Jagati Puchch: Moving out of the ‘Ice Ages’


So everyone is waiting today for the result of the Jagati Puchch – Will Alfred Brush Ford get an entry into the Kullu Valley and bring up the ski-village? The outcome may be decided soon, may be within hours or may be it’s in the process as I type this down. I can imagine a mele there. A wonderful sight.

Once in a while, it’s good – not to use your grey cells and just enjoy the sight. But humans were made to use their grey cells… so can we stop thinking?

No. It’s not a debate between the East or the West. Nor is it a debate between the Congress or the BJP. It also isn’t a debate between the radical and the orthodox. It’s a debate, rather, between nature and human beings, who use their grey cells too much… sometimes where it isn’t required.

I am not yet convinced whom to support – the existence of the ski village or to leave it alone. I don’t deny that the mainstay of Himachal’s economy are agriculture and tourism and as a magazine – Businessworld said recently: “Himachal Pradesh’s economic success seems to have been a well-kept secret.”

But ask me, personally I’d want these tourists out of this little state. But that’s not how the world runs and with people with grey cells… some with less, some with more, they’d get at my throat, asking – “Man is more important. Development is more important.” And what development is… I’d answered before.

In the past thirty years of my life, it’s for the first time that I didn’t see snow in Shimla. Come on guys – blame the global warming. And go off to your PC terminals. Wait a sec. Sorry, wait for a few years… what the heck is Alfred Ford? And why this Jagati Puchch? Just for a mere ski village that’ll exist only for a few years. Alfred’ll just go and leave the place himself. Why trouble the Gods?

Ski kya woh bina burf ke karega? Blame the global warming again. It’s just a matter of few years when even that village too won’t have snow at all. There were reports that he’ll use chemicals to preserve snow. For how long? May be a few months.

But nobody is paying heed to the bigger issue. Yes friends — global warming. But that doesn’t stop us from doing our bit to add something more to that global warming? Get at my throat again. OK! Sorry. That doesn’t stop us from doing our bit to slow the global warming.

If I say, stop tourism… would that help? If I say, stop polluting buses and vehicles… would that help? If I say, stop felling trees… would that help? If I say, stop construction… would that help?

It did snow in Shimla this season. A few centimetres, and that didn’t stay even a few hours. But why? It snowed in Kharapathar, Narkanda, etc. etc. Kufri too… though we saw less snow. But do we realise that even the local temperature because of so much of smoke has risen. And that really doesn’t let snow reach the ground. It turns to water before it reaches the ground. But then shall we stop those vehicles? Yes, I think. And save Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries the trouble. Can’t we have that Delhi Metro in Shimla. Or just can’t we walk? Back to the old ages…?

Himachal would no more be a tourist place. And why should it be? What does it have to show? Rivers… waterfalls… snow clad mountains. Where? Are there any left? May be yes, so milch it all before it stops snowing. And there won’t be any rivers… and there won’t be any snow. Occasional floods…

My thought is local. Is it? If there aren’t any rivers, the sea-level is going to rise. Mumbai, Kanyakumari and other port cities would be submerged.

The result or the decree of the Jagati Puchch is irrelevant. I just wish – the Gods had intervened and got into action a little earlier – when the destruction had started in the first place.

Welcome friends to the new era. We have moved out of the ‘Ice Ages’. Finally!

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A perfect story-teller, who is madly in love with the hills. Shimla is his first love, and probably the last too. Won't get tired reading Rudyard Kipling. Hopes to pick up poetry again soon.

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