Wednesday, June 16, 2004


So what if five persons die of starvation in backwaters of West Bengal in India? Does it really matter? One should object to using the word 'starvation'. The news is an embarassment for all of us in these times when people don't like to hear such words as hunger or starvation!

It's indeed amazing how such a news had a place on the front page of a daily. Very few people have heard of Amlashole - a remote village down in west Midnapur. Admittedly, it's without any cultivable land, potable water, electricity or any health facilities. Only forest. But who do you know lives there? A tribal population that has no education or any touch with the civilization. Who has time to bother about them?

Bengal's Marxist Chief Minister -may he live long --says that starvaion-like conditions prevail in the area, but it's not really what you can call starvation death. His minister in charge of tribal welfare, himself a tribal, adds that two among the five died of jaundice. About three other cases, he fails to ascertain the cause. He's not a doctor, he rightly argues.

Newspapers say that one crore was allocated for the development of the area. The administration spent the money for promoting the tourism in this area. It bought generators and makeshift tents for the tourists. Anything wrong with it? Well, this is how we all boost up the local economy these days.

You are right:starvation is awful. But don't let it get on your nerves. Nobody strves these days. It's a constuct of the media. Believe it.


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