Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Hunger games

"When India achieved independence, more than 50 years ago, the people of the country were much afflicted by endemic hunger. They still are."
- Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Winner

The judgement by the Italian court of appeals on Agusta Westland is hogging the limelight in the media and political circles and rightly so . Because it can have a very great effect on the political fortunes . So a lot of heat and dust is being raised on the issue everyday and the common citizen are expected to enjoy the tamasha as bystanders and place their bet according to their political inclinations, taste and preference.

But, very recently, the Supreme Court of Italy has also passed a judgement which should be more relevant to country like India where the number of people living in poverty and hunger may be much more than the total population of Italy . Stealing small amounts of food to stave off hunger is not a crime, Italy's highest court of appeal has ruled taking into consideration that stealing food "in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment" actually is not stealing at all.

But of course there will be no discussion on our media , political class and the people on this subject. Those who are jumping with anticipation of punishment for people involved in Agusta-Westland scam as also those who are denying any involvement , both sides , have no time for discussing such silly judgements. And the chattering class on the social media , who are so full of national pride and political prejudice , to tear into any issues , be it Swamy's tweets or Sunny's tits , what about them ? Well, I don't want exactly your feeling dear reader of this post because I don't want to embarrass you.

But take a survey for yourself . Just ask your friend , colleague or a family member on the judgement and ask for their reaction . Chances are that most of them will not be aware of the judgement . And among those who have heard or read about it, most will dismiss it saying - These western liberal ideas . They can say all this . See what has happened to Greece. Then the more knowledgable will break into the imminent danger of Europe and it's civilisation getting disintegrated for their too human , too liberal and ridiculously socialist style of functioning . The upwardly mobile will recall about Mafia , Olive oil and the last Roman holiday they had taken . Only a very few will relate the judgement to our country and compare . Sad, but that is a fact.

And then, if anybody speaks about hunger and poverty in our country , people will just ignore him . Call him a Commie ,Naxalite, Maoist , Terrorist, Ultra, Sickular , Libtaard , Jholaachhap and what not . The choicest abuses and the sum of all hidden frustrations that one had experienced right from the day of admission to Nursery till today will be heaped on such person with a vicious and in some cases violent outpour of a nationalist and patriotic citizen. Hunger does not exist in our country , It was never there in our society. People don't die of hunger in our country . People don't steal to satisfy their hunger. They don't sell their children due to hunger . They don't traffic girls due to hunger . Anybody who says that Indians are still hungry is portraying our great country from a wrong angle.

Whether it is the Sarkar of Achchhe Din, India Shining , Mera Bharat Mahaan or even Garibi Hatao , all will agree to this . It suits everybody . Maybe because the stark reality of starvation does not fit in our concept of a developed nation that we have drawn a picture in our minds. It does not gel with the soft power that our country is in the international field . It is jarring in context when we boast of the third largest army or the second largest importer of arms . The lip service on poverty through grandiose schemes and the statistics doled out at regular intervals prove their intentions and vindicate their actions, Period. You just need a slogan to wish hunger away and change it after every five years,.

But is it really with no relevance to our society and country . Have none of us ever seen, heard or read about how somebody who have stolen food has been thrashed by a group of people and then handed over to police , for more beating. Have we never really heard about women being forced to sell their bodies for hunger . Is it only true for films ? If in our country , we really make stealing food by hungry non punishable offence , in the footsteps of the Italian judgement , then what will happen ? Maybe that's why we don't want to discuss that judgement . We would like to hush up, bury the information. It should not reach the ears of the hungry people of the country . Let us forget this judgement by the Italian court on hungry people. Come . let us have a great debate on the judgement by the Italian court on hungry politicians.

For those who have read the above , I would like to spoil your mood further with the following informations:

India is home to the largest undernourished and hungry population in the world
15.2% of our population is undernourished
194.6million people go hungry everyday
30.7% of children under 5 are underweight
58% of children stunted by 2 years of age
1 in 4 children malnourished
3,000 children in India die every day from poor diet related illness
24% of under-five deaths in India
30% of neo-natal deaths occur in India

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