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  • 5. PREFACE“Now the trumpet summons us again……a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out,rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’s struggle against the commonenemies of man : tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself. Can we forgeagainst these enemies a grand and global alliance, north and south, east andwest, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind?”-President J F Kennedy, USA, in an address to the nationOur world’s future hangs precariously…lopsided development and rampantconsumerism have widened the chasm between the world’s rich and theworld’s poor. We have witnessed a gross violation of human rights acrossthe globe. Millions of the world’s children still cling precariously to life.About 40,000 of them die every day due to preventable causes-hunger,disease, war and neglect. Women in the developing world face grossinequities in food and nutrition, income (s) and opportunity. Terrorism isdevastating large parts of the globe. Millions of the world’s people lackaccess to safe drinking water, decent health care, shelter, education, andmeans of communication and jobs. The task of ending world hungerremains formidable. Increasing population pressures, deforestation anddesertification are eating away our precious natural resources. Manycountries face the ‘darker’ side of development, “debt”. War and diseaseare forcing millions to flee their home countries. And, indigenous peopleall over the world are becoming fast endangered under pressure from theforces of global expansion. Also, there are those innocent people being 5
  • 6. sexually abused, raped or mutilated (as in war). Drugs, alcohol, poormental health, juvenile delinquency and HIV/AIDS are taking a heavy toll.Pollution is now a major health hazard. The ozone layers are gettingdepleted. And the Earth is warming up…Numbers do not matter. We are too much preoccupied with them. What weneed today is sound vision coupled with forceful, efficient and effectivepolicies and a firm commitment to the eradication of poverty and itsattendant ills. The time has come in the history of nations to liberate theirpeoples from centuries of illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, disease and war.For instance, a part of global spending on arms can be diverted to the socialsector. Why at all spend so much? I understand there are countries that donot have a defense budget. This book seeks to address the vision requiredtowards effective global change by tracing world problems, topic by topic.This book is not a continuous flow, but a collection of random thoughts,quotations and extracts. Hope the book makes for good reading.I do not understand much of fiscal policy or bulls and bears. What I dounderstand is the language of the poor and the marginalized, the languageof the harsh realities of staying alive till the next moment, the next day, thelanguage of survival…Change and love are the most important themes of the book.“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleepAnd miles to go before I sleep…” 6
  • 7. -Robert FrostIndeed what I am trying to convey is a message: a message of peace of mydreams of utopia (or near utopia) on Planet Earth. I firmly believe that thebest way to serve the poor and the underprivileged is to walk hand in handwith them and allow God to show you the way. Each one of us has apromise to keep. If each one kept his/her promise, the world would surelybe a much better place to live in.It is not just one planet; it is one home, one family. Is this utopia?Let us challenge our limits in our endeavor (however small it may be) tobring about a happier world.Let us help shift development attention away from economic growth as themain index of progress to look more closely to what is happening to thepoor in terms of equitable distribution of income.One’s world could be big or small, depending on opportunities andcircumstances. Therefore, we should always make an effort towardsimprovement and change in our own as well as in the lives of others.I was only…. looking at the world through my eyes. So they say: “tinydrops of water make up the ocean”. Only when we work together hand inhand can we create a better world to live in.Man’s quest for the unknown, his thirst for knowledge will never end, andbelieve me, factors such as burgeoning populations and a decrease in arablelands, the absence of peace and prevalent poverty and civil strife may forceman to settle in space or inside peace stations.This may be a dream. We know of the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd worlds. Verysoon we will have a zeroth world (most advanced) characterized by highly 7
  • 8. sophisticated scienti-technogenic people residing in space – possibly on themoon or on Mars? Will these be peace stations? The emphasis on zero inthe 1st chapter highlights the stark contrast between the 0th world and frozenpoverty. The 0th world may be characterized by hi-fidelity cities, acomplete disregard for the health of (the) earth, suave cyber – commoners,cyber-laws, cyber-vehicles, cyber-parliaments, cyber-shanty towns etc. Iseek to add here that settling in the distant future may ease populationpressures on land, and that would be a tremendous achievement, but newproblems may arise!!!The need of the hour is an intelligent humano-cryogenic system to awakenman out of his deep slumber and work towards solutions to problemspersisting on Planet Earth.And so they all sing…“It is better to light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark...…All you need is a tiny spark…And the world will be free…”Yes, we need to act urgently on issues. Some of the most pressing issuesare global warming, the extinction of species around the globe, massivepopulation growth, poverty and hunger and human rights abuses. The poorare often reduced to development reports and socio-economic statistics.Scant attention is given to the harsh realities of survival in their daily lives,be they are lying below the poverty line, or be they lie displaced, or be theystand infected with TB/HIV/AIDS.The book begins with a surrealistic view of hope and contradiction…. anote of pathos.… 8
  • 9. In the end, it offers hope for me, hope for you, and hope for all of us, ahope for mankind….It may be fair to conclude however that as long as there are people, therewill be problems. We can however, minimize the extent and enormity ofsuch problems (and alleviate them all together) by better investing in ourchildren (primarily in the form of love, security and education), particularlychildren in the rural areas and /or in unfortunate circumstances (children ondope, AIDS orphans, young alcoholics, juvenile delinquents, minoroffenders, street children, child labor etc).I have faced a lot of pain in my life so far. And I have chosen to expressmyself particularly my anger and discontentment at the system. I could alsofeel the ferment within me, as I wrote this book. The ferment to comeforward and work towards the health of human beings and that of theenvironment.I confess however that I cannot provide solutions. In fact, at places, theideas and thoughts may appear to be contradictory. Besides, solutions comethrough work and experimentation. It is to the poor, the most unfortunate,the most wretched and the ugliest on the planet that I dedicate my work.Also to those working to make the world a better place to live in…Talking of globalization with a human face (strengthening of the ‘HIPCInitiative’ for instance), let us start with a vision of a just and sustainableworld. Let us relegate poverty to history! Let us work towards a future thatis economically, socially and ecologically viable for all, in other words“sustainable”. People, who matter, need to have a closer look at realitiesand make targets, which can not only be met but can also be sustained overa period. 9
  • 10. Let us work towards a more sustainable future-Let us work together towards a new global order-Let it truly be ‘the End of Inequality’! 10
  • 11. CHAPTER 1AIf I can stop one heart from breaking,I shall not live in vain.If I can ease one life from aching, orCool one pain,Or help one fainting robin into his nest again,I shall not live in vain.- Emily DickinsonI fall at the feet of the Lord almighty that he may protect the planet fromultimate destruction and send some ‘divine Martians’ to protect every childand every flower and every bird and every forest and every other creationof God from being abused.It may seem man is trying to escape to Mars with all this applied spaceresearch because he may have discovered there is no peace left on earthafter Nazism, Fascism, the Cold War, and Bosnia and so on. If man startsbehaving like God, God will remind him that as a human being, he hascertain responsibilities left on Earth. At this moment, a child may be cryingout of hunger, another may be getting sexually abused (or, mutilated by alandmine), a man may be dying of cold on the streets at night, and a bird oran animal may be facing extinction.At the turn of the century, man must start telling himself, telling his“atman” (soul) that there is plenty of work left to do, that he must comedown to Earth, and for once, stop running after the Martians and theVenetians. 11
  • 12. CHAPTER 1B “TOWARDS A HAPPIER WORLD, OUR MISSION SHOULD BEGIN NOW”The year : 1999 Anno Domini following the birth of Christ.The place : Cape Canaveral, the United States of America.The event : preparing for the launch of a rocket into outer space.The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) testing allcontrols and communication instruments, pressure testing the combustionchamber, testing the nozzle, testing the fuel.Time: 10: 15: 03 GMT.At this particular moment, something else is happening in another part ofthe world, called the Third world, (may be), in Brazil or in India, God istrying to touch a trash can, yes, a little flower called a child is pickingsubsistence (“food for thought”) out of a trash can (actually, a garbagedump). And God wanted to warn policy-makers and environmentalists ofthe perils of neglecting a child (hunger / malnutrition) and neglecting theenvironment, our beloved eco-system. Yes, the policy-makers andenvironmentalists were sleeping and the two superpowers were vying witheach other trying to build superior space shuttles. One underwent a series ofreforms with Glasnost and Perestroika…as also a fall of its system(Communism) …another power (may be star power) rose out of the ashes 12
  • 13. after President Harry Truman and Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yes, the landof Zen Buddhism, ‘Shinto’ and beautiful Mt.Fujiyama and the Kamakura isnow busy building fashionable cars, more comfortable cars. Pray, howmuch more comfort do we need? When, at this moment, a child is beingborn as a cretin because his mother’s diet lacked iodine.[I must say that discrimination begins before birth]Did the almighty want this kind of a world?He wanted peace.Day by day, wars are increasing.Have computers, technology been able to bring peace, solved poverty?Has science been able to bring peace, solve poverty? (I am, however,gradually coming to believe, that science and technology, well applied, cancure much of what ails mankind).What is mankind coming to?It may sound futuristic, but man is trying to act like the extra-terrestrial,create Jurassic parks around himself. Man wants peace, “shanti”. Man maybe dreaming of peace, actually dinosaurs, which means life in the jungles(yes, man probably thinks he was at peace in the jungles, the beginning ofcivilization, so may be he wants to go back to the jungles).There was peace in the past. There will hopefully be peace in the future,and the present is in turmoil. Before we discuss this turmoil, let us observea moment of silence:“Om shanti” (a salutation to the concept of peace) 13
  • 14. “Silent night, holy night” (a salutation to Lord Jesus, Christ the Lord)“Buddham Sharanam Gachhami” (a salutation to Lord Buddha, the princewho renounced the world, let us put ourselves under his protection) andpray:• for those millions of children who have been traumatized by mass violence (orphans of war, never again!) e.g. in Rwanda, Bosnia-• for those suffering from the after-effects of the holocaust at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (never again should that happen!!)-• for those in Asia, Africa and in the rest of the world suffering from (famine), disease and hunger-• for those languishing under poverty-• for those sleeping on the streets because of lack of adequate housing-• for the rights of indigenous peoples-• for those displaced by multinational projects-• for those displaced from their homes as a result of civil war and social disintegration-• for every plant, every flower, for every tree-• for every animal or bird on the verge of extinction-• for every man or every woman who has faced cross-cultural friction, community friction-• for global refugees- 14
