KAUM-IE: What's this girl doing? Not watching the Commonwealth Games on television? Well, if she is not, then she must not be a patriot. Or worse, she must be a Commie.
For those still high after the "spectacular" Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, there's something that ought to bring them down a peg or two — India is Number One in the world in terms of the number of hungry people. And that would be 237.7 million at the last count.
Proud moment for us all. No?
The sobering number comes from The State of Food Insecurity in the World report released by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Wednesday. The study is a collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP). And it is quite biased too. All it does is look at 22 countries that are suffering chronic hunger or difficulty finding enough to eat as a result of protracted food crises. Their total is only 166 million.
This is one area where India is way ahead of its arch rival China. The latter is no match at all. The number of undernourished people in that country is only 130.4 million. That's almost half, for heaven's sake. Proud moment for all Indians — we beat those Chinkies half way down.
About 21 per cent of India's population is undernourished. Looking at it in a different way, that would mean one out of every five. And here too we beat China handsomely. The percentage of China's undernourished segment is only 10 percent of its population. Whether India shines or whines, who cares. We are ahead of China. And that's what that matters.
India is also great in many other ways. This 237.7 million count is more than the total population of so many countries — including Brazil.
One also understands that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is doing its best in this regard. Like letting foodgrains rot in Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, for instance. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's heart beats and bleeds for all the right kind of people — those who are not bloody poor.
To wind up, India also happens to be home to 28 per cent of the world's total undernourished population of 847.5 million. The poor and hungry are of no use. They only make good subject material for Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.
Enough of disquieting figures there. Let's get back to the Games. More proud moments for us waiting there.