Friday, February 02, 2007

Hunger pangs

-By Swetha Amit
Can we imagine a day without those mouthwatering cereals, aaloo parathas or a buttered toast? Can we visualize the absence of dal-roti, sabzi-chawal, samosas, piping hot jalebis and the gallons of milk? Can we foresee a life without these delicacies that cater to our taste buds, for even a single moment?

Skipping one meal a day leaves us feeling irritable and cranky. Complaints about headaches and low energy levels are often voiced out by us. The human body nudges us for its regular supply of vitamins and minerals to regulate its daily functioning. Not a single day can go by without such nutrients, can it? Enhancement of a healthy living has emphasized the concept of eating the right food from our birth. Importance of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner has been recognized, in order to stay healthy. This knowledge has precipitated the duo- parental roles of being bread winners in certain segments of the society. Providing their children with 3 square meals, for physical and mental strength, has become the prime goal for couples.

However, there lurks a world of drought -stricken lands in certain corners of our subcontinent. The minimum availability of a drop of water or a morsel of rice depicts the gloom cast over these remote places. A conspicuous contrast exists between our bright healthy world and the dark, unhealthy one. Some states of this nation suffer from the extreme case of hunger pangs.

The condition of ‘Malnutrition’ is seen to be increasing at an alarming rate across India. Several parts of Orissa, Maharashtra and other states are engulfed with the horror of this dreadful condition. The plight of these worn out and unhappy faces are enough to cause ones heart to bleed The loud cries of young infants and toddlers seem to yearn helplessly for a drop of milk. It is indeed a pitiable condition to see such innocent faces suffer from pain and anguish. It is indeed appalling to see mothers look on with distress, unable to provide their new born with even the basic requirement.

Its grieves one to see the staple diet of such habitants being that of a hard roti and one chilli.This reflects the negligence of the rural areas, where the minimum requirement of children up to the age of 8 is about 300 calories. It’s sad to see the death rates rising at an alarming rate due to hunger and severe drought conditions. It’s shocking to look at young ones who are supposed to be the epitome of health and well being, portray a pale, starved look. Shrinking of muscles due to continuous starvation leads to the diminishing activity of the brain. Cases of families losing their children, due to this problem are growing in numbers. Unemployment, poverty and the unhygienic conditions worsen the situation. This ultimately leads to the gradual diminishing of our human clan in these parts. To worsen matters, lump sum bribes are demanded out of these poor dwellers. The food sent to them apparently fails to reach them. It is reported that these meals apparently get stolen for fulfilling the selfish motives of the black market. Mismanagement of the various schemes results in an absence of accomplishment of such tasks. The angry cries of these helpless folk don’t seem to reach the right ears.

Is it fair to see such misery prevailing in our mother land? Are we doing anything to save our fellow humans from drowning into the pool of hunger?

Entertainment, glamour and page 3 labels are seen to dominate the leading news channels. Where does it leave room for portraying the plight of these communities? A film release is given a royal treatment in the headlines. The harsh reality escapes the minds of the audience who take a flight into the make believe world of films. Awareness could come about if half the publicity and hype is given to such issues.

Today is the era of increasing incomes and higher slab brackets for payable tax to the government. Yet it’s a shame to see such hard earned money go into the corrupt world of unlawful practices. If only such monetary gains are used to resolve these grief stricken problems, will India become what it was before the foreign invasion. It was a land of riches and prosperity with not only with fodder in the fertile soil; but also wealthy in terms of cultural values and heritage.

Inspite of the upcoming growing economic trends and foreign investments, some parts of India still remain poor. So the next time we waste food, or grumble about "bad" lunch or dinner, lets think of these hapless have-nots who struggle to have even one square meal a day. Let us contribute in our own little way to build a healthy nation.
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