  • 15. • for every man or woman or child who has been denied the right to read and write-• for all those who have suffered abuse of some kind-We break our silence, our peace, our “sadhana” (meditation)Time: 10: 20: 23 GMT.The space rocket has taken off from the blast site, planning to go into acondition of zero gravity, weightlessness, perhaps carrying a cat (first therewas a dog called “Laika” in outer space). At this moment, a man in acountry called Nepal in the trans-Himalayas is freezing in the cold on thestreets at night, when the temperatures have fallen below zero. (Be they inNepal or in America, imagine those having no homes to go back to?) Atthis time, in the Northern Hemisphere (God, why on Earth is everything onthis planet so divided-including the Hemispheres?) lakes have frozen at theNorth Pole. So a man has frozen on the streets when temperatures havefallen below zero? Yes and the Earth is probably heading for frozen peace.So, let me tell myself, my heart melts for a child (and it will any way, if notfor other reasons, under present conditions of global warming!).So, let me sacrifice my ice cream for a hungry child on the street. Let melook into my mirage and try to create an oasis in a desert.Let me, for once, sacrifice my meal for a hungry child, and try to work togreen a desert.Silence peaceOm shanti a salutation to peacePeace peace 15
  • 16. Commonality togethernessAt this moment, antiballistic missiles are getting fired!!!!!Think for a moment, while I pay homage to an American called Carl Saganof “Cosmos” fame and a Frenchman called Jean Jacques Cousteau of“Secrets of the Sea” fame. With or without heresy, (rememberCopernicus?), once again, take the plunge. Get a little deeper into someoneelse’s world. I know that in 1960, bathyscaphe Trieste reached the deepestocean bed- the Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean. But you do not have tobuild a “more fashionable” bathyscaphe. I have better things to do-attending a “glamorous” ‘international convention’ where policy-makers(and I am one of them) will discuss???????, the three most unfinished taskson the global agenda-PovertyThe environmentAndGlobal human securityAnd ways to manage the events!!!!!!! 16
  • 17. CHAPTER 2AWe are facing a number of threats to the welfare of the world’s population… some arise from natural causes such as droughts, floods, locusts, cropfailure and disease…. also, trading rivalries between nations, felt injustices,narcotics, AIDS…. authoritarian governments… war… poverty (of food,shelter, health care, work & education, lack of clean drinking water), weare living in a dangerous world, of human rights abuses, man’s lack ofhumanity to man… a grim picture… refugees… war – torn countries inwhich both young and old suffer…a burgeoning population threatening lifeitself… too many of the world’s children still cling hazardously to theirlives…natural disasters… unemployment… crime and extremism (also,commonly known as guerrilla warfare) … racism, sexism… religion… weare living in a world full of inequalities… gender inequality… a straightdemarcation between the “North” and the poor “South,” where peoplecontinue battling hunger, ignorance and disease… to make better lives, wehave to relieve the immediate suffering of people in the developingcountries, and to help them raise their standards of living by their ownefforts. imbalance in our world, stems from, among other things,unpredictable climate, poor soil, natural disasters (e.g. floods, earthquakes,sudden drought), insufficient natural resources… also, heavy spending onarms instead of on essentials… in many of the world’s largest cities (andremote rural and tribal hamlets), people fight for survival (picking out“food” from garbage dumps)… there is extreme malnutrition... infant andmaternal mortality… there is a need to close the gap… and then, there is,the problem of “debt”… we are examining the darker side ofdevelopment…. and there arises a need to re-orient national andinternational plans and policies in favor of the poor… 17
  • 18. The UN has brought relief from under-nourishment to many millions (inthe Third World) and saved many more, by providing vaccination andtreatment… from disease… has delivered many small farmers indeveloping countries from struggling on poor or unirrigated soil… ourworld is changing… we have achieved a victory over smallpox…newvistas of communication have opened up… the risk of nuclear war hasreceded… and yet, a vast number of people are living in inhuman anddegrading conditions… we face environmental pollution, extinction ofanimal and bird species and most importantly, depletion of our ozone layerand global warming...Talk cannot prevent a child from dying… cannot produce enough food fora single family… or sink wells or dig irrigation channels to produce bettercrops… it cannot provide medical care for families that have never seen adoctor in their lives… all “unfinished business of our ‘beloved” planet.. Somuch to be done, so much that can be done… Its high time we begun…..“Western civilization has made and continues to make great progress inmaterial development, but if techniques can also be created for achievinginternal happiness, modern society will become far more advanced.Without such internal growth, we become enslaved to external things, andeven though called humans, we become like parts of a machine.”- The Dalai LamaIt is not just one planetIt is one homeOne family. 18
  • 19. “What the world has to eradicate is fear and ignorance.”- Jan MasarykAlthough communications have improved,… Have the Third World’s poor gained…?Let us challenge our limits in our endeavor to bring about a happier world.“Just begin, one, one, one… begin at home by saying something good toyour child…. begin by helping someone in need in your community … dosomething beautiful for God.”- Mother TeresaLet us eat the food, learn to weave a mat or make a gesture of respect … orrecite a charm…. during our interactions with people from other cultures.“Humanity is indeed a family… I hope that people all over the world….will realize they share similar experiences. Then they might think, this isour world, we better take care of it.”- Ken HeymanThe gap in living standards between the few with money, houses, or goodjobs, and the many that have none of those good things, is wide. It may bewidely resented…. 19
  • 20. Some are out of the era, some still in it… of cannibalism, headhunting,infanticide, incest… the rest of the world has moved ahead. What ananomaly?Poverty…. racism, unemployment, gender inequality, employment ofchildren in factories… street children…. illiteracy…. ignorance…. a lotmore to achieve…“Many of us have fixed ideas… we should talk together with open mindsand grasp anything which is a step forward; not hold out for our particular,ultimate panacea…”- Eleanor Roosevelt, from a speech at a meeting of women’s clubs, 1925The task of ending world hunger remains formidable. There is such a big,muddled world, so much to be done, so much that can be done… inlearning to care, in thinking of hunger not as an abstraction but as oneempty stomach, in having a hospitable mind, open like a window tocurrents of air and to light from all sides.- Anonymous“It is a pity that operations to find homes for millions of refugees, to bringrapid emergency relief after grave natural disasters in any part of the globe,to wipe out smallpox from the earth, to stamp out the drug trade all over theworld, to help organize family planning activities among much of theworld’s population, to organize the world’s meteorological services, orabolish pollution in the oceans, to mention only a few, are not so well 20
  • 21. known to the general public as the angry speeches hurled across thehorseshoe table of the Security Council chamber.”- A former British UN delegate.“Corruption is anti-national, anti-poor and anti-economic development”,said the Central Vigilance Commissioner (India) in his letter of June 23,2000 to all government departments. The ‘Corruption Perception Index’released by the Berlin-based Transparency International in September 2000places India in the 69th position in a list of 90 countries. India’sperformance is worse than that of China, Ghana, Mauritius and SouthAfrica.The UNDP report on human development, 1999 on South Asia, tells us thatif corruption in India goes down to that of Scandinavian countries, the GDPas well as foreign direct investment will go up (and much of this growthcan be redirected into agriculture, the mainstay of the Indianeconomy)….time for introspection! 21
  • 22. CHAPTER 2B THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THE 20TH CENTURY, CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY AND BEYONDQuote“And it is not only that the master sees when a particular method issuitable. It is much more. There is an alchemy that takes place when wemeet an enlightened master, an intuitive recognition is born in us that, yes,this man represents our own ultimate possibility, that what he is we can be.So the master acts as the catalyst to awaken in us a trust in ourselves, in ourown flowering. This trust is enough to start us on the path.”UnquoteExcerpt from Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)The greatest unfinished task on the global agenda is managing an eventcalled time. An event is happening and we on Planet Earth are running outof time. At this moment, someone’s expectations are rising. Can we predictthe consequences of a rising expectation? A man in a remote villageexpects an e-mail facility in his village at subsidized rates so that his wifecan send a message to him during his lunchtime in the field. But think, aheavy metal group slashes innocent pigeons on stage and a big group ofpeople watch. Is Interpol sleeping? Come to think of it, such a thinghappening at the turn of the century? 22
  • 23. Actually, how humane are we? Glaring inequalities in society exist. Thosewallowing in luxury and privileges beware. Unrestrained open displays ofwealth and privileges and indifference to the poor might one day arousesuch rage as to cause a bloody revolution as happened in France.We still have a long way to go to call ourselves civilized or humane orcompassionate or sufficiently tolerant.Growing instances of communal and caste conflicts, religiousfundamentalism, domination of the forces of “mono-thinking” (which isdestroying world peace), lack of gender equality, and lack of concern forthe underprivileged and crass materialism pervade. Oppressive practicessuch as bonded and child labor still exist. Yes, nimble fingers (of the child)make fireworks at Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu state of India and footballs inSialkot region of Pakistan.Let us teach human values and pray for human rights, pray for world peace.A humane society would employ respect for the environment and forhuman beings.In India, for instance, despite the “wake up” calls (revival / renaissance)given more than a century ago by national and religious leaders beginningwith sages like Rishi Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Raja RammohanRoy, the national scenario is still uninspiring. The country has (relatively)the largest number of illiterates. Emaciated women of Rajasthan state treklong distances to fetch drinking water. Female infanticide exists. Childmarriage exists. In many areas, the plight of women is no better than thatof cattle. And an often-mere object of man’s lust… the obnoxious practiceof “Lausa” exists wherein rural women in Rajasthan state have to wear iron 23
  • 24. underwear when their husbands are away. And then, there are those victimsof superstition and ignorance waiting for light in their lives:Only god knows why a group of people stood and worshipped while ayoung innocent widow bride called Roop Kanwar was made “Sati”, burntto ashes in Deorala village of Rajasthan state in India.The ideal should be love for fellow beings and solidarity of mankind.Attitudinal changes in the people to build up a more humane society, moretolerant, and truly secular and democratic is advocated. “Atmabodha” or Self-knowledge:I am composing the “Atmabodha”or “Self-knowledge” to serve the needsof those who have been purified through the practice of austerities and whoare peaceful in heart, free from cravings, and desirous of liberation.To serve the needs etc-needs conducive to the attainment of liberation, onlyself-knowledge can destroy ignorance and free one from repeated rebirths,in “Samsara”, the relative world of incessant change and movement, whichis characterized by pain and pleasure, weal and woe, love and hate, life anddeath, and other pairs of opposites.“Therefore know thyself. When the true self is known, the jig-saw puzzleof the world gets solved, doubts are at an end, and all misery vanishes.”-Sri Sankara, Swami Nikhilananda of the Ramakrishna-VivekanandaInstitute of New York, USA. 24
  • 25. At this moment, the internet is probably replacing a learned man inexplaining the philosophy of the Holy Vedas, the Upanishads, and theBhagwad Gita????? What a pity!!!!!We constantly find that man acts relative to society; we are all victims ofsociety in some way or the other, for instance, the victim of poverty. Let uslearn to convert our dislike for society (presuming that at least some of usdislike society) into love for all victims of society. Om shanti. A salutation to the concept of peace. Let us observe silence for a moment and move ahead…More progress in human well being has been made in the last 50 years thanin the previous 200, according to a recent report from a children’sorganization. Average life expectancy has risen. There has been a widerange of improvements in income, nutrition, health care and education. Inthe last 50 years, the proportion of children who die before the age of 5 hasbeen reduced. Adult literacy rates have doubled to approximately 70%.There has been a victory over smallpox. Rising immunization levels haveeradicated polio from the Western Hemisphere. Let us work to eradicatethe virus ((which virus)?) from the other hemispheres?????The British historian Arnold Toynbee predicted in the 1940’s that the 20thcentury will be chiefly remembered…not as an age of political conflicts ortechnical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to thinkof the welfare of the whole human race as a practical “objective”. 25
