Ahead of the Republic Day parade on 26 January, Lutyens’ Delhi looks all set to welcome the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as chief guest for the event. And it’s barely like anything we have seen so far at Rajpath. It is not new, however, for New Delhi to host foreign dignitaries, especially at Republic Day. And when that happens this time every year, elaborate decorations are made wherever possible.
According to a report by The Indian Express, multiple rows of potted plants have been put in place at the traffic roundabout at Rajpath. Also, leaves of palm trees covered with moss have been placed on top of these pots making them look like pyramids – well, thanks to the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).
While an official of the NDMC describes these decorations as their routine job, it appears far from ‘routine’ and this, especially when the entire city is crying for fresh air to breathe. However, the official also mentioned that similar arrangements would be made for other parts of the city so as to improve the aesthetic look of it. Pray you, NDMC, plant some more trees and stop chopping down the ones that we already have!
It sounds perfectly fine to make arrangements and decorations for a foreign delegation visiting our country. But what is important is that cities of our country are facing a serious threat from the pollution of different forms and there haven’t been effective measures taken to better that situation. The recent time lapse video of Beijing being engulfed by smog is a reminder for India and the authorities and also its citizens here to strive to create an environment where something like that does not occur.
We need to wake up and we need to wake up fast before it gets so bad that we cannot tell between London, Delhi, Beijing and other cities across the world faced with an alarming scale of air pollution. It is important that the Crown Prince goes home happy and has nice things to tell about us. At the same time, besides adorning Rajpath with leaves of palm trees, it is important that we do not create a facepalm situation for ourselves.
By Aman Sahil