Low-income demonstrators in Amritsar on May 7,2012. (Photo Narinder Nanu/AFP/GettyImages)
This August 15, India will celebrate its 65th year of independence from the British Empire. Since then, the country has seen some improvements in the livelihoods of the poorest of its citizens. However, India still has some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world.
India has lately become known for its high tech, call center, Bollywood movie and car industries. It draws the likes of Lindsay Lohan and used to draw the Beatles to its shores. If there is some sort of thing that requires brain power, it has been outsourced to India. Only a tiny fraction of the Indian population can have the opportunities that come form working in these well-paying jobs. The rest of the millions toil away in poverty, often unable to feed themselves on a regular basis. Because of not being able to feed themselves, they will never have the opportunity to seek out jobs that India is now famous. In fact, they will likely suffer another generation of stunted growth and development.
My graduate work at Cornell University was on the right to food, so this topic is of special interest to me. So, what prompted me to write this blog note that one of the largest English-language newspapers in India, the Hindustan Times is running a series on hunger in India called the “Hunger Project“. The aim is to use the investigative resources of the paper to highlight what is fast becoming a hidden problem especially in the elite and rarefied English language world that the media occupy. There are problems with the articles so far because they are attempting to shock the reader with specific cases of severe malnourishment. But, it goes so much deeper than specific cases of hunger when one-half of all children in India have some form of micronutrient deficiency stemming not from diet choices made in the country, but instead from a lack of access to safe and nutritious food. This lack of access to food is, according to General Comment 12 of the United Nations is a human rights violation. If you want to learn more of hunger worldwide, visit IFPRI or Grain, both non-governmental organizations doing great work around the right to food and its complex politics.
Oh, the title of this blog post refers to the pretty famous Bruce Springsteen song of that name. I’m pretty sure that Springsteen was not referring to global hunger in this song, but I’m sure that he’d be supportive of ending hunger.
Action for Human Rights. Hope for Humanity.