Environment, Development and Modernization: An Gandhian Analysis
Many grandiose visions have been developed to depict how humans have shaped destiny in the new century that is fast approaching. These visions are based on scenario involving highly sophisticated breakthrough with vast potentials – colonies in space, robot operated plants, computers that match human intelligence and so on. Major question is whether such scientific and technological advancements are based on a position where man and machine co-operate with each other or has machine overpowered man? The unprecedented growth in world consumption and production is leading to environmental stress through impacts that are both global and local. Some kinds of environmental degradation are truly of global concern, such as global warming and depletion of the ozone layer. Others are international – acid raid, the state of ocean, in several countries. Others are more localized,- air pollution, water pollution, soil degradation, desertification and so on.
The emergence of environmental concerns during the past two decades has led several people to question whether growth of the cost imposed on the environment through depletion of non-renewable natural resources. Gandhi had an inherent distrust of modernization based on western concept of development parameters. He was critical of large scale industrialization, not only because it created havoc in the environment, but also because it led to extensive unemployment. Gandhi found the modern civilization, for all its achievements, fundamentally rooted in the pursuit of ever increasing wants with its harmful consequences. It contributed to inequality and non harmonious relations amongst members of a society. Gandhi was very particular about the adverse consequences of modernization on environment. The present article makes an modest attempt to discuss some of these issues.
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