Thursday, August 31, 2006

Of eating, nevertheless

A friend had asked me, some days back, whether it was not difficult to eat.

I had just returned from Sheopur, having met starving kids. And parents of starving kids. And parents of dead kids.

Kids that couldn't stand upright. Kids that could only move very, very slowly. Kids that were too tired to cry. Kids that went hungry for the first three of four days of their newborn lives because the mother hadn't eaten enough. Kids who'd been so starved that when they were given food, their bodies rejected it.

And it should have been difficult to eat, after that. Such stories... you never quite escape unscathed.

Nevertheless, it was not diffcult to eat. On the contrary, I found myself eating twice as much as I usually do. Eating without complaint, eating food I dislike. Eating without stopping to think.

And finally, understanding what the ancients meant when they said that it is a sin to refuse food.
It is a sin to waste food. And it is a sin to build a society which creates conditions in which some of us starve.

And if there is some such thing as a day of final reckoning, a lot of district collectors, a lot of ration shop dealers, a lot of doctors, a lot of lobbyists, a lot of forest-produce-traders, a lot of people who destroy/buy forests, a lot of journalists too, are going to fry in the eternal fires of hell. Or maybe, eternally starve.


Falstaff said...

On a topical note, presumably you've seen Michael Wines' piece in the NY Times Week in Review section (Aug 27th) about the ethics of journalists providing handouts / help to the subjects of their stories?

WillOTheWisp said...


The situation seems to be beyond redemption in MP anyways ( have lived there for some time and seen the villages etc. ). It is this budget issue and load management on existing infrastruture that needs some amplification. One would wish that there were some means of equally assessing the problems the Govt / Administration faces in meeting the challenges and highlighting those as well. It would be interesting to see the statistics related to staff / load and how do they manage.
The point is that it is rather easy to keep saying that the Govt does not do anything or does not do enough - but, for someone who has been in the Govt for some time, there are other sides to the story which rarely come to light ( for a variety of reasons ).

On an aside, I must confess to being biased towards the HINDU Group of Publications since they DO make some effort in projecting the Govt side of contentious issues as well ( something that I have found distinctly missing from other media ).

Balaji said...

I have also been told from my childhood that there is no greater sin than to waste food. I reckon this is a good example to illustrate it. It is so bad to hear of such news.

annie said...

falstaff: I have read that piece. And found that it took a rational view, and provided a logical, fair solution too.
willothewisp: if you read the frontline story, I have mentioned Shivpuri district, where changes are happening, thanks to the drive of the district administration. and I am grateful that they are.
balaji: it is. it is even worse to hear and ignore.

Vetrimagal said...

Maybe all those starving now were in the category you have listed in their earlier life?

Jokes apart, what can we do?. I find that those who feela re the ones who have no power money or pull. Those who have them are using it for their own purposes. What do we do?

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