  • 26. Judging from the headlines of the 1990’s, this prophecy seems a bit toooptimistic.Politically, the disintegration of Russia and the failure of Communism willbe remembered. Communism failed because of volcanoes from beneath.First, the Cold war, then the Gulf War, then Bosnia, Chechnya,Herzegovina, then Rwanda??? What kind of peace, what kind ofdemocracy (or, democratization) has been achieved? The Earth itself is indanger?? A fifth of the world’s people still live in absolute poverty (or,relative poverty)?? They are the 1 billion absolute poor-“those who arewithout the basics of life, those without education and jobs (massunemployment), those without clean water or basic health care, thosewhose children die or become disabled in such numbers, those who areforced to ruin their own environments and futures for the sake of stayingalive today”. Women are among the poorest of the poor. Women in thedeveloping world face gross inequities.“Meeting these unmet needs” is the primary unfinished business of the 20thcentury. And not to do so is unconscionable in a world made one bycommunications. The main question is that of morality, which must matchwith global increases in productive capacity. The world’s primary need ismeeting the needs of the poorest children. Children in the Third Worldsuffer from malnutrition, childhood diseases, polio, suffer from lack of anutritious diet, from the lack of primary school education, the lack of cleanwater and safe sanitation in all communities.Given a sustained effort and more help from the industrialized nations,more developing countries can reach (if not utopia) in lesser and lessertime. The world will then have taken a major step towards finishing the job 26
  • 27. of erasing from the planet, the worst aspects of poverty, malnutrition,preventable illness, and illiteracy and all in good time, that too.Before we move ahead, I quote Swami Vivekananda: “poverty there mustbe (yes, the biggest disease on this planet), so long as the disease known ascivilization exists: and hence the need of relief.”Swamiji (quoted above) spoke of greed, now every village probably has atelevision set, and out of the attraction of a city life, (more so, out of sheerdesperation over difficult living conditions in the villages) millions areflocking to the cities, creating slums, squalor, shanty towns. Some aresleeping on the streets, some on railway tracks, some are having to dig foodout of trash bins. One important question that policy- makers shouldconsider, is that, where is there more happiness-in the villages (despitepoverty) or in the cities (urban poverty)? Are they poorer in the cities or inthe villages? Policy-makers should carry out PRA (participatory ruralappraisal) and PUA (participatory urban appraisal) with the poor tomeasure their degree of happiness? Then starts our event management. theprincipal technologies for meeting the unmet needs at low cost are alreadyavailable and the financial cost is negligible in relation to what humanityhas at stake. Money alone will not be sufficient. Political commitment andcompetent management are just as important.However, according to one estimate, the total cost of providing basic socialservices in the developing countries, including health, education, familyplanning, clean water, and all of the other basic goals agreed on at previoussocial summits is less than what the world spends on playing Golf??? 27
  • 28. CHAPTER 3AGod created natureand then he created mandid he think of the consequences?Today the birds no little chirpthe waters of the mountain stream carry a melancholic strainand our planet weeps,pray, have we forgotten how to think deepOh! Give me a world,where all looks greenwhere you can hear the music of the waterand the song of the streamwhere seldom is heard a discouraging wordand seldom can a barren tree be seen.And in our efforts to preserve natureand to restore harmony,oh! Let us work as a team,save the planet,save mankindhelp!Making an effort to clean our immediate surroundings is the first steptowards a clean environment.The well being and the hopes of the peoples of the world can never beserved until the environment and eco-systems that sustain all life on earthare secure. 28
  • 29. People have now to survive on an environmentally fragile planet. By themiddle of the next century-during the lifetimes of today’s children – theworld population may double and the world economy may quadruple. Foodproduction must triple if people are to be adequately fed, but the resourcebase for sustainable agriculture is eroding. Energy is needed, but even atpresent levels of use, fossil fuels threaten stability of world climaticconditions. The world’s forests are being destroyed each day, and the lossof biological wealth and diversity continue relentlessly.We cannot expect the poor to be preoccupied with the blaring emergenciesof global warming or the depletion of the ozone layer. It is the silentemergencies – polluted water or degraded land-that put their lives andlivelihoods at risk. Unless poverty ‘per se’ is addressed, environmentalsustainability cannot be guaranteed…One way to control “global climate warming” would be to spread moregreenery around the area of operation (e.g. a city).There need not be any tension between economic growth andenvironmental protection and regeneration. Much of environmentaldegradation (e.g. destruction of forests) results from poverty and limitedhuman choices… therefore, economic growth becomes vital for poorsocieties.Today’s guides and scouts are in the forefront of conservation and ecology.Tree planting, waste re-cycling, preservation of footpaths and hedgerows,work in nature reserves and support of the World Wide Fund for Nature,are just a few of the ways in which they care for Planet Earth. All this istrue to the spirit of Robert Baden-Powell, with his love of nature and hatredof pollution and over production. 29
  • 30. Worldwide, pesticides and toxic chemicals pose a risk to public health andthe environment. Let us promote safer means of pest control.Think, industrialization and urban expansion have taken a toll on thefamous Sherwood Forest, the vast expanse of wilderness just north ofNottingham, England.A comment on conservation: by George Pope Morris: -“Woodman, spare that tree!Touch not a single bough!In youth it sheltered me, and I’ll protect it now.”Through “afforestation”, forests, or tree cover is recreated on land, whichmay, earlier, have been forested land. Land, which is covered with treesand bushes, supports all life forms, including human life. Roots of plantshold the rich topsoil and prevent its erosion by wind and water; help thesoil absorb rainfall thereby raising the water table, which fills the wells.Trees and shrubs slowly create humus, which makes the topsoil rich. Treesand other plants produce a more comfortable temperature and moreoxygen, thereby creating a pleasant living environment.Every organization, which has under its charge a large area, must try toafforest at least those regions, which are within the vicinity of living areas.There are two basic methods of afforestation. In places where the landalready had trees and other plant cover, protection and watering will lead tonatural afforestation. On bare land, one has to plant trees to effectafforestation. One can imaginatively plant trees to capture the real andaesthetic effects of a “true” forest. 30
  • 31. To make afforestation successful, one has to identify and analyze suitable lands; identify and select suitable species; manage water effectively and efficiently; manage cattle effectively; operate nursery and plantations; ensure high rate of sapling survival; monitor, evaluate and take feedback.Activities of afforestation on community basis will boost tree cover on landand fuel wood and fodder programs, seed development, etc., to create apeaceful, sustainable living environment.The world’s oceans contain enormous volumes of biotic, mineral andenergy resources. The ocean’s role in creating the conditions required forlife on Earth is highly significant. The oceans still continue to sustain manyliving organisms, and as such, are called “genetic nurseries”. In recentyears, due to indiscriminate human interference in the form of unplannedcatching of fish, offshore oil drilling and dumping of waste products, thenatural environment of the oceans has been greatly disturbed. As a result, alarge number of marine species have become extinct.It is estimated that 80 percent of fossil fuels will be exhausted in a centuryif the current rate of exploitation continues. Similarly, over fishing has led 31
  • 32. to scarcity of fish even in some of the once important fishing grounds ofthe world. All these call for “Conservation”.The process of “bio-diversity conservation” means the conservation of allforms of natural life that would earlier exist in a particular area, and wouldstill exist there, if not human beings had altered the land and water and / orpolluted them. Let us raise awareness towards conservation of natural lifeforms such as elephants, tigers and crocodiles … and allow other naturalspecies, both plant and animal, to live peacefully….Conservation is necessary in that much of land and water surroundingnatural life is getting altered. Bio-diversity Conservation requires that a partof the unutilized area in a region be protected, to allow a small pocket ofnature to live peacefully….Both wasteland development and afforestation can be planned in innovativeways (using mostly local species of plants) to help bio-diversityconservation.Conservation of coastal and marine life like sharks, jellyfish, corals,plankton, etc. is also of prime importance…. the first step would be toidentify those species of flora and fauna that lie threatened or endangered…“Wastelands” are degraded, under-utilized or deteriorating (owing to lackof water and soil management, or natural causes) lands. These wastelandscan be brought under vegetative cover given the right amount of effort.India’s land resources were healthier earlier. India has 2.4% of the world’sland area but 15% of the world’s human population and about 16% of theworld’s cattle population. Due to increasing population pressure, per capitaland availability has declined. Over exploitation of natural resources, massincrease in the demands of food, fuel, fodder, fiber, shelter, industry, 32
  • 33. communication, etc. and changes in individual lifestyles have exertedtremendous pressure on India’s land resources, leading to soil erosion, landdegradation and finally wastelands. An estimate places 23% of India’sgeographical area under “wastelands”.The main causes of development of wastelands are: - erosion caused by water or winds; improper land and water management; overgrazing by cattle; “shifting” agriculture; water – logging; salinity/alkalinity.Developing wastelands has many advantages: - it is a source of income and employment to the rural poor; it ensures a constant supply of fuel, fodder and timber; it contributes to soil fertility; it enables maintenance of balance in ecology; it enhances forest cover; it helps bring about conventional rainfall; it helps supplement income of farmers; an increase in the number of trees reduces pests, with trees sheltering fields from insects; trees help recharge ground water. 33
  • 34. Initiatives should be taken to tackle the problem of degraded lands andputting wastelands to uses that respect the principles of sustainability…There is a need to educate common people on issues such as landdegradation, soil erosion, conservation of land and water, technology forafforestation, income-generation and social issues. This gigantic task has toinvolve government and voluntary agencies as well as the community…To achieve higher productivity, local “eco-friendly” species should beplanted. We would be able to generate more fuel and energy.Finally, this “greening” will have a significant effect on the immediatevicinity…Talking about putting wastelands to productive use! –The entire developing world is facing the problem of acute energyshortage, so very important for developmental activities. “Renewableenergy” or energy from the sun, wind, biomass and water are not onlyviable options but also reduce pressures on fast-depleting conventionalfossil fuels. Renewable energy is pollution free, locally availableabundantly, external, efficient and cost-effective.Alternative sources of energy can be utilized in many ways:(i) Bio-gas: is obtained from cow dung and human waste. It is efficient, simple, and cheap and can be used to generate electricity. enriched manure can be obtained from the left over residue in a biogas unit;(ii) Smokeless cooking stove: traditional cooking stoves often are detrimental to health. They may cause problems of the eye and of respiration. but “smokeless” cooking stoves with chimneys reduce health problems, reduce firewood consumption and enable speed cooking; 34
