This heartwarming photograph from New York of these wonderful people extending their support to us has given us a much-needed shot in the arm.
Knowing that someone jogging in Central Park on a chilly New York evening is thinking of our struggles to save Aarey makes us realise we are on the right track.
Central Park has an annual maintenance budget of USD 80 million. Here in Mumbai, we can’t even dream of spending even half that amount on conserving Aarey.
In fact, our government is spending to destroy it.
But we also have people from Japan, Colombia and Barcelona letting us know they are with us.
We have people fasting to show us their support.
We have little kids taking our cause to fancy dress contests.
One even wrote to the Superintendent of Gardens objecting to the merciless hacking of trees in Aarey – something many adults didn’t find the time to do.
In this long fight as we litigate, court arrest, plead, argue to let this natural resource be; in the midst of this never-ending chain of petitions, police cases, protests, awareness drives, it is these smiling faces that keep us going.
Yes, development is essential. But it can’t be allowed if it turns this city into a gas chamber.
We have enough brilliant minds that can come up with alternatives to the hacking of trees.
Yet, somehow, this goes on.
Central Park, too, went through a phase of neglect in the early 20th century.
But citizen activists and academicians led a movement to revive it.
Your show of support tells us we’ll get there too.
This is a big shout out to all of you who cared to show your support. A big thank you from the bottom of our hearts and lungs.
More power to you.
-Sweta Ramanujan for Let Mumbai Breathe