Formula 1 fuel guzzler rekindles India versus Bharat debate
Formula 1, considered world’s costliest sport, debuts in India when low carbon growth is the focus and bridging the gap between rich and the poor an inspirational target.
The hefty technological marvel guzzles fuel to an unimaginative level and does not espouse the cause of those who want India to be a hub for small and less fuel intensive vehicles.
The approach is correct as increasing vehicles is the prime reason for rising air pollution level in most Indian cities. What hurts eco-friendly guys is that the sales of fuel guzzle Sports Utility Vehicles are rising at a faster rate than other fuel efficient cars, even though the number of SUVs sold is much less than smaller cars.
Formula 1 does not promote fuel efficiency. In fact, it pushes people to opt for vehicles which zip off in a second and crosses over 100 km/hour mark in less than a couple of seconds. The SUVs fall in this class and Formula 1 is inspirational for the neo-rich, which has gained the most from India economic growth success story.
Buddh International Circuit, which many of the Formula 1 drivers, has termed one of the finest tracks in the world, is an epitome of the neo-rich and in an island of excellence in middle of chaos.
Just a few kilometers away from the circuit is Bhatta-Parsual, where the police registered cases of rape against police personnel and was an epicenter of India versus Bharat divide. The farmers had protested against abysmal low compensation offered to them for their agriculture land and had to face police brickbats for demanding more.
While the farmers faced highhandedness from the Uttar Pradesh police, the state government exempted Forumla 1, a sports which is understood by a few in India, from entertainment tax, defying all logic. It showed that how governments in India work for a few rich while overlooking the cause of majority middle class and the poor.
It has also triggered a debate that whether India should support Formula 1, considered a sport for the rich and by the rich. Formula 1 may have put India on the global map of economic powers but it cannot shield the fact that not at the time when 40 crore Indians does not earn enough to buy a substantive meal twice a day and about 60 crore of us do not have a regular power connection.
But, my visit to the circuit on Friday gave me a reason to support Formula 1. It was an inspiration for a large number of young Indians, our future, who believed that successful Formula 1 would tell the world that India has arrived and we can rock the world. We can, provided the government, ensures level playing field for all irrespective of their money or political clout.