Marie’s cake?

Meanwhile, while I am still on the Nano issue, let me raise the points put up by environmentalist opposing the small car. While the likes of Dr. RK Pachauri have argued that a petrol low-cost car will add to the carbon emmissions of India by the burning of fossil fuel. Many else have taken a holistic perspective of the issue so as to say; arguing that the urban infrastucture could crumble under the weight of Nano.

CSE, not surprisingly, has chosen to oppose the Nano. And thus in the past quite a few months, there newsletter have become pamphlets against the small car, highlighting how and why the car is not meant for us or rather should not be meant for us.

The last piece that I received from CSE ( spoke about how individual cars are bad for the environment and why all Indians must chose public transport over private one. The argument to be fair is a very valid one and I for one completely agree with it.

But then, the devil as they say are in the details. Is there really a public infrastructure in India? Even in the metros of India, the public transport, is still shady, tacky and unreliable. Honestly, the only reason that I travel hanging out in an over-crowded Mumbai local is because I don’t have my own vehicle.

In light of this the appeal made by CSE, and more precisely by Sunita Narain (she heads the organization), I am very curious to know how many of these experts and environmentalist really practice what they preach? For instance, of all the people that have been opposing the car as a fossil fuel guzzler, how many of them have actually given up their own and started traveling on public transport.

Often when thinking of our dear eco-activists, I am often reminded of the supposed comment made by French queen Marie Antoinette, who had asked the hungry peasants to eat cake if they weren’t able to find bread.

With this view in mind, I shot of an email to Sunita Narian, sharing with her my own views on public transport and requesting her for some datapoints on usage patterns within CSE. Sadly, Narain has not replied till date. It is quite likely that she might be caught up badly in some work or just that she will respond to it in the next few days. And while I await the reply from Narian, I thought I’d share with you the text of the mail that I sent to her.

In case you happen to bump into Narian at some event or seminar, please do remind her to respond to my mail. Assure her, that there is little carbon emissions in replying to emails.


The Original Mail:

Dear Sunita,

Greetings. I have been closely following the coverage that you have
given to the Tata Nano launch and how you have time and again made a
passionate appeal for all to use public transport rather than using
private vehicles of our own.

While, I agree with you on the need for such a step, I want to know
from you whether it is really possible and feasible?

To give an idea of that: I wanted to ask you 2 question. Do you use
public transport or private transport when you commute from work to
office and vice a versa? If not, what is the make of your car?
Finally, of all the people at CSE, how many use public transport
versus private cars? Can you please share the datapoints with me.

I have been an ardent admirer of your work and your candidness and
hope that you will respond to my query.  Eagerly await to hear from

Shashwat DC

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