Wednesday, August 31, 2016

If hell exists on Earth, it's Delhi : Said John Kerry 

 John Kerry's visit to Delhi is ending the way it started: in a traffic jam, praying for a boat, living a nightmare in a jahannam (hell) called Delhi. On Monday, on his way to a hotel from the airport, the US secretary of State was stuck for almost an hour in traffic due to waterlogged roads. On Wednesday, his address to students of IIT-Delhi was delayed by an hour because of an early morning deluge. "I don't know how you all got here, you must have needed boats to get here," he said. 

The US Secretary of State also had to cancel his scheduled trip to three religious sites in the capital after it rained ferociously on Wednesday morning, according to The Times of India. US Secretary of State John Kerry's motorcade gingerly proceeds through water logged Delhi.

US Secretary of State John Kerry's motorcade gingerly proceeds through water logged Delhi. He must have been wondering if instead of a strategic alliance with India for use of the country's airbases, the US might have been better off striking a deal for allowing visiting dignitaries to use submarines for navigating through Delhi. 

 Mughal emperor Jahangir once claimed if paradise exists on Earth, it has to be Kashmir. Had he lived long enough, or born in a different age, he would have argued that if hell existed on Earth, hami asto, hami asto (here) in Delhi. Thrice in a month this monsoons, Delhi has been brought to its knees by sharp showers. Once could have been lack of preparedness, twice a happenstance, but thrice is abject shame. It is a damning indictment of the city administration, its modern town planners and residents. 

 Waterlogging is generally a result of choked drains, blocked waterways, faulty roads and unchecked construction. In every world-class city, civic administrators clear the drains, remove impediments from waterways and adjust slopes of roads to avoid flooding and water logging. 

But, in spite of burning crores on monsoon preparedness, having hundreds of cleaners and administrators, it takes just one shower to expose Delhi's fault lines. This administrative and civic apathy is typical of Delhi, which, many believe is simply un-liveable. Several years ago, Bahadur Shah Zafar's favourite poet Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq rejected an offer to shift to the Deccan because he felt, kaun jaye Dilli ki galiyan chhod kar.

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