A little girl says “how dare you ” to state heads and mighty governments at the UN climate summit held in New York . Greta Thunberg , the Swedish girl is now synonymous with the climate change crisis . Friday’s for future is a worldwide chain of protests held by students , activists , environment lovers and citizen warriors. From 20 th to 27 th Sep 2019 India too is organising these protests in various cities . In my experience this is a landmark in environmental awareness and awakening ! We fight for forests , green cover , depleting rivers , desertification , fossil fuels , green energy , coal , mining , air pollution , water scarcity and toxicity and so on and so forth ! The list is endless and so is the josh ! ( energy ) My NGO Tree For Life puts up its tiny foot on the ground too , for millions are with me .. I’m not alone anymore !
UNCCD event COP14 was hosted by India . So proud of PM Modi for being a beacon of light in the field of environment issues . Never have we seen paryavaran being taken so seriously in this country .
The exhibition was a treat as we saw what is actually happening all over the world . Tribes doing organic farming , saving the tiger , biodiversity awards it had it all . I particularly loved the session on Desertification taken by the Indian ministry officials . The event stated with Modiji’s opening speech about climate change and its challenges .
World over activists , children , youth warriors are speaking up for the climate crisis ! It’s got everything to do from global warming , deforestation , desertification , riverlinking and dam building effecting the landscape , migration of population from depleted lands to urban areas , fossil fuels , carbon footprint , air pollution and so on !!The list is endless – where are the solutions ? Governments lending a good ear to environmental challenges will save the planet or activists like us will toil till we are heard !
India hosted the COP14 – a big event but selective audience at India expo mart Noida . PM Modi spoke on the opening day and told the world in many words that India would lead by example in terms of climate change , challenges of air pollution , desertification and waste management . He pointed that to ban single use plastic India is kickstarting a nation wide campaign from Gandhi Jayanti ie 2nd of October 2019 .
I attended a few seminars on saving the forest , tree plantation and desertification . The exhibition itself was an eye opener – what countries are doing about marine litter , plastic pollution , recycling , wildlife conservation , water issues and so on .
Im so humbled and honored to be amongst the top 5 influential women ,as featured in Femina August 2019 ,India .Its nice to be acknowledged for one’s work once in a while .
Kavita Devgan has put together five women from different fields who are ‘Changing the world for the better ” as her article is titled .It is interesting how “women empowerment “is not a phrase anymore because in reality there are thousands like me who pioneer in their fields and try to make a tiny change .I am sure few women will be inspired to do more !
Five women whose work in nutrition ,environment ,entrepreneurship and sleep issues are making a positive change in peoples lives -Dr Manvir Bhatia ,Ishi khosla ,Kavita Ashok ,Meera Gandhi and Shailja Mittal !
Only when I bent down to fill Ganga jal ( water ) from the Ganga at Gangotri did I realize how colossal the river was ! Its stupendous flow and gurgling roar bought a shiver to me and I hesitated a bit -such is the gigantic holy river at its source .According to legend ,it is here that Goddess Ganga descended when lOrd Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair .People of Uttarkashi address it as the Bhagirathi .At 10,200ft it has the most picturesque sights and a photographer can get confused which angle to take first -such is the royal beauty of this region .It is one of the Chota char dham and pilgrims throng Uttarkashi in the season .At this time of the year ,it is serene with a few sadhus walking past you on the highway !
The exorbitant greenery is so lush that I wish I could bring it back with me to Delhi ! There is nothing petite and slender on this side of Uttarakhand .Mountains are humongous and the Ganga-inordinate ! There is plentiful of fresh fruits and vegetables-so organic that one tends to gorge on them all the time .The happiness quotient of the locals is very high -maybe I have not met more happy people in India .Nobody is complaining ! There are adventure camps for the nature enthusiasts ,organized treks for the brave hearts and lovers of the green mountains and tiny hotels all over to take a break .What more can one ask for when the clouds are on the road itself and its drizzling? The heart sings a merry song ,many a times creating a new symphony !!
Harsil is a picture perfect village where one can camp before heading to Gangotri .That drive from Harsil to Gangotri can beat any Swiss holiday .May I suggest more people visit these hidden jewels in our country and promote tourism in the state !
The environmentalist in me kept a keen eye on how the Char Dham Highway was being made and whether the taming of the mountains to make broader roads was safe enough as to not cause landslides and flooding in the future .It is quite clean but tourists litter it with plastic majorly and the locals do not have a organized disposal and recycling system .I did come across the mountain deer and exquisite bees and birds and promised myself to keep working for the environment -saving forests and wildlife ! A must visit – Uttarkashi -Gangotri !
This is not just a throwback !
Many of us feel nostalgic about how diplomatic relations used to be between India and Pakistan .Whatever happened at the borders, there was a minimal grace between the officials .Today India -Pakistan relations are churning and curdling after the revoking of Article 370 and 35A .
With US and China trying not to step in ,the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has been solely addressed by Prime mInister Modi ,Home Minister Amit Shah and the cabinet .Indians here and all over the world are brimming with self respect as they feel proud of the firm stand the PM has taken ! I have received many messages and calls from NRI’s feeling triumphant about this historic move !
Critics name it the beginning of “anarchy “,while Mehbooba Mufti ,Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah are struggling to get their act together .In his first speech after the Kashmir decision Modi promises to rid India of terror and separatism .
We will have to wait to see how the story rolls . Im sharing a great memory of the farewell dinner at the High Commission Pakistan for Salman Bashir , Ambassador to India .Taranum his wife hosted many a beautiful evenings and the food was beyond gourmet ! The chemistry in the diplomacy is changing ,as is the energy at the border .
Jai Hind .
The youngest Cabinet Minister in Haryana at the age of 25 ,seven times MP and former Foreign Minister of India ,Sushma Swaraj ji passes away leaving a void of excellent leadership in Indian politics .Her aura ,so peaceful and composed was felt across the world when she held discussions and negotiations with utmost ease in the most complicated scenario .
There came a time when if Sushmaji was going for solving an international issue ,India knew she would come home victorious .Such was the enigma .
Words fall short for such a stalwart of Indian politics .I feel blessed to have known her ,however trivial it may seem to mention at this time .I will always cherish her calm composed demeanor and wise words .Rest in Peace Sushmaji .
What is a life -rich or poor when one is gasping for breath ! Yes we are talking of cities in India where citizens are running short of breath ,kids missing school ,older parents rushed to hospitals ,asthma shooting up and allergies galore !!
A strong central government and a confused Delhi government ,the challenges are many ! Its not Delhi alone that I represent here ,it could be Kanpur ,Bangalore ,Jaipur ,Mumbai ,Gurugram or a tiny industrial town shrouded in darkness .Nobody breathes .
Blame game is on ,answers being dodged on television as we ask the politicians whats the value of our votes ? Where are the promises they made ?
The causes of pollution have been discussed dime a dozen times ,I have debated a hundred times myself ,be it at IIT or Harper Collins -nobody gives a responsible solution .
Environment activists like me will make noise till it is heard !