Contemporary India is facing a unique crisis all along the food spectrum. An Agrarian crisis driving farmer suicides at one end, dismal numbers of nutritionally deprived and sickly children at the other and a problem of obesity amongst the affluent few in between.
This inhuman paradox demands a serious review of the direction set by our policy makers. But when denial is the norm, serious issues get unreported and solutions are hard to come by.
“Two decades ago, as a student of medicine, I was perplexed to know of an unwritten tradition among doctors of Forensic Science desperate to save the face of the government and to prevent a revolt, not to report cases of starvation deaths in India.”
It is in this context that I am surprised with the Prime Minister’s public acceptance of shame by unparalleled levels of malnutrition among children in our country. It is not a coincidence that children among Muslims, Dalits and Tribal communities suffer the most. Programs meant for children are not only insufficiently imagined but are deliberately run down through Market dogma and are ridden with corruption.
The progress of a nation can only be measured by the status of its children. At a time when irrational reasons are invented to close down schools and downgrade hospitals, horrendous poverty indices restrict PDS entitlements and fertile lands are transferred to private industries, the creation of opportunities for the realisation of childrens’ rights is impossible. Malnutrition is not a health issue; it is an issue of Social Justice, Social Security, Food sovereignty, Redistribution and Governance. We seem to have failed on all these fronts and the time for change is long due. There should be a genuine recognition of these fundamental facts and an immediate course correction done before the hunger for a revolution of the deprived masses takes over.