Dr. Sushil Chandra pal

Here on this earth we don’t care for water, use and misuse it deliberately while we are trying hard to trace the existence of water particles in the moon or mars spending huge time, resource and money. How is rationality ridiculed! Water is priceless when it is abundant but becomes more precious than diamond when it is direly scarce. It is scarcity that adds price to a commodity. Water is plenty in most parts of the world and hence, it has no value or little marginal value while diamond being scarce has the highest value. Let us take some examples: Sunlight is abundant and freely available in every part on this earth and hence we cannot give value to sunlight. But, if one fine morning sunlight stops coming to earth, existence of life on earth will be at stake. Then we will be ready to pay for sunlight. Similarly, air is blowing everywhere and maintains supply of oxygen -the fuel of heart to ensure our survival. Had there been scarcity of air we would die of suffocation. Yet we don’t pay for air as nature doesn’t charge price for it. Alas! We hardly realize that Nature nurtures us! The irony is that we don’t evaluate it deeply. So, only when scarcity occurs these natural life-saving resources are being labeled “precious”.

Very recently Niti Aayog published a report on water scarcity in India that envisages by 2020 as many as 21 major cities in India will run out of water and face ‘day zero’ that means switching off most of the city’s tap a day. 21 Indian cities including Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020. This creates some panic and makes people assess the value of water. Right now, and now on water rationing must be implemented in these cities else price cannot purchase water in these cities in the upcoming days. Life will go hell on this spell. The earth, the only habitable planet in the universe will turn into another Mars or Moon, abandoned! By the grace of God may our good sense arouse before it is too late.

Utility of water and diamond are variedly different. Water is of highest utility while diamond has little utility, yet we price them conversely. Here lies the paradox. Anyway, in different parts our country water scarcity becomes a major issue and in fact, attracts red signals. Imagine Life without Water! Never possible! Next to impossible! Water is the most essential life-saving natural resource. It should be managed, preserved and handled with utmost care. Mere slogans like “Save water, save life” or

“Water is life, save it” etc do not act. Each one should act on it by heart. Each one of us should take oath by self not to waste or misuse water, not to lift groundwater sporadically either for domestic use or for agricultural purpose, put efforts to manage and maintain water bodies of any sort, harvest rain water and use rationally the surface run-off as far as it is possible. There is a wise saying that the king’s exchequer may also fall short unless it is properly earned, spent and managed. Natural resources are affluent but for a span specific, they are not at all unlimited. We can extend that span by rational deeds of action as we can extend our life span by taking care of our health. We must make it a mantra right from this very moment for our own sake vis-a-vis for the sake of our future generations. The earth is the only habitat for mankind in the universe. So, dear mankind, save your own habitat, save this planet!

Scientists can now predict the likely ill fate of this earth. Its span of life is just shortening very fast. That is why, they are trying hard to find a place to shift safe its gene of existence apprehending that in the far future this earth will no longer be habitable. Like Noah’s Ark in the Bible saved mankind from deluges. Our mission Mars or Moon is a part of this search. Our first lunar mission Chandrayan-1 had supplied credible data that helped determine the existence of water ice on the moon surface in 2009. This year on 22nd July Chandrayan-2 is once again successfully launched to serve the scientific goals to study lunar topology, mineralogy, signatures of hydroxyl and water ice etc. at the highest effort and cost. So, in a sense, we are not caring for water here on earth while we are trying madly to find another planet having existence of water. Economics gives us the learning that means are limited while ends are unlimited and teaches us how the maximum ends can be satisfied with the minimum means used. Hope, our good sense may help us to understand the lesson that water too is a limited kind of means!

Nature is our fondly Mother! Let’s take care of her to have her free care and nurture. At this critical juncture, we need revolutionary consciousness to save, preserve and harvest water, some punitive actions against misuse and wastage of water and some awareness programmes through NGOs, Govt. Organisations, schools, colleges, village panchayats etc. on the other should be initiated with prime priority before it is out of hand. So, let the paradox be an eye opener!