Indian political discourse manages to stay off climate change. Read on to find out the reasons and implications of this ignorance. 

In India, there is a water crisis in several states. Case in point: Chennai. We are a leading country in population, and have leading cities in pollution- to the effect that being a non-smoker in Delhi is no longer possible, as we all breathe in toxic fumes. Ghaziapur garbage dump is as tall as Qutub Minar, among other dumps in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai. One-third of Himalayan ice caps will not survive this effect of climate change; the melting of glaciers has doubled in the last two decades. It will only increase in some time. There is close to no rain in Delhi, but the regular floods in Mumbai, Assam, and Bihar are not unheard of. 

Despite the deteriorating situations, climate change and environmental policies were still not a priority during the elections. Jobs, corruption, and security have always remained popular ideas in the country’s political discourse. This sadly reflects on what the voter-base wants to hear, and shows that we still have a long way to go. Among various reasons for this ignorance, poverty and illiteracy become major factors. For a starving family of unemployed seven or eight people, living in a makeshift tent under a flyover, a square meal will be more important. But who will be affected immediately, and to the worst effect in this situation of climate change? The majority of our population includes people with no homes, who barely make their ends meet, and they will all face the brunt of this (ignorance) the most.

The image of mother, or Maa in Hindi, is highly glorified. The mother, who is called the backbone of the family—in line with the pedestalised notions of motherhood—is only talked about when there is a need to evoke a sense of nationalism or to emphasise the proverbial self-sacrificing nature of women. But between the loud traffic and noises blaring on news channels, all the screaming voices in our country hardly say anything for our ‘Mother’ Earth. 

The crux of the matter is that India needs more environmental policies and laws to be enacted and strictly enforced. Class twelfth Political Science books talk about how after the British drained our resources, it took several years for us to realise the problem, and only much later were we able to rectify them—we are heading down this path again. It is not the time to convince people if climate change is real, because it is. 

The Ministry of Environment and Forests needs to be seen as the highest profile allotted in any cabinet. Simply because currently, environmental issues are not the focus point; our existing policies do not suffice and many of our policies allow industrialists to cut down trees in bulk, and we are ill-equipped to manage any natural disasters. 

Recently, the Garbage Café in Chhattisgarh has acknowledged an important concern. It will open next month, and take certain kilograms of garbage to provide food to people. This café will open in Ambikapur, India’s second cleanest city. A similar story was heard about a school in Assam, which provides schooling to children in exchange of plastic waste. Another revolutionary idea was the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals having been made from 80,000 tonnes of recycled electronics and mobiles. 

Theories on the world ending in 2012 gained a lot of traction, but scientists telling us how to protect this Earth—an act for which we pointedly have time till 2030—is yet to make as big of an impact as a movie. These ideas that have been proposed are unique solutions to fighting multiple problems together. But they are yet to gain the social mileage that they deserve. The Indian political discourse needs to change and reflect today’s problems to fight the real enemy. 

Feature Image Credits: MIT Technology Review

Shivani Dadhwal

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Smoke photography is not as difficult as it seems, in fact there is no correct or incorrect way of photographing smoke.

In other words, there is no right or wrong way to photograph a smoke trail. So its experimenting that will give you that perfect picture, that perfect angle and that perfect lighting that you aspire for. So here are a few tips and techniques that might help you to create such pictures.

Camera setting:

Shutter Speed: Fast shutter speed is recommended to capture such images as the smoke is constantly moving, so to avoid any blur movement, the settings should be done accordingly.

Aperture: A small aperture is recommended to get a sharp and detailed smoke trail for your picture.

ISO: Where there is very low light, smoke will show up grainy or noisy and a high ISO will only add to this, so try not to raise the ISO very high (ISO between 500-1200 is recommended depending on the camera) in indoor shooting whereas while shooting outside, ISO can be adjusted according to the light condition prevailing.

Light: Use the flash at full strength because with fast shutter and low ISO, the image quality may deteriorate but while shooting outdoor, no external light shall be needed and the settings can be done manually.

How to photograph the smoke the right way:

1. Get Physically Comfortable

As we start with the fun part, the shooting. Make yourself comfortable and focus on the object you just lit up. First 20-30 clicks and a few burned out source may dig your confidence down but keeping on learning from every previous shot will eventually lead you where you aspire to be.


Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur for DU Beat

2. Get the Smoke Moving Around.

For really nice curved smoke you need smoke that moves around. A little piece of cardboard can help you whoosh little bits of air towards the source like a colour bomb and get the smoke moving around. Using source like incense stick , there is no need to get the smoke moving around as the source flows well with the atmosphere air and gives you the smoky look that you need.


Image Credits: Vaibhav Tekchandani for DU Beat

3.Let the Smoke Take Over the Background

Letting the smoke take over the background, will enhance the impact of your picture. This method is very impact full while covering onstage events as the object and its actions are fluently expressed. Using external light under this situation is recommendable as it terminates noise and prevents picture blur.


Image Credits: Aditya Khanna for DU Beat

4. Patience

Working on this technique majorly calls for lots of patience as the smoke from the source needs attention and takes time to fall in the right position compatible with the subject. Observation is also an important factor as it leads to the decision of capturing the frame when the amount and intensity of the smoke is right as needed considering that the smoke buildup creates a haze in the Pictures.


Image Credits: Aakarsh Gupta for DU Beat

To put it in a nutshell, smoke photography apart from being an activity based on skill is also an experimental effort based on hit a trial to get that perfect shot at the perfect timing. Patiently wait for the smoke to do its magic and engulf the space while your fingers are ready for the shot that you desire. The possibilities are many to play around with this unconventional photographic art form.

Feature Image Credits: Vaibhav Tekchandani for DU Beat.

Mahi Panchal

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‘Project Smoke’-Blue Frog records

Ashutosh Phatak and Dhruv Ghanekar, celebrated names in the fashion music circles and ad jingle world have put their collective music talent together for Smoke Signals, the debut album of the duo’s Project Smoke.

Smoking Signals boasts of music that is beyond boundaries. It successfully and aesthetically brings together a very bohemian fusion of western symphonies, Sufi rock, Indian classical, electronica and even traditional Indian thumri. The diagonally opposite music interests of Ashu and Dhruv have resulted in this exceptionally interesting album.

For the uninitiated, they are the same duo which composed music for offbeat movies like Bombay Boys and White Noise. Ashu, a graduate in Western Classical Music Theory from University of Pennsylvania has been professionally composing music for the last 15 years. Dhruv began studying Indian Classical Music at the age of nine with Suresh Wadkar and also continued his study under great sarangi exponent Sultan Khan. He has performed and worked with great musicians like Karl Peters, Louis Banks and Adrian D’souza and continues to compose music in virtually all genres.

Interestingly, this album was actually made for a fashion designer’s show 5 years back and when their dues weren’t cleared, the duo came up with this idea of releasing the album and saving the effort of writing new songs.

There are nine tracks in the album. The opening track Windy is a nice soothing song and surely gives positive vibes about things to come. Another interesting track is Tsunami which sounds like an intoxicated Sufi rhythm and not like someone cashing in on the agony of the victims. There’s something for jazz lovers and even gothic metal fans.

All in all, its a contemporary album with all the right elements thrown in. So, if you need a break from the ear deafening hard rock and the dreamy Bollywood music, this is the album to look up to.