I received a forward recently about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One set of pictures immediately after the bomb exploded, and one set of pictures now in the year 2008. While the former showed absolute devastation, and complete debris where everything and anything seemed to have mowed down, the other was awe-inspiring.
‘How is it possible?’ is the first question that props up in the mind. Lights and buildings seemed to be everywhere, and development in full swing. Urban planning at its very best. The progress seemed remarkable. Man-made beauty at its very best.
While India, with richness surrounded everywhere, could not reach such echelons even after independence, how could a city that was absolutely devastated and reduced to rubble, raise to such heights. It seemed simply remarkable.
Such was my line of thought. I then forwarded this mail to my friends, and I got a jolt when my good friend Mahesh, intelligent that he is, responded back with a line of thought that I had never thought of:
There is no doubt that Japan and Germany have come up from nothing but without trees and plants and greenery, can one really say that the city has come up? That it has progressed and made huge developmental strides? City looks colourful in lights at nights. But during day time, we will find only concrete structures....Shouldnt there be trees also in the city? Greenery?
Very valid point. Whole of Bangalore's beautiful trees are being axed down every other day in the wake of development, for widening the roads, for mass transport train system. Bangalore-Hassan highway which was once lined with one of the finest trees, almost like a green archway for miles together, have been axed down to make the highway a 4-lane expressway.
That brings us to the questions:
1. Does development of cities happen at the cost of this beautiful world?
2. Is the modern city really progressing or regressing?
3. Is the expressway for faster commute actually destined for faster mortality?