The Daily Fix

The Weekend Fix: Why Anglophone liberals must make way for the vernacular left and nine other reads

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

Weekend Reads

  • Rather than being a threat, linguistic identities strengthen India, argues Mathew Idiculla in the Hindu.
  • On Gauri Lankesh and the vernacular Indian left: Raghu Karnad writes in n+1 magazine on why the Indian liberal must die.
  • The genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar shows that religion has always been a key part of politics in region. In Politico, Joe Freeman recounts how the United States government tried to fight Communism with Buddhism.
  • The Dravidian movement’s contribution to keeping India united is not appreciated enough, writes Pulapre Balakrishnan in the Hindu.
  • Modi’s Mandal: Tapping the wrath of “lower” Other Backward Castes is a strategy that the Bharatiya Janata Party expects will pay off as it goes ahead with a major overhaul of the backward quota system, argues Ullekh NP in Open.
  • Mona Ahmed, often labelled Delhi’s most famous hijra, was never sure if she wanted the queer identity for herself, writes Urvanshi Butalia in the Business Line.
  • Return of the city-state: Nation-states came late to history, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they won’t make it to the end of the century, writes James Bartlett in Aeon.
  • The question of cultural appropriation: It’s more helpful to think about exploitation and disrespect than to define cultural “ownership”, argues Briahna Joy Gray.
  • In Religion Dispatches, Jason Jospeh writes about how Western intellectuals invented the myth of a mythless society.
  • In Mint, Sidin Vadukut reviews the “new” Nokia 3310 and comes away impressed by not having a smart phone.
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Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.