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Delhi Smog: Karmanyeva Adhikaar Aste

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The primary reason reported for the smog on November 7 (and counting) is the practice of stubble burning by farmers in this month. One can find out more about the subject from various sources such as:

http://www.ptinews.com/news/9124531_Stubble-burning--NGT-raps-Punjab-over-incentive-to-farmers

Despite the deep smog in the first week of November 2016, the many governments that rule us have not been able to do the needful.

While we wait for the governments to do what is required or the winds to change course, perhaps some introspection on our part is needed as citizens of the National Capital Region.

The air of Delhi was polluted before the start of the stubble burning this year. While stubble burning is certainly pushing the indices further across what is acceptable air quality, it's hard for us to put on an innocent face given the excesses that are considered routine around the year.

This petition is put forward to request the tapasya, or austerities, that everyone can take on to resolve the problem. There are few who like austerity measures, since the modern economic system necessitates consumption, so governments are reluctant to state the obvious.

When Lal Bahadur Shastri was Prime Minister of India, there was a food shortage due to war, and his solution was simple: he requested all citizens of India to undertake a voluntary fast every week. Long story short: enough people followed through on the commitment requested, it worked.

Since our leaders are not calling for austerity, let's empower them to do more by figuring out what tapasya means for us in our respective contexts. At least until the current fumes dissipate, I'm planning to shun all unnecessary direct/indirect use of fossil fuels. There is considerable variance in the interpretation of necessity in these days, but to my mind, here are what I would consider necessities:

a. Travel to/from work (pool/public transport)

b. Travel to buy essential goods (those which you can't live without during this period)

c. Emergency situations

During this period, watching a movie is non-essential. Running an airconditioner is non-essential. If you can prepare your own meals, eat at home. Keep the roads as clear of vehicles as you can. Let the Diesel Generators run cold. Pool your travel to and from work. Most of the extra toys/plastic bags end up as toxic smoke. Oh yes, and fire-crackers actually are inauspicious for marriage ceremonies (please discuss Hindu philosophy with someone knowledgeable).

Further, for those who can and should, find out from your local authority office regarding what measures are being taken. For example, with respect to construction dust (this is a primary contributor to SPM), whether environmental regulations are being imposed.

The GDP does not matter as much as you are told that it does, so if businesses that have made bets on damaging the environment permanently suffer during this period, it is their karma.

We can keep waiting for the fire truck to put out the fire in our homes, or do take the positive actions that we can. This petition should be signed by only those people residing in the National Capital Region of India who are willing to take on at least one austerity in true spirit.

If more than 10000 people sign this petition, I will present the petition to the Bharat Kisan Sangh as proof that Dilliwaalas are sharing at least some of the tapasya that is being pushed onto poor farmers to protect our children from the November smog.



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