New Delhi, Nov. 9 -- There's a morbid smog joke going around WhatsApp these days. Three men go to heaven. The Syrian says he got there because the Islamic State killed him. The American says he was killed by a hurricane. The Delhi-walla says, "I was just trying to do pranayam."

Our fitness aspirations are sadly at odds with our Air Quality Index (AQI) realities. Siddharth Singh, author of The Great Smog Of India, told me in an interview that last year, when the World Health Organization hosted a conference on pollution in Geneva, the Indians could not attend.

The reason, he says, was that everyone was busy with the inauguration of the giant Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat. They were organizing a Run for Unity in Delhi. "On that day AQI f...