Solar panels in China

Hi, I’m Reema Ganguly and I work for Greenpeace India. I am Indian. I am India. Just as you are or maybe you aren’t. But what I’m about to share with you is a dream. This is my dream. I bet it is your dream too. Nothing complicated.

Memories from the past

I grew up In Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay, back then). Life was simple. We didn’t have the menace of plastic bags or power cuts. We had our own shopping bags. We used to drink water straight from the taps or stored in the surahi (clay receptacle). We didn’t have a cooler or the rarefied air of an AC! Mangoes soaked in a bucket of water for a few hours were the perfect dessert or snack. Melons with sprinkling of sugar on top, yum!

There was trust. We didn’t look suspiciously at people nor were we frisked or our bags checked. I didn’t know the word ‘terrorism’ or tsunami, for that matter. I used to wait until 9 pm to make an STD call (only when we got a phone connection) because the rates were halved. And you had to talk at the top of your voice because of a poor connection. Before that it was trudging to an STD/ISD booth. Do you remember those days? 

Today, we are better connected through multiple channels of communication. We stay cool in air-conditioned environments. We feel more secure with multiple frisking and scanning of our bodies and belongings. I can travel on the Metro and reach within minutes from one place to another. I can connect with somebody sitting thousands of miles away with a single xclick. Have we come a long way!

But have we, really? I yearn for those days gone by. I don’t remember power cuts back then. My heart bleeds for the people I see in the sweltering heat on the streets. Yes, I walk in this heat too but I know I can reach my office or home and cool myself. Death due to heatstroke – can you imagine that kind of death? It’s a life gone. Is our government bothered?

My dream

Every day, I dream of an India where my countrymen will have plenty of food to eat, clean water to drink, clean air to breathe and unlimited electricity. Just basic needs. Am I asking for too much?

Instead, poverty is on the rise and the rich are getting greedier and more corrupt. Approximately 300 million of my countrymen are still living without power. They have no access to education or health facilities either.

Imagine our India, our world with happy people who have food on their table, clean water to drink and 24/7 electricity. Yeah I know, you’re shaking your head and saying to yourself – not possible. I feel like that too, sometimes.

I dare to dream and in bullet points:

  • That our future generations won’t know the meaning of the word power cut.
  • That every city, every town, every village will have unlimited electricity.
  • That they won’t know the use of RO, Aquaguard, or mineral water.
  • That they will never be short of food.
  • That we will all be sustainably prosperous.
  • That we will trust each other again.
  • That India will be truly shining.

In my head, it’s all connected to that one unlimited source of energy – the sun. It’s like the Duracell battery, it never runs out! Can our government not see this? I am sure it can.

Coal - dirty coal – destroying the lives of thousands of people working in the coal mines and of those living around them; and destroying forests – is not the answer.

We need to get creative, we need to rise above business-as-usual, we need to realise the advantages of using our rooftops as a space to generate power. We need to come together. We need to pressurise the Delhi government to set an example for the rest of the states in harnessing the sun’s unlimited energy. We need to feel proud of our capital city, our country where we can say that our people are healthy, educated and cared for.

You, I, we need to tell Sheila Dikshit that it’s time to ‘Switch on the sun’. Click here.


Reema Ganguly is a Marketing Communications Manager with Greenpeace India.