18 Monday
February 2019
Attempt to Murder Gurgaon

Gurgaon is one of the most polluted cities in India. It is in the top 10.

We had only 3 days of clean air in the year 2018.

Gurgaon earns 60% revenue for Haryana State.

Haryana has the lowest forest cover in the country. It was second lowest, but has slipped to lowest in the last 4 years after the Punjab government took positive steps to improve the green cover in their state.

Our Forest minister Rao Narbir Singh says it’s his “misfortune” that he is the Forest Minister of Haryana.

And it is Gurgaon resident’s misfortune that this government neither has the intent of improving the air quality nor does it understand the responsibility it has towards the health of its citizens.

The Haryana government has proposed an amendment to the Punjab Land Protection Act. This amendment will make 20,000 acres of Aravalli forest in Gurgaon and Faridabad open for construction.

What is the intent behind this amendment? Is the government trying to help builders who have grabbed forest land and built colonies like Kant enclave which the Supreme Court had ordered to be demolished? Is this a plan to seek funds for re-election? Many acres of land are already available outside the Aravallis for development, commercialization and building concrete jungles. Why must the Aravallis be destroyed?

The Aravallis are one of the oldest hills in India. 31 hills have disappeared from the face of the earth in the past decade. The Forest department -Police- Government- Illegal Miner’s nexus are destroying our hills and will bring about desertification of Haryana in our life time. Climate change is real, and its surprising that the government cares so little about it.

A few months back the National Highways Authority of India had made a plan to build a road connecting Delhi and Gurgaon right through the heart of the only forest left in Gurgaon: the Aravalli Biodiversity Park. Citizens groups and school students demonstrated vociferously against this decision and the permission for the same was revoked.

The government continues to use words like development to show its concern for the future. The Indian lawmakers refuse to take lessons from the rest of the world in Sustainable development, and reducing our carbon footprint. The world is moving towards green fuels, green cities, allowing forests to reclaim land ; even poor countries like Kenya are making strides towards reforestation. But in India, our government thinks roads and buildings are the only development we need, giving scant regard for the poor air quality indices and the fact that destroying the environment is killing its people.

Respiratory disease is affecting one out four children below five years of age. Air pollution is causing 27% more deaths due to Heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Living in the national capital region is reducing our lifespan by 5 years. Citizens can make a slight impact by saying NO to plastic, by segregating waste and in house composting, and using public transport where possible.

The Haryana Government which has the power to make policies and create a lasting impact on environment has done nothing to stop burning of harvested fields; Nothing to encourage solar power generation in homes and commercial establishments; NOTHING to improve the green cover of Haryana and raise it from the measly 3%. Gurgaon is the goose that lays the golden egg of highest revenue for the state, and the Haryana government is hell bent of killing our air quality by sacrificing the Aravallis for their vested interests.

Urge all citizens to speak up against this amendment of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) and pressurize the government to stop this attempt to murder Gurgaon.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT Surgeon & Allergy Specialist

07 Thursday
February 2019
Traditions, beliefs and perceptions.

Recently a couple came to me for the lady’s ear piercing as they were about to get married. The second ear piercing through the pinna concha is the symbol of married women in kashmiri pundits. The girl was very excited but when she underwent the procedure, she winced at the prick and became really quiet. I saw a quiet acceptance of pain in her eyes.

When they left my clinic, a thought struck me. Why do educated modern Indian women continue to follow age old traditions on their own volition? What is it within us, that despite studying, working, doing everything we possibly can, we still hold on to our traditions? It is endearing and thought provoking.

No one coerces them but in their upbringing, in the way they see their mothers and other women in their household , certain customs, traditions and expectations get ingrained in their subconscience. Changing surnames after marriage. Moving to the husband’s house. Wearing a bindi, sindoor, mangalsutra,getting the nose pierced , getting an extra conchal ear piercing, wearing bangles and toe rings. In India, all symbols of marriage are reserved for women. Indian men seldom even wear a wedding ring.

There was this recent public discussion about young women being allowed in Sabarimala. Many women I spoke with, did not see it as an issue of women’s empowerment. Most felt that there was no harm in respecting age old traditions.

The modern Indian woman, despite being free in every way, isn’t free in her own mind. She doesn’t let herself be. Listening to external voices or the ones inside her head, she continues to judge herself, pressurize herself to do more.Till the point of collapse. Juggling a full time job, taking complete responsibility for the children’s nutrition, education, homework and emotional upkeep, unwilling to cut herself a little slack for household work, parental responsibilities and social commitments, today’s Indian woman is doing herself and her own children a great disservice.

My mother said to me more than a decade ago, stop being a super woman. You are a doctor and a mom, do justice to both those roles; Stop trying to be a super cook, a home decorator, a wonderful hostess and run a perfect home. I listened to her and stopped trying. I am a fabulous mother and the most professional doctor I can be. I know how to cook, but I don’t because it doesn’t make me happy. I gladly outsource my household chores and prefer to exercise, read, paint, blog or simply play candy crush in my free time. I changed my surname the day I got married, I fast on karvachauth despite not believing in it, but gradually, very gradually, I’m letting myself step out of the shadows of my own gender expectations. And I’m a much happier human being because of it.

I ask you all to try it sometime. It’s very liberating.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT surgeon