Indians have long practiced the willfully inexact science — some would call it an art — of jugaad.
It is a Hindi word whose specific meaning is a trucklike vehicle mashed together from whatever is available — scraps of an old bus, perhaps, with some wooden beams and maybe a tractor engine. But broadly, it can refer to any kind of slapdash solution, innovation in the face of scarcity.
Now, that ingenuity is focused on one of the country’s most intractable modern problems: Delhi’s toxic air.
A dense blanket of smog descends over Delhi each autumn, pushing air pollution readings to nearly unbearable levels. And when an outpost of the University of Chicago in New Delhi held a competition for new ideas to solve the pollution problem, many of the entries drew on good old jugaad.