  • 35. (iii) Windmill: helps harness wind energy. Windmills are pollution-free, cost-effective and easy to obtain. they can be used to drain water from wells and generate electricity;(iv) Solar energy: can be used to generate heat and electricity. Dryers, solar cookers, etc. use solar energy. Other uses are water heating, pumping of water and lighting. Solar energy is pollution-free and is easily available and cost-effective.A “revolving fund” should be formed to provide monetary help toproducers and users of renewable energy technology.Renewable energy sources (or devices) such as smokeless cooking stoves,solar lanterns, solar home lighting systems, domestic heaters; etc. should besold at subsidized prices to the rural poor….The government should promote the establishment of co-operatives ofrenewable energy entrepreneurs in small towns and rural areas…– small earthen dams for water harvesting are both ecologically sound and economically profitable. Small reservoirs can transform rural economies without eroding soil, deforesting or desertifying regions or displacing people…– exposure to radiation can lead to many biological hazards. It is known that even low doses of radiation exposure can cause cancer and genetic disorders. A radioactive element can enter the human body through the food chain over a distance of thousands of miles.– toxic wastes are dumped in Third World countries by industrialized nations’ industries. Some of these-such as PVC, industrial incinerator ash, contaminated earth, etc. are extremely dangerous. These radioactive 35
  • 36. waste materials often mix with the soil and vegetation, polluting rivers and the environment; and leading to serious health hazards.– with regard to agriculture, economic development is possible through systematic infusion of scientific and technological inputs, which in turn, would lead to higher agricultural productivity and sustainability.– forests are very close to man’s culture. They are not only a source of material prosperity but also the birthplaces of our culture. Materialistic civilization has completely changed the man-nature relationship. Forest – dwellers have an ethnical relationship with forests, and depend on them for their survival. “Social forestry” should, therefore, be taken up at all levels.– the quantity of water present for human consumption is becoming more and more scarce. Scarcity of water is now a national phenomenon and the breakdown of storage and conservation systems in rural areas has further increased the problem. Water crisis threatens the survival of the rural poor. There is a need to develop appropriate technology in order to improve the water crisis, which will get worse if not checked (Third World Network Features, August 1988).– let us develop community – based one-tier systems to provide safe drinking water to the weaker sections of the society particularly the rural poor. A person selected from the very community itself should be formally trained and provided with proper tools and knowledge for installing water pumps. Government hand-pump systems are costlier and do not involve the community- (“Water in the Desert” – Health for the Millions, June 1988). 36
  • 37. – in ecology, we may find the basis for a renewal of politics – ecology becoming capable of forming the nucleus of a new ideology of the future. The management of land, water and forest resources may have political implications. Talking of political implications of ecology! (Ecology and the Renewal of Politics, Jan 1989).– pollution, particularly water pollution, has adverse effects on fisheries with both the number and numbers of each species consequently declining. The detection of mercury in fish flesh and sediments is a serious matter. Talking of industries creating problems for fisheries!– with regard to afforestation, there is a need to make village peoples’ needs the primary objective so as to establish a healthy rural economy. Maximizing revenues for the government and maximizing yields for industry should be of secondary importance.– forests are of great importance to managing water resources. Two major uses include (I) the regulation of the disposition of rainfall, thereby reducing the chances of soil erosion; and (ii) regulation of floods through management of forests in the upstream catchments.– water is very important to life but it is unevenly distributed in the world, and subject to misuse. Continued exploitation of global water resources can have disastrous implications.– let us have alternate technologies for increasing source of drinking water. The source would differ depending upon the terrain. Traditional methods can be improved with latest scientific technologies.– we cannot afford to ignore the hazards of nuclear (energy) plants. Radioactive waste is to be safely disposed of, but very often, built in 37
  • 38. design safety systems offer no guarantee of protection. As happened during the Chernobyl gas disaster (former USSR), the general publics in the surrounding towns and villages may not have been warned about radiation hazards.– during famine-relief operations, authorities should allow decision- making at all levels. Self-planned and self-managed relief activities by (local) rural women’s groups will go a long way in famine relief. Call it ‘gender-based famine relief’!– let us “embrace trees” to protect forests from commercial felling! ((The Evolution, Structure and Impact of the “Chipko” (embrace the tree) Movement, India, May 1986)).– development depends on the environment. The problem(s) of the environment exist in a vicious circle and the solution lies in improving the country’s gross nature product.– “conservation of resources” does not run on its own. For conservation, there must be broad policies based on economic principles and human ethics. To achieve conservation, policies should encompass: (I) substitution (e.g. synthetic fiber for cotton), (ii) recycling (reuse of wastes), (iii) innovation (through study and research), (iv) minimization of wastage, (v) extension of education and knowledge, (vi) enactment of laws of conservation, (vii) correct estimation of reserves (e.g. of fossil fuels, fish, etc.), and (viii) an assessment of requirements for the future.Floods are becoming rampant in China and India. Drought has devastatedthe American Midwest and Africa. Storms and hurricanes in Europe andthe Caribbean are taking heavy tolls. Waves in the North Atlantic have gotbigger. 38
  • 39. There is environmental imbalance throughout the globe. Health is atconsiderable risk, for instance, young children in Bangkok and Mexico aresuffering from high lead levels. Lopsided development and rampantconsumerism is leading to ozone depletion, global warming, the greenhouse effect, rise in ocean and sea levels, and glaciers and ice caps willmelt. Bangkok is sinking at the rate of one inch per year (to be confirmed).The rise in temperature does not merely threaten life and property ofhumans but puts in danger the entire biodiversity of the earth. Marine lifewill very soon become extinct.Worldwide, today there are 1-1.5 lakh additional cases of cataract-inducedblindness. Predictions are that in the lower latitudes, the eye cancer ratewill greatly increase in the coming years … The U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency has projected that in the 50 years between 1991-2041,12 million Americans will be affected by skin cancer and 2,00,000 will diefrom malignant melanoma…Changes in the Earth’s climate will sweep away one-third of the globalforests. The rain forests in Africa are shrinking by 1.3 million hectaresannually…Although following the Kyoto protocol in Dec 1997 the U.S. hasreluctantly agreed to reduce its emissions to 7 per cent below the 1990levels by 2012, this cut is too little for a nation which consumes a majorpercentage of the Earth’s energy…World policies on energy usage and control of greenhouse gases have tochange, or global warming will demolish ecological balance. Time tothink! 39
  • 40. “Today the most religious movement in the world is environmentmovement.”- Archbishop of Canterburyi. “environmental management” rests with individuals – those who manage land, sea and space. Such scientists as oceanographers, social scientists, ecologists, demographers, economists, geologists, geographers and medical scientists all collect and analyze environment data. But what is important is how and to what extent each individual participates in environment conservation. Global environments are deteriorating and becoming more and more “unlivable”. Our lives now stand affected. It is the poor and the marginalized that are suffering the most.ii. awareness of the environment: only concerned persons can influence attitudes and bring out change… the need of the hour is an “environment awareness program”-to pressurize the ministry, the courts, the administration and the legislature. Press and the media and educational institutions can disseminate information on environment. Groups of vital importance to the environment include – rural people who depend on forests for their livelihood, livestock grazers on common lands, urban housewives who can recycle or dispose of domestic waste, rag-pickers who help recycle used household material, politicians and the courts…iii. there are some that feel that environment should be taught in schools. Education on environment can make it a part of our lives. How many of us are (actually) willing to behave in an “environment-friendly” way, 40
  • 41. like recycling paper, waste, etc., reducing car emissions, or not using CFC-based car air conditioners or refrigerators?Non-formal methods of education should be incorporated into formalschool and college education in addition to community “environmentcampaigns”.A very good way to make for more “environmentally – sensitive”individuals is to actually take students on “site visits” towards observationof natural services, damages caused to them. Sites include – deforestedwastelands, rivers and such quantities of garbage as cannot be managed…we can set up “eco-(friendly) clubs” to instill respect and love for natureamong our children, the citizens of the world’s tomorrow…Let us pursue issues related to forests, wildlife, pollution, environmentaldegradation and cruelty to animals.“Environmental Information Systems” can be setup…Article 51 (g) of the Indian constitution states “it shall be the duty of everycitizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment includingforests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for livingcreatures.”Nature conservation and environmental protection form the basis forsustainable development. Remember where food comes from? Thefollowing areas need serious thought and concrete action: environment education and awareness; conservation of biological diversity; sustainable utilization of natural resources; 41
  • 42. pollution and waste; lifestyles; and exploitation of renewable energy.Conservation of nature… will inevitably lead to human happiness!(Most of the above are extracts from a book on Community Development,courtesy: the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India, date notknown) 42
  • 43. CHAPTER 3B FROM GOLF GREENS TO EARTH FRIENDLY GREENS, LET US PLANT MORE TREES IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM“The world requires a few hundred bold men and women. Practice that boldness which dares know the truth…then you will be free.” -Swami VivekanandaI am quoting Swami Vivekananda at this moment because one bold woman’s effort could convince a mighty corporation of a need for “Green Earth”. A Californian woman, Miss Julia Hill finally returned to Earth at the weekend after saving the Giant Red Wood tree that had been her home since December 1997. She lived in the sixty meter Red Wood as a one - woman protest against continuous logging of the massive trees, which can live for two thousand years and which once covered two million acres of the Western U.S. Miss Hill finally reached an agreement with the Pacific Lumber Company (Corporate social responsibility, Corporate partnership- we will come to this point later), which owns the land, that she called ‘Luna’- and a two point nine acre buffer zone around it would be spared the axe. We remember Sting (Gordon Sumner) who had sung for the Amazonian forests (charity music). This time singers Joan Baez and Bonnie Raitt were among celebrities who clambered up to her platform to express their support. Any way, many other trees are being felled at this moment and the sources of livelihood for 43
  • 44. indigenous peoples are being destroyed. And space shuttle “Discovery” (what about the other important things waiting to get discovered???) is streaking into orbit from the Kennedy space center in the United States of America.Anyway, let us not waste time. Let us recycle waste in the cities, crushmineral water bottles after use. Fight pollution-for instance, preventourselves from throwing waste into the seas and the oceans. Pollutants andindustrial waste from factories kill a number of people. After inspection,such factories should be closed down. It is our moral duty to protectinnocent people, who are often victims (of no fault of theirs) of suchindustrial pollution.Much of what follow are extracts from “Every Girl’s Handbook” by RogerCoote, 1994:It is to be known that there are about fourteen lakh (1400000) species ofplants, animals and other living things on earth. Many biologists believethat there are countless other species that have not yet been discovered andthat the real total may be more than one crore (10000000).All life depends on plants, which recycle the gases in the atmosphere toproduce the oxygen that is vital to life, and provide many animals withfood.In each habitat-forest, desert, sea or any other, the larger ones eat thesmallest organisms and still larger creatures eat them in turn. Every specieshas its place and depends in some way on the others. So, if a single speciesbecomes extinct, the balance of the habitat may be threatened. Whathappens in the Arctic-the polar bear at the top depends on all the otherorganisms – the seals it eats, the haddock the seals eat, and the small fish, 44
