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  • Writer's pictureThothathri Raman

Gandhian Economics!

What is the best way to remember Mahatma Gandhi, arguably the most valuable human being to have ever lived in recent history but remember the ubiquitous cycle that you used and the Gandhian Economics which he practiced. Both are symbolically linked with each other as cycles stand for human endeavor close to nature. The rapid climate change caused by the human avarice could only be countered by human ingenuity and acceptable of certain guilt and displaying will to rectify what has already been done.

The young Swedish climate activist had told the United Nations Environment Assembly even as early as 2019 that time was running out seriously with no action being taken And yet nothing much really happened. In the recent hard hitting speech she aptly pointed out that while everyone is aware of the crisis other than uttering meaningless "blah! blah!" little has been done. In fact the climate change crisis has been exacerbated only after world became aware and pledged itself to do something about around three decades earlier.

In the intervening three decades all the efforts that were promised have failed or were never taken and the environmental deterioration reached a feverish pitch.

This author himself had written in a book chapter some two decades earlier that what we are witnessing is not "growth" or "ascendency" but a Free Fall with breakneck speed caused by G-force and all indications are there today that the civilisation as we know is hurtling at jetspeed towards hard earth to crash into smithereens.

On September 28, Greta Thunberg took the stage in Milan at Pre-COP26, the Youth4Climate conference, to deliver a powerful keynote address. In her full speech, she calls out global leaders for not doing enough for the climate crisis and resting on words rather than actions, and "blah blah blah."

The solution is adopting to cycle as a rigorous symbol and a driving force for change. Yes, the developed world is opting for eclectic cars to keep their infrastructure on roads and bridges utilized and countries like India are also spending heavily on new roads and some on EV s but the real change will come from human element symbolized by the ubiquitous cycle.

Sounds crazy? Think again. Currently there is a Rs 90,000 crore project is being completed connecting Delhi and Mumbai with an high speed expressway network which ostensibly will save fuel and also reduce carbon footprint. But there is no service road or cycle path along the entire stretch that connects many cities as the concept of providing high speed cycle roads has not even entered the planning room of our top honchos.

Cycle roads which a few and far between only in some select cities are a far cry for utility and value and remain as an elitist outfit which no one uses. As a serious cyclist myself I would loath to enter a cycle lane as they are not properly laid out nor are they maintained. It will seriously hamper speed and also cause injury the way it has been designed in Delhi NCR for instance.

The key is to understand Gandhian Economics from his simple bicycle that he had used in his lifetime.

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