Tag Archives: poverty alleviation

Misplaced compassion in a starving nation.

Place: Connaught Place, New Delhi. Time: Early morning hours. On my way to board the airport express metro train (revered as a top class facility in the world) I was caught by a pleasant surprise when I witnessed a middle-aged lady tossing several kilo of grains on the pavement for birds. This pleasure was short-lived as my eyes stumbled on a starving and shivering man on the other side of the same road. The elevated metro line gave me a snapshot of my historical national capital, rivalling the status of other mega cities, with “a large baggage” of its religiously inclined middle and lower class population surviving hand to mouth.

With 15.2% of its population undernourished, and 194.6 million people going hungry everyday, India has the largest undernourished and hungry population in the world

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Image: Food loss and waste (tons/year on a log scale) generated from human food production.Screenshot from: Ecological and evolutionary implications of food subsidies from humans, Ecology Letters, (2013) 16: 1501-1514 

The same nation feeds several metric tonnes of grains, fruits, vegetables, etc. to feral animals in its cities, towns, and villages. Unlike the West, animal feeding in India is largely motivated by religious purposes, aimed to seek after life benefits, or to request relief from sins. An age-old compassion for animals (as forms of incarnations or vehicles of Hindu Gods), which essentially has aided the conservation success in a billion strong nation, shall have some serious considerations over the economic and ecological repercussions of many food offerings to our animal friends . Few snippets: Continue reading Misplaced compassion in a starving nation.