  • 45. the animal plankton and the tiny plant-plankton right at the bottom.Tropical rainforests are the richest habitats on Earth and contain moreliving species than any other. Let us work to protect our forests- yes, I amtalking of “conservation” of natural species. Remember what happenedaround 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period and theJurassic period, which preceded, the dinosaurs and many other reptiles andplants died out. No one knows why this happened. The most likely reasonseems to be that a huge meteorite from space struck the Earth withimmense force. This could have set off wildfires, the giant Tsunami, and acloud of dust. All of these effects could have combined to wipe out thedinosaurs and other life forms.After the death of the dinosaurs, more and more mammals appeared, andamong them, man has come to dominate the earth.Charles Darwin in his “Origin of Species” has spoken of “survival of thefittest”, and using his terms, the dinosaurs may have neglected nature andhave been wiped out, leading to the emergence of man. Now if manneglects nature, the human race may become extinct. But in this world too,women are surviving in a man’s world, sea creatures and river creaturesand forests are surviving in a human world, plants and flowers and childrenin an “adult wild world”. Imagine for a moment, if some men and womensettled on Mars or Venus and threw down waste on Planet Earth, whatwould happen to the planet??? Think and act-before that happens!!!!!Consider this-many species of plants and animals on our planet are at risk,and in most cases, they are threatened by human beings (birds beingpoached?). The most common cause of extinction is loss of habitat-theplaces where wild animals and plants live are taken over or altered bypeople. 45
  • 46. The most famous example of this is the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.Everyday vast areas of rainforest are cleared to make room for farms, roadsand towns. Many thousands of species could be wiped out and lost foreverunless the destruction of the forest is halted.Let us sing at this stageFrom Bretton Woods to the Amazon Woods / the Giant Redwood, have wecome a long way???There are many other examples: the Giant Panda has been pushed out oflarge areas of its natural habitat in Northern China. Hunting and poachinghave also been responsible for the extinction of many species in the past,and many others are threatened now.The Siamese Crocodile has been hunted for its skin and is now extinct inthe wild. It survives only on crocodile farms in Thailand. The NorthAmerican Red Wolf has suffered a similar fate: there are now very few leftexcept in zoos.Tigers are in danger because their jungle homes have been destroyed; theyhave been hunted for their skins and killed by farmers who accuse them ofkilling livestock. Despite the ban on the trade in rhino horn and elephantivory, we come to hear of instances of ivory trade and horn trade.Man’s mind is getting polluted. While the WWF acts to protect wildlife,man sits at Trump Plaza and watches WWF-the World WrestlingFederation and cheers on brute aggression?????It is time we built natural reserves for our animals, and the money paid byvisitors helped to pay for the costs of running such a reserve, providingsafety and security to the animal concerned. Let us in our own lives love 46
  • 47. and protect our pets- take them to the veterinary hospital as and whenrequired. Let us practice pet therapy for our (pet) animals.Let us protect the vital rainforests of South and Central America, SoutheastAsia and Central Africa, which contain at least half of all the world’s plantand animal species. Yet, these forests are being destroyed or damaged atthe rate of about 50,000 hectares each day. Almost half of the world’srainforests have disappeared in the last fifty years.Most of the destruction is caused by poor people desperately trying to findland for farming. They clear and burn an area of forest and plant their cropsbut after two or three years the soil loses its fertility and produces fewercrops and the people move on to clear a new area of forest. This way thevital rainforests are becoming extinct.In the distant past, I remember having read in the newspapers that aninjured whale had been dragged on to the beach in some part of Asia (insome part of the Earth? distant??) and the media were taking photographsof it, what a pity! (how the media glamorizes events! the paparazzi chasedPrincess Diana to a death she did not deserve. the Diana Memorial Appealnow works for victims of land mines, yes, the environment is involved).(Lady Diana touched a malnourished child in Africa, she touched a child atNirmal Hriday –Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, sheobliged the International Red Cross at Sudan, she did so much for theworld, really!). But before we talk of working for the world, let us comedown to earth and take blessings from God.God blessEvery desertEvery scrub and semi desert 47
  • 48. Every tropical rain forestEvery savannaEvery temperate forestEvery coniferous forestEvery tundra and ice forestAndEvery other species of plant or animal that has adapted itself to itsimmediate natural environment.What is natural and what is artificial?What is natural-music of the mountains, the rivers, the seas, the blue sky,the beautiful waterfalls, the glaciers, the free bird, the free tiger ((not toroam about the cities (then they would, ‘perhaps’, pose a threat to man) butin their natural habitat)) – again man has sensed a threat to his ownsecurity, he craves for peace, man may have peeped into a “natural historymuseum” and sensed that the Earth is in danger.Very soon, the tiger will roam the streets freely, and apes and gorillas willhang onto city trees, and strange - looking populace wearing space suitsand calling themselves Robo- cops and singing ‘ we are the Robo boys andgirls’ (!), and carrying strange cyber- paraphernalia in their hands will landin an “unidentified flying object (UFO)” called “Stars of Mars” to facilitatea process called “Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind” (Are we notforgetting the Third World ?)Yes, the Earth is in danger, because human beings are neglecting theplanet, damaging our planet in a number of ways-by destroying the habitats 48
  • 49. in which plants and animals live, by using up precious resources tooquickly and by pollution. Transport is the major source of air pollution.Cars are especially damaging to the environment because of the poisonousexhaust gases they produce, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxidesand sulphur oxides. Air is also being polluted by heating homes, burningforests, some factory pollution involving burning fossil fuels-oil, gas andcoal and burning wastes.Water pollution occurs with toxic chemicals, oil (yes, oil can pollute thesea, when oil tankers run aground or collide and leak) and sewage (yes, ourbeautiful seas and oceans are being contaminated). Chemical fertilizers andpesticides damage the soil. Added to this, is the destruction of parts of theozone layer mostly over Antarctica, also over North America, Asia, Europeand Australia. Another major problem is “global warming”. Theatmosphere traps in some of the heat we get from the sun. This is called the“green house effect”. Many scientists think that too much heat is beingtrapped in because we are adding to the amounts of certain gases in theatmosphere. These “green house gases” mainly carbon dioxide andmethane- are produced by factories and by the burning of forests to makeway for cities and farmland. If the world’s temperature does increase evenby a few degrees, the polar ice caps could begin to melt, raising the sealevel and flooding many coastal areas. In other places, food crops could bedestroyed by hotter drier climates, and wild life could be threatened withextinction.Most scientists believe that the universe began with the “Big Bang”, a hugeexplosion that occurred about 18 thousand million years ago. Since then,the universe has been expanding outwards at an enormous speed. Some 49
  • 50. astronomers believe that the earth will stop growing and then collapse backagain, ending in a “big crunch”. Hope that never happens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Some others believe that the Earth is in danger because there are chancesthat the sun will run out of fuel. When this happens, it will expand tobecome a red giant and swallow up the earth and most of the other planets.The sun will then become more dense and explode, destroying the rest ofthe solar system. All that will remain will be a tiny dwarf star. Very soon we shall all be singing, twinkle twinkle little star how I wonder where you are????Yes, stars (under present circumstances of pollution) cannot be seen in theskies at night???? 50
  • 51. CHAPTER 4A Peace comes only from loving, from mutual self-sacrifice and self-forgetfulness. Few today have humility or wisdom enough to know the world’s deep need of love. We are too much possessed by national and racial and cultural pride.- Horace W. B. DoneganMy life has been an intensely happy one, not only in my family circle, butalso in the world outside it…Looking back on a life of over eighty years, I realize how short life is andhow little worthwhile are anger and political warfare.The most worthwhile thing is to try and put a bit of happiness into the livesof others.- Excerpts from Robert Baden Powell’s farewell message “to the general public”.Today we are so interdependent, so closely interconnected with each otherthat without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universalbrotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we really 51
  • 52. are part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangersto our very existence – let alone bring about peace and happiness.- The Dalai Lama, from “A Human Approach to World Peace”If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of humanrelationships- the ability of all people of all kinds to live together and worktogether in the same world, at peace.- Eleanor RooseveltThe time comes in the life of any nation when there remains only twochoices – submit or fight. That time should never again come in the life ofany nation…. let us try to achieve “true” liberation without bloodshed andcivil clash –-Anonymous“Human Security” binds together all people and all nations, and it can beaddressed only through “sustainable human development” strategies, notthrough the acquisition of ever-more-powerful weapons. This securityconsists of the security of people in their homes, in their jobs, in theircommunities, in their environment. There is need for preventive diplomacyon the part of the international community….also, any decline in globalmilitary spending can be (translated into improved human development)and used to finance the world’s social agenda.What we need now is a pressurizing for reduced global military spendingand to make an explicit link between reduced military spending andincreased social spending… 52
  • 53. The industrial nations should be persuaded to close their military bases,phase out their military assistance and eliminate their subsidies to exportersof arms…A major concern of many countries in the future must be to avoid violentsocial dislocations-especially-ethnic conflicts. To achieve “socialintegration”, measures to promote more equal opportunities for all include: equality before the law – to bring about an integrated society, we must ensure basic legal rights for all; rights of the minority – countries must ensure minority rights, including those related to minority culture; antidiscrimination policies – measures to counter discrimination (and application of penalties for violation) should be taken by governments; education – governments must ensure that all sections of society have access to basic education respecting local cultures and traditions; employment – the state should make employment opportunities available to disadvantaged and marginalized sections like women; and, governance – should be brought closer to the people, through decentralization and accountability, by promotion of grass-roots organizations and by creation of avenues for people’s direct participation. 53
  • 54. - (Source: Human Development Report, UNDP,’ 94).“They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears intopruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shallthey learn war any more.”This prophecy did not come true with the end of the Cold War. At any onetime, many military conflicts are going on in “trouble areas” globally.These conflicts are increasingly threatening the lives of military as well ascivilian populace. At the beginning of the 20th Century, around 90% of warcasualties were military. As of now, about 90%, disastrously, are civilian!One of the greatest worries of the 20th century was the extent to whichwhole societies were militarizing themselves. This fear will pervade the21st Century as well…In weak democracies, armed forces have been positioned strong enough todirect the political process and subvert democracy.Armed conflicts within states increasing: of the 82 armed conflicts between1989 and 1992, only 3 were inter-state. Most conflicts are in developingcountries. But, practically, all regions have experienced conflicts-BosniaHerzegovina in Europe; Iraq, Israel and Lebanon in the Middle East;Colombia and Guatemala in Latin America; India, Myanmar and Tajikistanin Asia; and Angola, Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda in Africa. More than halfof conflicts in 1993 took the lives of 4 to 6 million people. These conflictshave caused millions to flee their countries to avoid repression and death,creating a trend in “war-induced international migration”.Since 1945, millions of people have perished in wars and other conflictsand the numbers are simply not abating. Kashmir, a center of strife within 54
