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Watch: Riz Ahmed performs poignant rap piece ‘Sour Times’ on talk show in wake of Charlottesville

‘Every year, I keep hoping that it will become irrelevant, but it seems to become more and more relevant sadly.’

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In an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed took the stage for an impromptu, spoken-word performance of a piece he wrote ten years ago. In response to the violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville and the United States President Donald Trump’s weak response to the events, the Swet Shop Boys rapper performed Sour Times. Before he launched into a passionate performance, he confessed to Fallon: “Every year, I keep hoping that it will become irrelevant, but it seems to become more and more relevant sadly.”

His lyrics rang true as he rapped on a darkened stage about the dangers of extremism:

“In these sour times, please allow me to vouch for mine
Bitter taste in my mouth, spit it out with a rhyme
Ay yo I’m losing my religion to tomorrow’s headlines”  

He does not mince words and blames the rise of extremist terrorism on poverty and lack of education. Changing the original lyrics from 10 years ago, he added:

“The truth is, terrorism ain’t what you think it is,
There ain’t no supervillain planning these attacks from some base
The truth is so much scarier and harder to face
See, there’s thousands of angry young men that are lost
Sidelined in the economy, a marginal cost
They think there’s no point in putting ballots up in the box
They got no place in the system and no faith in its cause...
The way that Trump talks, gives a lost boy a cause.”    

Sour Times was originally written in 2007 and first appeared on the 2012 album Microscope by Riz MC.

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Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

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In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

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Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.