“…..the dollops of ghee trickling down a tiny mountain of long grained pure white basmati…..sunflower yellow granules of “channa dal” with immaculate shavings of coconut flakes…..the succulent pieces of “bhapa hilsa” in pungent mustard sauce with slit green chillies….delectable chunks of cinnamon laced mutton curry…..crispy augerbines…”baigan bhaja”…..”potolor dalna”…stuffed pointed gourd cooked in a cashewnut – tomato gravy….cottage cheese dumplings in sugar syrup…the ubiquitous “rosogolla” with sweetened curd…….guddi was probably breathless for a reason other than her usual daily survival tactics…..the first culinary feast of her eleven year old life…..at her age the ragpicker guddi’s frail, nutrient deficient bony structure shadowed by wisps of a limp mass of tangled hair gave her a younger look and feel….the faded parachute dress with its shredded edges swirled with a new found confidence of a satiated stomach and soul…..only her socket deepened eyes hovered hungrily across the horizon as guddi silently prayed for another death……”
Guddi is probably one in 195.9 million people who go hungry everyday in India as reported by a State Agency…and the same report states that 1/3 of the total available food is wasted at different levels due to reasons which are yet to be considered. Death feasts, extravagant wedding feasts and other food related social and cultural feats being number one on the list contributing to food wastage which on a daily basis is considered by many Indians as a normal phenomenon!!
India’s ranking on the Global Hunger Index is 97 out of 119 countries and since 2008 it has just climbed 5 places from the 102nd position. The irony however lies in the fact that hunger persists to be a problem in India though India is no longer considered a poor country…in fact its been a country having some of the richest individuals who have been featured in the Forbes list! The FAO report titled, “ The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2018” states that 14.8% of the population is undernourished in India and that women account for 60% of the hungry population. It further states that 3000 children die everyday from hunger and 30% of the new borns die due to lack of nutrition….factors showing the dire living conditions of the country…purposefully ignored by the government and the ones running the same. We as a nation have been electing leaders based on the massive infrastructure developments that they have been showcasing…the longest bridges in the world…of a fast moving life on those seven laned highways…bullet trains…aerodromes…you name them and they have it…but we as a nation have completely failed to address issues of the human kind…there is certainly no dirth of government policies and programmes to address these hunger pangs of the larger population group of the country, it’s only that these get trodden under the heavyweights of political interference and inefficient governance. Culture based biases and misplaced resources have been the biggest reasons for a country like India to continue reeling under the hunger crisis in spite of the GDP of the country increasing exponentially.
Many private organisations like Care India, Akshaya Patra, Fight Hunger Foundation, Feeding India, No Hungry Child, Skip a Meal are some doing great work towards eradication of the hunger issues in the country…however India with its growing population and the lack of basic resources needs more than just a handful of people working for this cause..India needs a government which is efficient to utilise the allocated funds to actually address the issues at the grassroots level and more than that it needs the other half of the population to inculcate a bit of awareness about the indulgence in their lives which are leading to food wastage and which can be curbed if they wish to…India as a nation would be proud the day Guddi stops wishing for another death to satiate her hunger pangs…
P.S : As per the Global Hunger Index, India’s neighbours like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China ranked at 72, 84, 88 and 29 respectively are doing much better than India which is placed at 97!