  • 55. the Indian sub-continent has seen thousands of casualties in the past years.Unless national and international communities take concrete action, deathswill continue unabated.Despite all the brouhaha over the global agenda of human insecurity, worldmilitary spending still equals the income of nearly half the world’s people(as of 1992).The continuing nuclear threat: the threat of nuclear war has definitelydwindled, but it has by no means disappeared. A major concern is nuclearproliferation. In addition to the five nuclear powers (China, France, Russia,the United Kingdom and the United States), there are states like India,Israel and Pakistan which have the capacity to deploy nuclear weapons onshort notice. On the positive side, 3 other states (Argentina, Brazil andSouth Africa) had halted nuclear weapons development as of 1992. It wasfurther proposed to extend the 1967 Non-Proliferation Treaty after 1995.However, some countries complain of “Nuclear Apartheid”, and somedeveloping countries feel that nuclear technology can have “non-nuclear”uses. Some countries feel threatened by their neighbors and value thepossession of nuclear weapons. What is most important is removal of thecauses of conflict.The human cost of military spending in developing countries is enormous.As of 1992-94, 12% of military spending could be diverted to health(preventable, infectious disease, malnourishment, access to safe water,primary health care including immunization), 4% to education (primaryeducation, adult literacy, female literacy) and 8% to population control(basic family planning services and family welfare)… In developingcountries, people are 33 times more likely to die from social neglect 55
  • 56. (malnutrition and preventable diseases) than from war. Yet, there are 20military personnel for 1 doctor…Arms spending eat up precious resources than could otherwise be spent onhuman development. Some of the world’s poorest countries – Angola,Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique and Pakistan spend more on their armedforces than on public education and health.High military spending among poor countries GNP p. capita Military Expenditure Country ($US) p.c. ($ US) 1991 1990/91Sudan 400 23.3Ethiopia 120 14.9Chad 210 10.7Burkina Faso 290 10.5Mozambique 80 9.5Mali 270 6.8Promoting human security globally will be a tedious process. The future ofworld disarmament demands higher goodwill between the ‘North’ and the‘South’- the creation of new fora for peace discussions, regulation of tradein arms and a novel role for the United Nations. The Third World urgentlyneeds disarmament. The job is only half done. Let us-i) Establish fora for disarmament: first of all, let us start with existing fora such as the Organization for African Unity (OAU); the Organization of American States (OAS); the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN); the Non-Aligned Movement; etc. Some neighboring countries can apply some pressure towards peace. The Tegucigalpa 56
  • 57. Commitment (Dec. 1991) by six central heads of state is a good beginning. The UN could involve itself more forcefully. It has already taken initiatives on one of the worst killers-land mines;ii) Defuse tensions around the globe: since opposition parties and domestic public opinion may treat peace alliances as unrequired interference, it would be better to involve the United Nations in major problems. We should bear in mind that these problems may arise from economic, social and natural causes. a former UN Secretary-General has said in his ‘Agenda for Peace’ : “Drought and disease can decimate no less mercilessly than the weapons of war. So at this moment of renewed opportunity, the efforts of the organization to build peace, stability and security must encompass matters beyond military threats in order to break the fetters of strife and warfare that have characterized the past.” To conclude, the role of the UN in development must be strengthened;iii) Phase out military assistance: military bases, which contribute to the militarization of developing countries, should be phased out;iv) Regulate the arms trade: commercial arms traders have no regrets about making profits out of poverty – selling “high-fidelity” jet fighters or nuclear bombs to nations in which millions struggle to survive each day in their lives. Not only this, arms are supplied to ‘potential’ trouble areas, leading to further conflict. We must design a concrete policy framework for regulating the arms trade. Both industrial and developing countries should cut down on their arms production. 57
  • 58. Chemical weapons and land mines (which cause such terrible suffering to civilians: globally, millions of land – mines remain buried in unsuspected locations) should be emphasized. Land mines kill and maim civilians even when wars are over. Clearing them is very cumbersome and costly. The UN should make a list of sophisticated arms, maintain regional (Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America) registers of armaments, tax the sales of arms and establish more innovative methods of peace- keeping;v) Design a new aid policy dialogue: the need of the hour is to make allocations of aid subject to a “military: social spending index”, or giving positive incentives in the form of greater aid to those countries that are working towards peace;vi) Agree on criteria for UN mediation in conflicts within nations: the UN has always intervened in conflicts between nations – through cease- fires, sanctions and more permanent solutions. However, intricate questions arise when the UN is called upon to intervene within nations, with regard to the form of intervention to be made – UN forces, temporary assistance or long-term development aid?vii) Create more effective information systems: we need to build up more effective information systems to follow the movement (s) of arms; Finally, we need to bear in mind that a genuine improvement in human security requires the complete harnessing of that one most important world resource – peace, peace and only peace.- (Source: Human Development Report, UNDP, 1994) 58
  • 59. I remember what Oscar Arias, winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize had tosay:“…I would like to propose the establishment of a global demilitarizationfund… Let the nations of the world, both rich and poor, commit themselvesto atleast a 3% a year reduction in their military spending levels over thenext five years…The actual numbers are not important…Only global cooperation can foster the security, which we have sought forso long, but which has eluded us so frequently. Let us make a definitiveeffort to use the peace dividend for the construction of just, prosperous anddemilitarized societies. And let us capitalize on the benefits of disarmamentto promote and guarantee the rewards of peace.”– War Crimes Court: the world’s first permanent ‘War Crimes Court’ will try war crimes, genocide and crime(s) against humanity.Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is said to have remarked: “In taking thisaction… we reaffirm strong support for international accountability andbringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes againsthumanity.”- 25 years after the Vietnam War, the people of Vietnam gave a red carpet welcome to U.S. President, Bill Clinton, when he visited their country… even when they are still suffering from the war’s after-effects – the Vietnam landscape still hiding hundreds upon thousands of mines that still kill and maim many unaware innocent citizens… a dear price for the scourge and cruelty of war… 59
  • 60. CHAPTER 4B TALKING OF THE STARS AND STRIPES, LET US HOPE THAT THE [UNITED] ‘STATES’ DO NOT START ASKING FOR SEPARATE STATEHOOD, WE WANT TO SEE NO MORE SOCIAL DISINTEGRATIONOR ETHNIC CLEANSING, WE WANT TO SEE PEACE.In recent years, some parts of the world have changed dramatically. In1989, revolutions spread through the countries of Eastern Europe, and thepeople drove out the Communist leaders who had ruled them since 1945. In1991, the USSR suffered a similar fate, and that vast country broke up into15 separate states.Meanwhile, in South Africa, the policy known as “Apartheid” was comingto an end. Since 1948, color of skin formed the basis of segregationbetween the whites and the non-whites. The ANC or African NationalCongress fought for change for many years, and in May 1994, NelsonMandela became the country’s first Black President.When Civil War broke out in the former Yugoslavia, UN peacekeepingforces were sent in to intervene, at a place where atrocities were beingcarried out on women and children. At this moment, I feel there should bean “international government”(apart from the UN) composed of all nations, 60
  • 61. with one principal “shareholder” in each nation, a group of individualscommitted to human rights, peace, poverty, and the environment.Institutions can be set up for the Ghetto populace in America, the homelessin Britain, street children in the Third World, those sleeping on the streets,etc, by this international government. The need for such a governmentarises because most other organizations will serve only particular countries-e.g. NATO will serve only countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance,the Colombo Plan will serve only member countries, SAARC will serveonly SAARC countries etc.Coming back to world political affairs, let us judge the present situation.Hijacking of aircraft, plenty of ethnic cleansing going on, socialdisintegration, sabotage, espionage, nationalistic sentiments rising anddifferences within the ranks of national leaders. Does it not seem that theworld is heading for frozen peace??? The era of good feelings that followedthe collapse of communism has ended. It has been on the wane for sometime. Europe, particularly, is in danger of plunging (after Kosovo, Poland,the USSR, East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia andBulgaria- all experienced revolutions) into a cold peace. A cold peacecould be nearly as tricky to handle as the cold war was.While the threat of nuclear war (after the nuclear non-proliferation treaty)has dwindled (or has it?) the risk of small but devastating ethnic ornationalist wars is rising. We cannot forget the Rwanda massacre in whichinnocent children were affected the most. And for years in the birthplace ofChrist, a war has been raging. If only Christ the Lord were alive!!! 61
  • 62. Our message of peace: instead of a toy gun, give a sweet Christmas presentto a child at Kosovo- Pristina. Lord, forgive them, for they know not whatthey do, and help us work on the planet as it is. 62
  • 63. CHAPTER 5AThere is no alleviationfor the sufferings of mankindexcept veracity of thought and action,and the resolute facingof the world as it is.- Thomas H. HuxleyQuestions on “survival” in theThird World have always haunted me.Whenever I journey by train,I look at the countryside, the barren fields,the huts; etc. my mind tries to traceand locate the answer:how does an averageman in the Third World “survive” (e.g. in extreme summers or in extremewinters)?World Economic Crisis: some fundamental issues:Our world economy is passing through a phase of unprecedented crisis. Atone end, are the problems of population explosion, food shortages and totaldepletion of raw materials, energy and non-renewable resources-a longterm perspective on which was laid down by Dennis L. Meadows and histeam, who concluded that: “If the present growth trends in worldpopulation, industrialization, pollution, food production and resourcedepletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on the planet will bereached some time within the next one hundred years. The most probable 63
  • 64. result will be a rather and uncontrollable decline in both population andindustrial capacity.” And then there is the most immediate and pressingproblem of debt burden of the developing countries, the incidence of whichis quite staggering.The other important dimensions of the world economic crisis include:a) slow growth of global output – particularly, output of the developed countries;b) sharp increase in the unemployment rate in the developed countries;c) persistence of acute poverty, destitution, low purchasing power among the millions of the third world;d) persisting of and widening of the gaps in income levels, technology, resources, etc. between the developed and the developing countries;e) continued disillusionment with the abilities of international institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), UNCTAD and GATT to deal with the problems of developing countries.Statistics alone cannot provide good insight into the major intricacies offactors responsible for and remedies for dealing with the current economiccrisis. The need of the hour is to trace the origin of the current crisis. Withregard to the above, several misconceptions and wrong perceptions – somein the vested interests have arisen, and a number of fundamental issues arebeing neglected.There are many paradoxes to the present crisis:– firstly, the world economic situation was never considered a crisis as long as phenomena such as high rate of unemployment, poor resources, 64
