“There is an end to everything, to good things as well.” – Chaucer
As much as we want to fight it, most things do not last forever. For some, the end is inevitable, for others it is because of our own indifference and apathy. And for others still, it is despite our best efforts. And in a country like India, in the midst of so much change, most things exist under this threat. Hopefully, not all the things on this list will disappear any time in the near future.
1. Languages as we know them will change completely to suit global needs.
As per a survey by the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, 220 languages have disappeared from the country in the last 50 years. As the human race moves into a more global era, we’re going to start conversing in a global language and that just means more and more languages will die out.
2. The Indian Rhinoceros: Only 3000 left in the wild.
Also called the One-Horned Rhinoceros, their range once spanned across the the northern part of the sub-continent. Now however, they’ve been confined to Assam and parts of West Bengal. While their numbers have increased dramatically since the early 19th century, poaching and natural calamities are a constant threat.
3. Famous local eateries that we grew up with will soon be swallowed up by big corporations.
Recently Ghantewala, the famous confectioners established in 1790, shut shop due to falling numbers. Don’t be surprised if more of them close down due to a combination of changing tastes and big corporations moving in on their turf.
4. The Four-Horned Antelope is currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ and could soon be endangered.
Among the smallest of antelope species, the Four-Horned Antelope is normally found in open forests throughout the country. This preference for open forests in one of the main reasons their numbers are declining, due to habitat destruction.
5. All our favourite candy from our childhood will just be reduced to fond stories as we’re swamped by newer goodies.
Sweet, sweet phantom cigarettes. Oh, how I long for thee. You’re lucky if you find them in any of the major cities.
6. The Bengal Tiger is still being hunted, despite government protection.
I don’t need to explain the magnificence of this creature. But yes. Our national animal may soon be just a memory, unless things are done to improve its numbers.
7. The famous double-decker buses in Mumbai will soon be phased out.
When you think of Mumbai, your thoughts inevitably settle on its iconic double-decker buses. Awkward and cumbersome they may be, but like the sea salt in the air, or the Queen’s Necklace, these buses are a part of Mumbai. For now, they ply on select routes, but soon, with the traffic congestion and a lack of space, you’re probably only going to see them in a museum.
8. In a few years, Kolkata’s trams will be removed from the city’s already congested roads.
All that remain of the trams from Mumbai and Chennai are the tracks. Yes, there are plans for a renovation of the service, but practically speaking, and the way the traffic keeps increasing, the chances of Kolkata’s trams surviving are slimming.
9. Asian Elephants are being hunted by the hundreds for their ivory.
From poachers to just the apathy of the government in general, the Asian Elephant is currently facing a huge battle for survival in the subcontinent.
10. PCO stalls won’t be a common sight anymore as mobile phones become even more available.
Gone are the times when we would frantically look around for a PCO stand, fumbling though our pockets for change, getting into a colourful argument with the operator when nothing worked. Ah, yes. Good times. But with mobiles taking centre stage, these stalls will soon become a rarity in the big cities.
11. The elusive Red Panda is losing its battle for survival, with just 10,000 individuals in the wild.
This cute mammal is rarely associated with India, but our country lies within its main habitat. Like the Four-Horned Antelope, the Red Panda’s primary threat is due to deforestation and loss of habitat.
12. The production of the Ambassador Classic ceased in 2014.
The Government on the Road. This vehicle has been the chariot of officialdom for so long, that every time we see one we naturally assume its an official car. Dependable, strong and not too bad looking, production of the car was halted in 2014. In a few years, we won’t see them on the roads either.
13. Majuli Island is sinking into the river every year.
The largest river island in the world, Majuli Island is not just a natural hotspot, but a cultural one too, being the home of the Assamese neo-Vaishnavite rites. However, due to severe soil erosion on the banks, the island has been slowly disintegrating over the last century. The government has undertaken initiatives to stem the tide, but only time will tell how successful they are.
14. The Snow Leopard’s numbers are shrinking every year due to habitat loss.
This mountain cat is an elusive creature at the best of times. A permanent resident of Hermis National Park in Ladakh, encroachment and the hunting of its prey by humans are making its survival a tough ask. While the Snow Leopard is found in other parts of Central Asia, it may not be long before it and Hermis National Park are swallowed up by human ‘progress’.
15. Balpakram Forest is slowly being razed to ground by human advancement.
Located in the state of Meghalaya, Balpakram Forest offers an incredible experience. Besides the Asian Elephant and the Red Panda, Balpakram forest is home to the local Garo tribe. But a combination of development projects and the need for fresh farmland is reducing the forest area day by day.
16. The original Maruti 800 that carried a generation of Indians will soon be off the roads.
If the Ambassador was the car of the Government, then the Maruti 800 was the people’s car. As dependable as the Ambassador, the Maruti 800 carried a nation from the late 80s to the early 90s. Of course now, the car isn’t as fashionable as it used to be and will soon go the way of the Ambassador.
17. Due to excessive pollution, Wular Lake is shrinking.
One of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia, Wular Lake is rapidly retreating. A combination of pollution and foreign plant species is threatening to make a sight like this, a thing of the past.
18. The Indian Postal Service will cease to be the force it once was as the Internet increases its reach.
Probably the most important government body after the Indian Railways, the Indian Postal Service is still in high demand in most parts of the country, including the big cities. But as the Internet’s reach spreads further and further, the Postal Service’s relevance will gradually diminish.