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India blamed for food shortage, really?

by Sunil J

“Bush theory rubbished”, that was the first headline I saw when I went to get some tea today morning. Reading further, I quote from the Sunday Express, “US President George W Bush joined Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in blaming the rising prosperity of India’s huge middle class for the spiralling(sic) global food prices”. So it really wasn’t Bush’s theory. Give credit where it is due, won’t you?

But that incensed me, how could anyone blame us Indian middle class (and the Chinese)for making more money and spending it on food, does the rest of the world want us to be under nourished just because they didn’t want to spend more? I decided to dig deeper, and was I surprised!

What did he say?
He said there was scarcity in the world. He said there is no scarcity in USA, but it was costing Americans more to feed themselves, but Americans need to help those who go hungry.

Indian news media and politicians seem to have such an inferiority complex that when they hear someone mention India they start saying, “whatever it is, it wasn’t us”.

Those of us who felt so proud after watching this scene from Namaste London better think again.

If the 5000 odd newspapers are printing these half-truth then what is the use in promoting it. Newspapers on steroids, they don’t qualify for the Olympics. At least that is what I think.

Strange that politicians and newspapers go straight to controversy.

What irritated me were the few quotes below:
“America is by far the most generous nation when it comes to helping the hungry”.

Take about guilty conscience.

“No contest. We’re an unbelievably compassionate nation.”
Reminds me of those movies where the hypnotist says something repeatedly to stamp it into the brain.

“So, for example, just as an interesting thought for you, there are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That’s bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population. And when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food. And so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up.”
If you didn’t notice Mr. Bush, we have a different food culture. Most Indian’s eat rice, especially in the South and in the North people usually eat wheat, and it is mostly unprocessed, so it is not as if we are eating a lot. We are facing shortage of food and so we are not exporting anything until we are sure there is enough for us.

What irritates me the most and what the newspapers should have pointed out is the fact that oil prices have soared to over $100 a barrel, which is one of the reason why the food is costlier. If anyone thinks, it is not due to the Iraq invasion, then that person living on a different planet. He invaded Iraq for oil, don’t get me started on weapons of mass destruction, and now he wants everyone to switch to ethanol.

“Now let me talk about price. As you know, I’m a ethanol person. I believe, as I told you, the interim step to getting away from oil and gas is to go to ethanol and battery technologies for your automobiles. I think it makes sense for America to be growing energy. I’d much rather be paying our farmers when we go to the gas pump than paying some nation that may not like us.”
Bravo Mr Bush, you proved why you are such a great politician, endorsing ethanol, so that your invasion of Iraq in search of WMD sounds credible.

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silverine May 13, 2008 - 5:16 AM

Has anyone here questioned the role of the media here? A responsible newspaper would have reported this matter of factly. But most news factories made a huge issue of the same with both eyes to circulation figures. It is becoming a habit for some people to read news from many sources before coming to a conclusion while the majority just subscribes to their news factory's views!

Sunil Joseph May 13, 2008 - 11:20 AM

Exactly my point.. unfortunately, US had to 'ask' India to take the comment positively. That was a moment of national shame. The blame falls squarely on the media and politicians. Politicians for using the silliest excuse to bicker against each other and media for supporting short sighted political agenda to increase the bottom line and to enforce their political view on the common man.


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