Indian Cyclists Network

Dirt, Filth and what its doing to India.

It was after many, many years that I visited Aarey on my bike ride yesterday, and I must say that I was completely shocked at how the facilities, etc have deteriorated to such an extent that I begin to feel ashamed as an Indian. I've lived and worked in four continents, but if you cut me I bleed Indian, and am proud to be that way. But looking all around me, there is less and less to remain proud of. CWG, et all.

Now the last time I visited Aarey, was with my son Krishanu, who's now 20. He must have been maybe 7-8 when we last went. I remember from my last visit, that it was so beautiful, clean, very nice gardens for picnics, great restaurant. This time around it was very sad to see the garbage, the filth, the stench all around, right from the main Aarey dairy building to the Chota Kashmir area.

A few weeks ago I was on the Konkan Coast and visited a completely secluded beach. As we approached it looked very beautiful from the road, but from the moment we stepped on to the beach, I was aghast. All that could be seen on the beach front, were refuse, plastic bags, old discarded shoes, slippers, plastic bottles.

India is such a beautiful country, it has so much to offer, however, we Indians simply don't care of how we nurture and develop the heritage that we have.

I believe its all about discipline! We Indians behave so very differently when we travel abroad, so the question that logically follows is. Why do we Indians expect so much from our country when we lack the discipline and drive to make India all that we expect it to be?

Update: Sunday, October 17, 2010.

We were talking about this at the lunch table just this afternoon, and my dad had a take on this. His view is that the most people planning the cities and towns have not been exposed to other countries, other cultures, and therefore don't have a reference point or an example to follow. I believe this to be true, which will explain lack of planning, lack of infrastructure, etc, but I don't believe that his point explains why Bomay is becoming more and more dirty, and unbearable. Bombay was not like this say even 5-10 years ago, so what has changed to help in its rapid deterioration? A few possible explanations. One may be that there has been such a large influx of people from all over that the infrastructure that was inadequate in the first place, is even more overburdened. Another may be, that whereas, the population and the construction have grown at an alarming pace, the civic strength, such as municipal workers have not kept pace with the development. Yet another explanation (one that can lead to dangerous connotations), can be that the people who have recently migrated into the our city, are from a strata of society who are not civic minded at all, and in their endeavor to make ends meet, cannot be bothered about keeping their new home neat, clean and hygienic. Perhaps they don;t have a civic upbringing that allows them the wherewithal to adher to the principles of civic sense, hygiene, etc to make sure our city is maintained as it previously was. And a culmination of all the points raised so far, may just be, that the problem has assumed such gargantuan proportions, that all measures taken are simply insufficient to make a visible difference. Whatever the reasons, I believe that Bombay is a city that can collapse on itself, what with the traffic, pollution, dirt, filth, lack of water, shortage of power, to name a few must haves, no being adequate to fuel a healthy and robust future development model.

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Comment by Mohith on October 18, 2010 at 10:10pm
I agree completely with AMITABH AGRAWAL. Let the AC's be banned, then only the people who enjoy this artificial environment 24x7 will come to know the real state of our planet.
Comment by Sumir Nagar on October 18, 2010 at 1:22pm
Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Are you based in Bombay now?
Comment by Timothy Madden on October 17, 2010 at 7:54pm
Sumir - I have no Indian blood in me - actually from US. When I was a kid there was a similar problem of trash dumping and disrect for the environment. Things changed slowly and fish evenally came back to rivers such as the one in the Cleveland where I later lived that became famous for catching on fire. Keeppushing and perhaps in 10 years we will once again see India's natural beauty
Comment by AMITABH AGRAWAL on October 17, 2010 at 7:29pm
With our car windows rolled up and the a/c at full blast, one could never really understand the deterioration of the city. When i took up cycling in a big way and started using the highways(is there one? or is it just a lane?) to reach some destinations , did i realize that the city has gone to the dogs.( literally) . The ghodbunder road in itself is a fabulous place, what with the road passing through the national park. But, sadly it has been reduced to a chock a bloc truck -road and sometimes you have vehicles coming from the opposite direction too( our group ride in the morning today). The carbon mono oxide fumes completely exhaust you.

Friends it is time to act
Comment by Mohith on October 9, 2010 at 12:05pm
Before that there should be a single body of cyclists across India to which each and every one inside India- whether citizens or foreign visitors- should be a member and owner of a identical T-shirt. We can all maintain our local groups along with this. But when going for charity work or riding on national important days and events, we should identify ourselves with Indian Cycling (Or best 'World Cycling' rather than local cycling.

'Think global act local'

What next, Anybody ?
Comment by Sumir Nagar on October 2, 2010 at 10:31am
FANTASTIC IDEAS!!!! Let's go for it!!!!! Why don't We jointly post an event on the next National Holiday to do just that?
Comment by Mohith on September 30, 2010 at 4:58pm
May be as we do lot of biking in groups I suggest the bikers come together once in a while for just for a cause.
Stuff like,

1.Making the neighbourhood litter free.
2. Donating a bike to a kid who otherwise walks kilometers to get to school.
3. Celebration of Independence Day (Or some other) together
4. Repairing the pot hole filled mud road in remote places which we enjoy riding on mountain bikes. But could be the only road of access to some poor people.
5. Riding with shirts printed with awareness messages.
6. Handing out awareness pamphlets to people who are caught littering or 'Paan Painting'
There is just no end for possibilities....
Comment by Sumir Nagar on September 30, 2010 at 4:37pm
In total agreement. Lead by example, works for me. Take care buddy.
Comment by Mohith on September 30, 2010 at 4:33pm
Sumir I'm doing everything I can to be a responsible citizen of India. But I really don't have much hope on the majority of Great Indians who only care and interested for the things inside their compound wall. But we must rely on "Karmanye Vaadhikarasthe Ma faleshu Kadaachana" Just keep working on it don't mind the result.
Comment by Sumir Nagar on September 30, 2010 at 11:50am
We can not only hope but like-minded people can try to build awareness around issues such as this. It will take a long time however i am confident we will see change over a period of time.


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