Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Friday, October 26, 2007


the bse sensex is a short form of 'sensitive index'.

sensitive, my foot - says sainath in this typically scathing, sarcastic op-ed in the hindu today 26 oct 07. this is in synchrony with his earlier connection of the post-tsunami reaction in the stock markets.
The day the Sensex crossed 19,000, India clocked in 94th in the Global Hunger Index — behind Ethiopia...That’s out of 118 countries...Pakistan ranks ahead of us, too, at 88. China logs in at 47. All our South Asian neighbours do better than us on this index, except Bangladesh.
and here the classic sainath 'sarcatwistic'
None of the countries boasts an economy growing at 9 per cent a year.
and when the mega sensex fall happened and froze trading for an hour
It took minutes for the top guns to swing into action. Fingers were in every dyke. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram lost no time in reassuring worried investors via the media...What stood out, of course, was the swiftness of both government and media response to each twitch in the index.
No Minister came forward to calm the nation when India hit the 94th rank in the Global Hunger Index...You’d think it was an issue worth some attention. But it was hard to find panels debating this on television. Or any editorials in the newspapers doing the same. No Ministers or top babus soothing the nerves of the hungry.
and we top other dubious lists with aplomb
The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organisation in ... Its State of Food Insecurity in the World report confirmed yet again that we have the largest number of undernourished people in the globe.
The 2004 edition of the report had shown that India had added more people to the “newly hungry” in the planet than the rest of the world together. ...Between the years 1995-97 and 2000-02, hunger grew in India at a time when it fell in Ethiopia.
Some 536,000 women died in childbirth in 2005. Of these, every fifth one of them, at least, was an Indian. That is, 117,000 of them.
and why do things look likely to worsen
Health costs still mount. They push people into debt even faster than before. A study done for the WHO in six Indian States found that 16 per cent of households it looked at were pushed below the poverty line by heavy medical costs.
Our answer to this has been: more of the same. More privatisation. Less and less of a public health system.

and he comes down heavily on his family of media-folks
In the world of the media, though, only one index matters: the Sensex. Watching which has spawned a whole little industry in itself. The numbers who pronounce on and debate it (in the media, anyway) are impressive. The oracles reading equity’s entrails for omens.
note to readers
reading sainath could be disheartening. the viruses of cynicism and apathy claw away at hope and aspirations.
- recall the battle he and his ilk face just getting these messages into mainstream.
- recall the immense personal strength and emotional courage to do this day in and day out.
- recall that these messages are there to shake the rust
- recall that these are just minor skirmishes being lost, the battles/wars are there to be won
- recall that 'we can help'

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