  • 65. high incidence of poverty, etc. were confined to the developing countries even though they accounted for 2/3 rd of the world population. The situation became a crisis as soon as the same phenomena started engulfing the developed countries those have near total command over the reins of the world economic system;– secondly, surprisingly, the problems which the south presents to the north – such as poverty, resource constraints etc. are being experienced by the North itself. It is to be noted that developed countries are not so much concerned about the South which are restructuring the world trading system, as they are for themselves;– again, paradoxically, at a time when the South was trying to realize better and fairer returns to the producers of primary products, it was being punished by significant falls in commodity prices;– fourthly, countries claiming to be intellectually rigorous are “disastrously” adopting restrictionist policies to meet their internal crisis. Further, those countries professing liberalism and a free environment for production and trade have themselves adopted highly protectionistic policies…Even as way back as 1977, many thoughtful men had pleaded before theJoint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, that the government neednot take drastic measures in response to the trade deficits of 1976, 1977.Professor Cohen argued: ‘… I do not view the present U.S. trade deficitwith alarm, nor do I feel that radical revision of current U.S. economicpolicies is warranted… The present trade deficit signifies neither a seriousdeterioration of our competitiveness in international markets nor asignificant loss of a capacity of world economic leadership, although thefact of a deficit remains…’ 65
  • 66. It is clear that the main question is, how should the South pursue itsobjectives, particularly, the combating of poverty and fusion of internalpeace and security with development? The “poor” South has long livedunder the illusion that the North is extremely generous in its attitude…Partial delinking with the North and more effective “South – South”cooperation is necessary. More attention should be diverted towards bodiessuch as OPEC, ASEAN, SAARC, NAM and the Colombo Plan. A separateThird World Secretariat located at a Third World country (particularly, oneranked low on the Human Development Index), holding of independentThird World summit meetings and encouragement of preferentialarrangement for intra-South flows of goods, manpower resources, etc, arethe needs of the hour. A center for science and technology for developingcountries, a “bank” (particularly, micro-credit) for developing countries, a“research and information system”, a “solidarity fund” for economic andsocial development, are now just for remaining on “official machinerypapers”. Concrete action programs should back them. We can also have a“consortium” or “group” of debtors…There is need for a new strategy for development. It is high timedeveloping countries built up more efficiency in agriculture, agro-basedindustries and optimum land utilization. W.W. Rostow in his suaveanalyses of the world economy has also argued for a shift in “thinking”from “lame” industrialization to agriculture.Finally, the world economic crisis should be viewed in its widerperspectives through less of debates and more of concerted actionfollowing “dialogues” between the North and the South.The critical role for official development assistance: (developing countries)(source: BIS Review): 66
  • 67. Developing countries have to be managed well to achieve internal stabilityand implement development policies. Aid is a very critical resource in thatit helps countries improve their policies by providing technology, trainingpeople and strengthening institution building.The question is, how much has actually been accomplished in terms of aid?Much of the world has changed. We can now communicate across theglobe instantaneously. Countries are now more interdependent. Firms areproducing globally and bankers moving money quickly from one part ofthe world to another. The capacity to develop has been improved byadvances in science and technology. Yet, poverty is far from being solved,and gaps between the world’s rich and the world’s poor have widened.And, there are now serious problems not earlier perceived, like thedepletion of the ozone layer and Earth Warming, or the “GreenhouseEffect”.The aid community now knows that problems are more complex and morediverse, and human and institutional factors are now more important tochange, as never before. Extraordinary progress has now been made, lifeexpectancy at birth has gone up, and now there are medicines and cures forvirtually every ailment…Aid is only one influence in a complicated process, which involves factorssuch as open trade policies, trends in commodity prices, the weather andaccumulated debt…Yet, aid is still not unimportant apart from the uses outlined above, it alsocommunicates ideas and encourages initiative. It helps build much neededinfrastructure and finances goods needed for production. Aid is importantin disaster management, and has a humanitarian role to play. 67
  • 68. It is important as to how funds will be used and what will be achieved. It isheartening to note that countries are moving forward through bold policyreforms and more commitment.In a number of low-income countries, especially in Asia, additional aidcould translate into accelerated growth, creation of jobs, ruralinfrastructure, and investment in human resources. a former World BankVice-President for Asia described two Asias: first, the high growth,industrializing economies, and second, an Asia with massive problems ofdevelopment and containing more than half of the world’s poor, but whichhave been able to avoid payments crisis through prudent management.What are some of the key areas where aid can play an important role in theyears ahead?Our ozone layer is depleting, we now (as never before) need to findsolutions to Earth warming, air and water pollution, loss of soil,deforestation, and desertification. Some environmental issues can bemitigated by direct investment, while others require a change in values andlife styles or simply development.Every year, large numbers of people enter developing country job markets,where there is a need for power, water, communications, transport, andports, and improved financial institutions. Aid can help in these, as well asin facilitating foreign private investment.In only a few decades, a majority of people in the developing world willlive in cities, therefore, more aid agencies are focusing on urban issuesthese days.Poverty forces millions of children under five to die every year. Aid cancomplement political commitment and management of developing 68
  • 69. countries in providing low cost inoculations and oral rehydration andeducation for children (in developing countries).World population is increasing rapidly every year. If, country by country,societies could speed up the “demographic transition” i.e. reach the years oflower population growth sooner, this would reduce death rates, makehigher quality and universal primary education and training more feasibleand make sustainable development more manageable. Aid has a criticalrole to play.At least another five billion people are expected to be added to the totalworld population over the 21st century; leading in turn to greater demandfor food. For most developing countries, overall economic growth will beled by high – technology agriculture. There is now an increasing need togive priority to agriculture.Aid has to assume a new role. No development program can besuccessfully implemented without political commitment, good policies, andimproved management in developing countries. In addition to soundmacroeconomic policies, sector and sub-sector plans need to be thoughtthrough. There arises a need for much better aid management. Donors needto respond to areas of need. Common visions of needs and high-qualitynational planning and management have to be combined. Global problemsneed to be solved locally, country by country.In this complex world, there is no right level for official developmentassistance. Yet, there is no doubt that faster growth could be made in theworld if donors could increase their aid levels significantly.And aid (which provides important resources) has to assume a new role, therole of a “catalyst” in development… 69
  • 70. – as new demands of human security arise, a new and more positive relationship between North and South – a new era of “development co- operation” becomes the need of the hour. Developing countries argue that most of their economic problems arise from an inequitable international order. But, now they have come to recognize that “no amount of external assistance can ever substitute for the fundamental reforms needed in their domestic economies.India: the Indian social system is in a flux. We have become one of themost corrupt societies anywhere in the world. There are still areas that areextremely poor, there is grinding poverty in many areas. Another verymajor economic factor has been our total inability to check the populationexplosion. This has been one of the great disasters and tragedies of freeIndia. Our population is growing at the rate of over a million people amonth, a crore and a half of people every year.That is, we are adding one Australia every year to our population. How arewe going to abolish poverty? What meaning does all this talk of povertyabolition have when millions of people are coming into the job marketevery year, and you are unable to provide for them? We still have over50,000 villages with no drinking water. Many children still don’t go toschool.Why is our social revolution unfinished? Why is it that there are templeswhere “Harijans” (Mahatma Gandhi “Children of God”) are not allowed togo? It is a shame and a disgrace.We also find a sharp and growing confrontation on the basis of religion.We have to use religion in a creative manner. The message of religion islove, compassion, harmony and helpfulness, not conflict. 70
  • 71. We need a “revolution”- the kind of the Indian renaissance, the sort ofrevolution that took place in Bengal in the middle of the 19th Century –with Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen and Ishwar ChandraVidyasagar, with Bhandarkar and Ranade and other great reformers, withTilak and Sri Aurobindo, the great seers and visionaries, with Vivekanandaand Shri Shri Ramakrishna. This is the sort of renaissance that we require ifwe are going to build a truly great country.Because India has a lot to offer to the world. Her sheer size, her culturalcontinuity, her extraordinary vivacity, and her “spiritualism” make itimportant for India to play an important role.May God bless our country.Oh India! - It is true that in 1995, the country’s granaries were overflowingwith unsold grain. At the same time, more than 300 million people wereliving below the poverty line.Our countrymen are too poor to purchase the food produced in their homecountry. Kalahandi district in Orissa is best known for its starvation deaths.In 1996, the district suffered from drought and people died of starvation.Yet the same year, rice production in Kalahandi was higher than thenational average. What often happens is that rice is exported to the center,while some grain is diverted to the black market (some people get awaywith fake ration cards!)?Stark, isn’t it?India is trying to build more sophisticated weapons, but has it been able toprovide a decent education to its children? What do you have to say aboutthe fact that poor, rural women have to walk miles and miles in parchedheat to fetch drinking water? Or, get to the nearest clinic? What about those 71
  • 72. who are forced to live, eat and wash on the roadsides? About traditionalpractices such as Sati, Lausa, dowry and female infanticide? About thehighly unfavorable sex ratio? What about the fact that owing to lack ofsanitary latrines, unfortunate slum dwellers have to defecate on the streets,river banks, parks; etc. under conditions detrimental to health and theenvironment? Also, the fact that endemic dysentery and diarrhoea carryaway millions of children every year? What about the high value placed onentertainment, especially films? And sex, violence and obscenity? Rampantconsumerism? Corruption? Debt? What about the damage being caused toour fragile ecosystems?May God bless India,May God bless every country.Food and famine: starvation amidst plenty – the Bengal Famine of 1943:(Source: Human Development Report, date could not be recalled)Nature often avenges herself on hapless humanity in one very dangerousmanner – local food shortages, which turn to famine in the hands of man.People go hungry not because food is not available – but because theycannot afford it. This is what happened in the Bengal Famine of 1943.Between 2 and 3 million lives were lost, even though there was no overallshortage of food.The famine was partly caused by an economic boom. War-related activitiessuddenly increased, exerting powerful inflationary pressures on theeconomy and causing food prices to rise. In the urban areas, those withwork could pay these prices. But in the rural areas, agricultural laborers andother workers found that they could no longer afford to eat, and many 72
