Essay on Problems of Urbanization in India
Urbanization has created a large number of problems for the people. It is not argued that urbanization is desirable in itself, but the haphazard growth of modern cities and towns has created a very unhealthy environment.
Urbanization has given rise to overcrowding, slums, inadequate civic amenities. It is responsible for prostitution, juvenile delinquency, addiction to alcohol and drugs of the most injurious kind, crime etc. These evils are not inherent in urban civilisation. They could have been avoided if town growth had been systematically planned. It has been pointed out that underdeveloped areas are over-urbanized and that development would be hindered if the present migration of villagers to towns persists because funds badly needed for investment in productive enterprises would have to be diverted to social investment.
Urbanization must be so planned that cities may enjoy all the advantages of villages. The new towns should be situated amidst rural surroundings so that their dwellers enjoy plenty of fresh air and have neat and clean houses. Slums are a disgrace to the community. They are unfit for human habitation. They breed all kinds of diseases and epidemics.
Urbanization has polluted the environment which is a big problem. If the people cannot breathe fresh air, live in open spaces and got light, if they live amidst noise and excitement, if they lead hectic lives full of stresses and strains, they cannot be healthy and strong and cannot lead peaceful lives. Man can isolate himself from nature only at his peril. He can control the forces of Nature but he cannot lead a healthy and normal life if the conditions laid down by nature for healthy living are not ensured. We must decentralize town life and create garden cities where air is fresh and smokeless, the civic amenities are amply provided, the transport problem is not so formidable, workers live with their families and there are no temptations of life as in huge cities. With electric power easily available, the garden cities can have their cottage and small-scale industries in which there is no industrial strife and periodic unemployment, the work is more varied and congenial, social relations are happier and the people live as in a homogeneous community, sharing each other’s joys and sorrows and participating in common life.
A great deal can also be done to improve urban environment if the Government and municipal corporations spare more funds for civic amenities, construct new houses for the slum-dwellers, plan town expansion on more scientific lines and insist on factory-owners providing houses for their workers. We also need quieter lives. Modern inventions create terrific noise. Men working in factories, walking in the streets with aeroplanes roaring overhead, travelling in cars and trains, passing through crowded thoroughfares, seeing pictures are constantly subjected to the strain of noises which works havoc with his life. The people living in villages are spared this torture.