Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Twin Story: Poverty & Hunger

In a recent email I received a few days ago, the following message circulated over continents.

Title: Food They Bought For One Week And The Number Of Persons In The Family


The Melander family of Bargteheide - 2 adults, 2 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

The Revis family of North Carolina - 2 adults, 2 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98

The Ukita family of Kodaira City - 2 adults, 2 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25

The Manzo family of Sicily - 2 adults, 3 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

The Casales family of Cuernavaca - 2 adults, 3 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna - 4 adults, 1 teenager
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

The Ahmed family of Cairo - 7 adults, 5 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

The Ayme family of Tingo - 4 adults, 5 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village - 7 adults, 6 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp - 3 adults, 3 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

And they of course forgot India. For that please refer to Amrita

The point I am trying to make here is poverty and hunger go hand in hand and just as poverty is created by lack of education and opportunity, hunger its true sister is just a shadow of poverty.

In his article Hunger: Old torments and new blunders in The Little Magazine (Volume II, issue 6) Prof Amartya Sen says, that if all the food in the world were to be stacked together in gunny bags, the breath of these bags would go around the world and up to the moon, six times over!

So where is the food. It is in the rich mans plate, the first world’s greed and the merchants hoarding to keep price up or in the sea to keep the hunger going in the world and the prices upwardly mobile. So only the rich can eat and the teaming millions die, for want of food, clothing, education, jobs and medical care.

In India, the story is not far from this truth. The teaming grotesquely obese populace live in disturbingly close distance from the ones who do not have two proper meals a day.

Yet, in India, there is something that perhaps is absent in many other parts in the world.

Even the poor have not lost their smile! Because, even the most desparate may crib and cry, curse the gods at one moment, but in the next they are still keeping the health and the smile on their faces, because they are not spiritually bankrupt as well.

And this makes us survive the worst yet.

Last, but not the least, in India we are facing another kind of poverty which can be defined in these words - Life is...'leaving the house in the morning for work, dressed in clothes that you bought on credit card, driving through the traffic in a car that you are still paying for, filling petrol that you cannot afford. All this to get to the job that you hate but need it so badly so that you can pay for the clothes, car, petro and the house that you leave empty the whole day"

Ref: Hunger: Old Torments, new blunders

MUST READ: On BBC High Food Costs A Global Burden

Also: Malnutrition Getting Worse In India

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