Heated discussions are on in the Parliament of our country, News Channels are having serious debates, Newspapers are publishing News almost everyday on this topic; meanwhile millions of tons of food grains are rotting in open spaces and poor people of India are watching haplessly, not knowing, not understanding why is the fate of those rats and birds better than theirs, who are devouring the gunny bags full of the harvest of hard work of another poor farmer, while they can only hope and pray to get their next meal somehow.
I was thinking of not writing about this issue on my blog, but now it is, kind of getting too much. While Food Corporation of India (FCI) does not have enough space to store these grains and therefore huge amount of food grains are lying in open, clearly indicating that our granaries are already overflowing with them. see link
But, on the other hand, a country which is still poor, with a large proportion of people still living Below Poverty Line (BPL), is it justified to get the food rot and let the people die of hunger? In fact, the number of poor people in 08 Indian States are more than 26 poorest African countries, as per the research conducted by Oxford University with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The stats do not affect you and me, as we are getting enough to eat, but to the man on the road, it is a big question that from where will he get his next meal, for himself and his family??
On this issue, there should have been a clear consensus with everyone agreeing that instead of food getting decomposed and spoilt completely, let us give it away to poor people for free. This is exactly what Indian Supreme Court said to the Food Ministry, but ironically, the idea was brushed aside as being mere "suggestion" by the Court! A (furious) Apex Court has now told that this is as ORDER and not a SUGGESTION. Still there is dilly dallying from the Govt side.
It is also a notable fact that the Public Distribution System (PDS) of the country, ie, the subsidised way in which the Govt ensures every poor man gets food, is poisoned by corruption and the food grains end up in the open market, instead of the platter of the poor man.
I really do not have any comments on this. I am just saying what has happened in last few days.
All this time, when I was reading and writing about this issue, only one thought kept floating in my mind, that in middle class families of any religion, or caste or region, food is always respected. We are taught that we should not show disrespect to food, and be thankful to God that He gave us food to eat (remember the little prayer we used to say before meals in schools "Thank you God for the food we eat...."?).
And always, in every household, methods were devised to use the leftovers. Some families like to eat the leftover food, either in the same way or in a modified way. (example, leftover Dal would be kneaded in flour to make crisp chapattis full of protein). In certain other families, leftover food may not be relished, so is definitely given away to the maid servant or sometimes to a beggar. But, food is mostly never thrown in dust bin. Its considered better for some human being or animal to consume it instead of merely throwing it ways.Also, in my family, my mother used to make the first chapatti of the day for some cow to eat it, believing that it brings prosperity to the household.
If only this much common sense was used, only this much respect for food was shown, only this much of sanskar was inherited by a few people in command, no poor man would sleep empty stomached, no pregnant woman would die due to weakness and no child would be malnourished. If only this much was remembered.....