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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Of Delhi, and its weather...

Finally, it rained this morning, after weeks of heat and humidity.
After living in two coastal cities, Bombay and Madras, (yeah, not mumbai and chennai- I do not need dirty politicians telling me by what name i should call cities), I always see the difference in how it rains in Delhi: it is a kind of reluctant, forced rain, after the humidity builds up over days and weeks on end, not the kind of heavy, natural rain you get in Bombay or the swift rain in Chennai.
And the rain is generally very light, and stop immediately, and the heat and humidity continues here in Delhi even after the rain ends.
Not surprisingly, the electricity consumption has touched 4,900 MW.
That brings me to the core issue: why have the capital in Delhi at all?
For invaders to India, it made sense: it was an outpost on the frontier, giving them easy access to their homelands in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan and to the Khyber pass. So they settled down in Delhi, and made it the base of an empire.
For the modern republic of India, it would have made better sense to have the capital somewhere where the weather is pleasant, like Bangalore or Bhopal, and far away from Pakistan and China. The summers would have been moderate, and the winters less severe.
Instead, we now have the capital in a place which is very dusty (my car gets a film of dust within one hour of it being washed), has a history of blood, where the hot wind blows in from the Thar desert, and is just a few minutes away from  forward air bases in Tibet and Pakistan.
If the British could shift to Delhi from Calcutta, so can  we, and I guess we still have time to shift our capital. After, we are only 60 years old, a very young republic by historical standards (Aurangazeb or Akbar or Samudragupta ruled almost ruled the same length of time in a single reign), and what's more, thanks to modern construction equipment, you can have a brand new Capital in a decade...
But given the lack of vision which has characterised modern India, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime....

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