Yesterday, a group of IX standard students of St Mary’s School came to the Neela Hauz.. They had read about it in the newspaper and had taken this lake up as a Project for Environmental Studies.
So they hunted out my number from the web and said that they had loads of questions about the lake which they wanted answered. We decided to meet at the Neela Hauz.
That fateful meeting was yesterday and I just wanted to share with you the confusion that they left me with.
They refused to believe that the solid mass of earth and the heavy machinery on top – could have ever been a lake. I tried to build for them the vision that I have seen, not so long back – of a beautiful, hidden oasis of peace with fishes and birds and butterflies all around. I could see, that they thought, I was lying.
They asked me that if it was really so lovely, why did you have to destroy it – did you have no alternative?? In my best adult tone, I told them about developmental prerogatives and about how a bend in a road was a terrible threat to our lives and how broadening the existing road was not possible. They looked incredulous – and asked me whether it wasn’t more dangerous to live without fresh air, water and peace?
They said they thought we adults do not really plan – just give in to pressures from powerful, selfish, short-sighted people.
They asked me why – if I was so concerned – did I not try and stop this bridge from coming up before the construction started. I hid behind my ignorance – I said the government never asked me what I wanted. They thought I was fibbing – they’ve studied about Democracy you see! A Government of the people, by the people and for the people!
Oh they bombarded me with questions – about why a non- intrusive technology could not have been used for construction, about why other parallel roads could not have taken the expected increase in traffic….
I thought they were unfair in making us all feel like silent bystanders to a murder. So I hushed them and told them proudly about our Citizens Movement. I told them how you were a good, ‘Green’ guy who promised to restore this lake to its original state after the bridge is made. I told them about the plan for a Bio-Diversity zone.
I thought I had found a release from the stranglehold of their innocence – but they looked incredulously at the solid earth where once upon a time there was a lake, at the malba dumped all around and the heavy bridge on our once untouched hideaway……….. and killed all hope with their final questions,
Did he really promise? Can he really return back the Neela Hauz? What’s the guarantee??
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