India’s hopeless population issue – a gone case? 

‘My last appeal to the leaders of India before the May 23rd General Elections: “Please save India. Why can’t you people see that Indian cities are suffocating due to bad air quality? Why is it so difficult for you people to see those traffic jams and growing commuter times? Why can’t you people relate the country’s liveability and environmental issues to her growing population? What (bad) must happen in the country before you people can wake up and see the obvious? Have you ever considered that, by raising the population and environmental issues, you may even win the elections?”

It baffles me why extremely important matters, such as population and liveability issues, are not discussed in public debates in India. Is it really a case of frogs getting cooked slowly? Is it not common sense that the energy consumption will keep increasing with increase in population, leading to poorer air quality, continued deforestation and worsening traffic conditions? Furthermore, does it not seem logical that a constantly growing inter-human competition will keep exacerbating corruption at all levels, adulteration, environmental degradation, and unhappiness – along with increase in mental anxiety and depression? It puzzles me that the common middle-class person in India has been tactfully kept busy with matters of much lesser substance, such as ideological issues,  whilst the elements necessary for human survival keep degrading right in their face, shockingly without attracting an iota of care from them.

India does not have unlimited supply of land mass, water resources  and air cover, or other natural resources to continue being consumed by its growing population. Unfortunately, the country lacks the vision, the will and the discipline of China, a country which controlled its population growth just in time and has proudly emerged as one of the current super powers in such a short time. On the Happiness Index too, China is far ahead of India.

Two years ago, in my book, “Issues White-anting India” (2017), I alarmingly raised the issue of an uncontrolled population growth as one of the core reasons underlying most liveability, socio-economic and socio-political issues in India. I gave India a notice period of 5 to 10 years to turn things around. Many people have laughed at me during the past two years, some still do but I have kept ranting. Sadly, instead of attending to more serious matters in the country, most people and stake holders have been caught up in ideological  warfare issues. Out of sheer desperation, after my India tour of 2017, for a pan-India launch of my three books (September to December 2017), I urgently wrote another book to save India, “Does India need a dictator – to rescue a sinking nation?” (2018).

Two years hence, with now just about 5 to 8 years left for an improbable turnaround, some people seem to have suddenly woken up to the reality, as I had predicated, and are now talking about the population issue. It makes me laugh now; they may have wasted two precious years. Sadly, none of their darling leaders has woken up, or will ever wake up. Politics is a dirty game; power corrupts and blinds to the reality. It may be possibly a gone case for India.

In addition to my books, I also wrote a number of articles to raise the general awareness about population issue in the country. Despite my constant efforts, people have not taken my alarm seriously; they have continued to laugh my efforts away and enjoyed being caught up in the same old divisive issues, as if they have been possessed by some invisible power.

I was very hopeful that, based on the noise that I had made during the last two years, some leaders would have woken up and taken notice about this serious issue of population growth before the forthcoming general elections. But nothing of that sort happened. Interestingly, they have continued to be infatuated with one another. Similar to their distant ancestors – who were also infatuated and possessed with one another constantly, thereby, attracting alien powers – one after the other – to come in and rule over them – these leaders have also been busy undermining one another’s foundations and digging up the graves of ancestors of one another. Instead of looking at the present and the obvious, and worrying about the future, these leaders are perpetually buried in the past. So they have all been a big disappointment to that end.

Now what? As those taxi drivers have told me across India in the past 2 to 3 years, only nature will set things right, which man ought to have done. They foresee and hope natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, droughts, disease – to bring down the population of India. One of them, a 55-year old in Delhi, wished for a nuclear war to take care of the population issue. All these taxi drivers, with whom I have interacted, were sick and tired of the growing traffic woes and worsening environmental conditions in India. Why only taxi drivers? Because they are the only ones who witness it constantly, as they move through the veins and arteries of the country – the country’s roads and streets, which depict the country’s health – to be able to earn their livelihood – some up to 18 hours a day.

The misery of taxi drivers is increasing with each passing day. Most of them said it is very hard to survive, as not only it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep driving for longer hours in ever-growing traffic conditions but also due to a stiff competition from other service providers. They blame the banks for enticing people with easy loans to buy cars. They also blame the government for not regulating the purchase of cars, as people, who have no car-parking facilities at their home, tend to buy more than one car and park them in the narrow streets outside their homes. Note that the vehicle industry has been booming in India, as some 45, 000 or more vehicles enter the countries blood vessels every day, almost matching the net population increase each day (about 60,000).

In a nutshell, India is paying a very heavy price for the newfound affluence of the upper 20 to 30 percent people, combined with a clear lack of vision of its leaders about the country’s deteriorating environmental conditions. Car industry will not stop producing cars in such a huge market and the privileged class will not stop or reduce their ever-growing consumption of energy due to their insatiable hunger for commodities. At the same time, leaders are after power and the country as a whole is losing, alas!

As a last resort, if the politicians don’t talk about this issue before 23 May 2019, people must come out on roads to demand an urgent population control to save themselves and their future environment. But, based on my experience and in all probability, such a thing may not happen. Most people will chose to get poisoned and cooked slowly, as the environmental conditions keep degrading further. People may have sketched their own destiny; they were alarmed and just in time! But, alas, they chose to sleep or pray to God’ … Bill K Koul (12 April 2019)

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