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10th-Sep-2018

Hazards of living in mega cities

By

Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
All over the world, the great cities are in trouble the problem of how to deal with the large urban concentrations of the modern world has not yet been solved. It is a problem which besets not only the advanced countries but affects all areas with dense populations and consequently large cities.
The city of dreadful night and the city of Joy are titles of two literary works which provide the contrasting pictures of modern city. Dickens on his Hard Times calls a modern industrial city Coke town with smoke continuously overcastting the sky and the noise choking the air. It is a town of red brick or brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes allowed it a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage- the tall chimneys rising up into the air like competing towers of Babel. Priestley has described a modern city in his brilliant essay Too Many People. Life in a modern city is full of hazards and pains. One cannot make one's way through the seething, steaming crowd of people. In buses, trains, restaurants and theatres, people scramble for seats, the streets are so crowded, people have to jostle and push and elbow their ways. There are the jabbering crowd of commuters, vendors, beggars and vagabonds. It is a pretty hell thick with the horrid host of 'fallen angels' who turned devils are hostile and unfriendly and sometimes go baresark. The day-to-day routine of urban existence makes tremendous strain on the body and the mind. One has to be a postures which are not normal for the physiological make-up of a man. Muscles are continuously strained by sitting or standing in abnormal way. Hazards of living are both hidden and manifest. Strain of very living is coupled with the insecurity and uncertainties of life. With living space falling awfully small in contrast with the vast demands, one room apartments for most middle class families have become more a compulsive compromise than an exception.
Open space for plays and recreations is gradually shrinking. The stifling atmosphere of congested area huddled with close ranging houses provides a nightmarish ordeal for the city dwellers. The city pavements are the heaven for the homeless and the sordidness and shabbiness of the surroundings have the potential dangers of fatal diseases. There are slums and ghettos with Jhupris which offer risks, humiliation and accidental or intentional fires.
Physical hazards apart, emotional strain is intolerable. Individuals in a modern city are isolated isotopes working with mechanical efficiency.
He is reduced to a robot having no will or initiative of his own. Economic liberalization and technological progress seek to make life comfortable, but the complexities incidental to the progress make life more and more feverous fretful and weary. Children are asked to participate in the race of life and they are robbed of their spontaneous urges and natural joys of life. Men and women are lost and confused in the glitter and glamour of the artificial world in which they elect to live.
Writers, poets and singers find for their subjects sickness and sexuality, distress and decay. "Our house is a decayed house". The city is the paradigm of modern predicament and precarious existence. Delight and despair, hope and fear are ambiguous feeling that cause disturbing distortions of city life which are manifested in the merciless murders, mindless masochism, distressing sadism, drug-addiction, vandalism, communal carnage and all sorts of corruptions. These are the inalienable corollaries of modern urban life.
The modern city dwellers are victims of pollutions in air, water and noise. Noise pollution is the worst enemy which makes life in a city hellish.
Harsh cries, horrid honing of air-horns, outrageous blaring of songs and talk through loud-speakers, drum-beating and street singing through microphone tell on the physical and psychological functioning of human organism resulting in deadly diseases like by hypertension and cardio-vascular ailments.
The city like Calcutta has strange paradoxes. It has jams and pot-holes, power cuts and risk of accidents at any moment but at the same time it offers creative amusements in the forms of experimental dramas, cinema and songs; it has Nandan, Metro rail and Book-fair, it has cricket and genuine ardour of the people for the joys of life.
The city may seem cruel,  callous and cunning, but it has the irresistible charm of pleasures and pastimes, culture and kudos. A city dweller is alone, self absorbed in his material selfish existence, but he can open out and feel expansive and dilated in the society of books and theatres, plays and songs.
Failures and frustrations are there, but the rhythm of life is not stopped. There is the resisting power of city dwellers- in the midst of stress and strain, there is the inherent force that propels them to newer urges and aspirations that keep life for ever agog, for ever eager.
Problems of city dwellers in Bangladesh leads untold miseries. These problems must be solved with modern and scientic measures.
The issues of urbanization are very important and challenging for Bangladesh. This requires judicious policies and right planning at right time. Otherwise, we will not be able to get the minimum benefits from urban area. Although govt. has got the major role to play on this issues we have also some part to play. All of us must be sincere in tackling the urban problems.