories in the city, which run dye houses … which draw water from the ground all day long for dyeing yarn and after dyeing, continue to leave the chemical and coloured water in the only Sarai River of the city.
In those nearby towns, where there is no river facility, many people have even managed a reverse boring, i.e. after using clean water, the put dirty and dangerous water back into the ground.
And this is an example of one city, the situation is becoming more and more dangerous everywhere.
Think about our sensitivity to precious elements like water… geological water is constantly going down and from the Sarai river of the Sitapur to the Gomti of Lucknow, which is used as a second source of water, is turning into a sewer and in the direction of harvesting rainwater, the third source of water, no concrete framework has been drafted yet.
Are you finding yourself to be prepared for the water-free tomorrow? Leave the government, where religion and casteism become the main aspects of politics, the expectation of social concerns is over-exaggeration … but we and our next generation have to face it.
What are we doing by ourselves… just observe this. If we pledge to stop this indiscriminate waste of water, will our contribution to our breeds be any less?
If you can’t think about yourself, think of your children who are yet to grow up and have to face the crisis. If possible, become a voice of protest in time so that our blind & deaf Governments take cognizance and strictly put a brake on the actions that encourage wastage of water. Otherwise our next generations will suffer a lot more than we do now.