ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How to Feed a Billion?


With reference to the editorial, “Who Is Accountable for Starvation Deaths?” (EPW, 4 August 2018), I find the most striking feature of India to be its dichotomy: The country is perennially unable to feed its populace despite plenty of food stock. While hunger is defined as the body’s urge to replenish its food stores, starvation is the severe deficiency in caloric energy intake, and prolonged starvation makes a person vulnerable to curable ailments owing to severe malnutrition. These conditions ultimately lead to death by starvation, even though the pro­ximate cause seems to be a medical one. 

Famines occur swiftly and receive instant attention, but endemic hunger and starvation work silently and arouse our consciousness only when starvation deaths are reported in the media. Regrettably, bureaucrats—and sometimes even professionals—define starvation simply as “no intake of food.” If the post-mortem of the victim shows the presence of some grains of food in the stomach, the allegation of “death due to starvation” is vehemently denied and we are forced to accept it as common “disease-related mortality.” 

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Updated On : 20th Mar, 2019
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