  • 73. people headed for the cities, particularly Calcutta, hoping to survive. Priceswere then driven even higher by speculation and panic buying.Timely government action could probably have averted the famine. But thecolonial government did nothing to stop hoarding by producers, traders andconsumers. They only “waited and saw”. Relief work was totallyinadequate, and the distribution of food grains in the rural districts wasinefficient. Even in October 1943, with 1, 00,000 sick and destitute peopleon Calcutta’s streets, the government still went on denying the existence ofa famine.What resulted was one of the largest man-made catastrophes of our time.And this has a direct impact on poverty.What then, does “food security” mean?It means that all people at all times have both physical and economic accessto basic food, which requires not just enough food to go round. Peopleshould have ready access to food – that they have an “entitlement” to food,by growing it for themselves, by buying it or by taking advantage of apublic food distribution system. Therefore, that food is available is not asufficient condition of security, and people can starve even when enoughfood is available – as has actually happened during many famines.Food is available in the world. And there is enough food to offer everyonein the world around 2,500 calories a day – 200 calories more than the basicminimum.But not everyone gets enough to eat. The problem is the poor distributionof food and a lack of purchasing power, among other factors. Some 800million people around the world go hungry. In Sub-Saharan Africa, foodavailability has considerably increased in recent years, and yet about 240 73
  • 74. million are undernourished and in South Asia, 30% of babies are bornunderweight, a sad indication of the fact that people, particularly women(who often eat after the entire household) have inadequate access to food.Access to food comes from access to assets, work and an assured income;therefore, these are the problems that the state has to tackle at the earliest.The world as it is‘… A sequel to what lies ahead….’“Let us be clear as to what is our ultimate aim. It is not just the negation ofwar, but the creation of a world of security and freedom, of a world whichis governed by justice and the moral law. We desire to assert the pre-eminence of right over might and the general good against selfish andsectional aims.”- Clement Attlee, British PM, in 1946… There are the prosperous nations such as those of Western Europe andNorth America, and the poorer developing countries that cannot afford toprovide adequate food, water, health care, and education for their people…- Vastly improved communications and the growth of international tradehave made the world “a smaller place” with nations increasingly dependentupon each other.And yet, today, we are becoming increasingly envious of one another, andprepared to take up arms. Conflict within countries is now more rampantthan ever before…There is much human suffering and people are on the brink of starvation inmany countries of the Third World… and then there are war casualties and 74
  • 75. severe shortages of food and other essentials like fuel, housing, work,clothing and education… disease is rife… and then, there are the world’s“refugees” (remember Sarajevo?).Children are suffering from hunger, disease and illiteracy. Clean water hasto be provided, schools have to be repaired and children have to be takencare of. Relief has to be brought to children caught up in civil strife,epidemics of disease or natural disasters.We have witnessed a gross violation of human rights across the globe…The fact that the nearest antenatal care clinic for pregnant mothers in ruralareas is often miles away… is so disheartening… and that developmentprojects often displace thousands of people…Poverty is the worst disease known to mankind. “Poverty” does not meanmerely not having enough money to buy everything the developingcountries want. It means not having enough to provide people withessentials such as sufficient food, shelter, health care, work and education.In the cities, people have to “fight for survival” in any way they can.Survival was beyond the victims of the drought in the Sahel region ofAfrica hit by decades of crop failure. Millions suffer from extrememalnutrition.One of the ways of measuring poverty is to look at “life” in differentcountries (for example, life expectancy). We can also count the number ofbabies who die in the first year of life (in Afghanistan, one out of fivebabies does not survive until its first birthday). As for food, an intake ofabout 2300 calories a day is regarded by nutrition experts as the averagedaily nutritional requirement for most people (in Bangladesh, the averagecalorie intake is less than two-thirds of what is needed for good health).Another indicator of poverty is the availability of clean water. Germs 75
  • 76. carried in impure water spread many fatal diseases (e.g. cholera anddysentery). According to estimates, over a quarter of the world’spopulation cannot obtain safe water for their everyday needs. In healthcare, also, there is a huge difference between developed and developingcountries.In many poor countries, shortage of energy supplies holds back economicprogress. There is a need to explore new energy technologies, for example,power using geothermal heat from deep inside the earth’s crust.“Development” goes beyond providing seeds and equipment. It alsoinvolves developing a country’s farming skills and much-neededknowledge and expertise (on training) which will finally guide adeveloping country to food-sufficiency.For some developing countries, it will be difficult for farming to bringprosperity. Nepal, which is one of the world’s poorest countries, isdependent almost entirely on farming. However, only about one-fifth of itsland is suitable for farming. Most of Nepal’s population lives in the hills,where the terrain is sloping, the soil is of poor quality and the climateunpredictable and often violent.Countries like Nepal are the most challenging to development planners.Very often, floods and landslides can ruin work by carrying away irrigationchannels, together with the growing crops. Also, forests get depleted,loosening soil for agriculture. Yet, “hill farmers” have no other source offuel for cooking and heating.The size of the “gap” between rich and poor countries is mammoth. Thiscalls for enormous investment. 76
  • 77. “…. It is not true that there is insufficient food to go round...” so said JohnFerguson, in “Not Them But Us” … “The grain produced, if properlydistributed, would give every human being ample protein and more than3000 calories a day. But a third of the grain produced is fed to animals.There are terrifying anomalies. In 1971 during acute drought the countriesof the Sahel actually exported 15 million kilos of vegetables, mainly toEurope. In 1974, after the floods in Bangladesh, people could not afford therice which was actually available.”And, then, there is the darker side of development. A great deal of aid is inthe form of loans that the countries must pay back with interest. Thisburden of “debt” adds to the problems of the poorest countries.“If the governments cannot agree to feed the world, they cannot agreeabout anything”, said Boyd Orr.The Sahel is a strip of land along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert inAfrica. Drought and overgrazing of the sparse vegetation in the past led toexpansion of the desert, resulting in starvation and death for herdsmen,their families and their animals. Ethiopia and Somalia were the worstsufferers. The crisis worsened with civil war and a rapidly growingpopulation… resulting in one of the greatest human disasters in history. In1985 and 1986, humanitarian aid poured in from all directions, but overone million people perished of starvation. This vicious attack stunnedaudiences all over the world. As for Uganda, even in normal times,Ugandans eat, on an average, much less food than they need, which leavesthem disease-prone, and in cases of crop failure, to famine.I feel sorry for the poor. We go on… 77
  • 78. The “green revolution” aimed at improving the productivity of farmers inthe developing countries and enabling them feed themselves. Between1950 and 1985 the total land area of the world made fertile by irrigationdoubled. New strains of cereal seeds were introduced; along with the use ofartificial fertilizers and pesticides. World cereal production went up.Countries like China and India greatly benefited. And yet, poor (small)farmers using hand tools, failed to afford the new seeds or the fertilizers,and the small size of their farms made it difficult to employ agriculturalmachinery. The revolution definitely led to better crops and less hunger.But it produced adverse social and economic effects. In recent years, moreemphasis is being placed on agricultural development projects targeted atsmall farmers.“Development aid” is a very complex issue. The money is not always wellspent. Some of it goes on government palaces and such luxuries as artificialsport(s) turfs and conference halls. The money does not always reach thetarget groups, but percolates down into the pockets of politicians andofficials, or is used to pay the defense forces. The “gap” remains…World War III? By the mid-50s, many renowned world figures – like theBritish philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell and the Americanscientist Linus Pauling – doubted whether the world would survive to theyear 2000 without blowing itself to pieces.There has been no world war during the life of the United Nations. Since1945, no nation has dropped a nuclear bomb on another nation. There hasbeen no nuclear war. Space, which could have been a kind of storehousefor nuclear weapons, has been kept free of arms. (How long will thiscontinue? what about Afghanistan?) 78
  • 79. The message is love; we all live in the same world and must learn to shareit-or perish.We have survived, and yet there are many more miles to go…On India: -teachings of Swami Vivekananda:From “India – Cause of Her degeneration”: -Among several causes: - ‘I consider that the great national sin is the neglectof the masses, and that is one of the causes of our downfall. No amount ofpolitics would be of any avail until the masses in India are once more welleducated, well – fed, and well-cared for?’From “India – The Way to Her Regeneration”: -‘India is to be raised, the poor are to be fed, education is to be spread, andthe evil of priestcraft is to be removed. … More bread, more opportunityfor everybody! ….– Your duty at present is to go from one part of the country to another, from village to village, and make the people understand that mere sitting about idly won’t do any more. Make them understand their real condition and say, “O ye brothers all arise! Awake! How much longer would you remain asleep!” Go and advise them how to improve their own condition, and make them comprehend the sublime truths of the scriptures, by presenting them in a lucid and popular way… also, instruct them, in simple words, about the necessities of life, and in trade, commerce, agriculture, etc. If you cannot do this, then fie upon your education and culture, and fie upon your studying the Vedas and Vedanta! 79
  • 80. – A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the lord, and nerved to lion’s courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the down-trodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of social raising – up – the gospel of equality.– The hope lies in you- in the meek, the lowly but the faithful. Have faith in the Lord,… feel for the miserable and look up for help- it “shall come”-– India will awake, when hundreds of large – hearted men and women giving up all desires of enjoying the luxuries of life, will lay and exert themselves to their utmost for the well-being of the millions of their countrymen who are gradually sinking lower and lower in the vortex of destitution and ignorance. Good motives, sincerity and infinite love can conquer the world.– You merge yourself in the void and disappear, and let new India arise in your place. Let her arise – out of the peasants’ cottage, grasping the plough, out of the huts of the fisherman, the cobbler and the sweeper. Let her spring from the grocer’s shop, from beside the oven of the fritter-seller. Let her emanate from the factory, from marts and from markets. Let her emerge from the groves and forests, from hills and mountains.– Say, elevation of the masses without injuring their religion.– Remember that the nation lives in the cottage. But, alas! Nobody ever did anything for them. Our modern reformers are very busy about widow-remarriage. Of course, I am a sympathizer in every reform, but 80
  • 81. the fate of a nation does not depend upon the number of husbands their widows get, but upon the “condition of the masses”. Can you raise them? Have faith in yourselves, great convictions are the mothers of great deeds. Onward for ever! Sympathy for the poor, the downtrodden, even unto death-this is our motto…’– Many projects that the industrial countries support in the Third World have global effects. Controlling the flow of drugs and halting the spread of communicable diseases are projects that serve the interests of industrial countries – and humanity.Poor countries assist with the security of the rich ones in several ways: Environmental controls – most of the world’s tropical forests are in the developing countries, and it is in everyone’s interest to preserve them so as to help slow global warming and maintain biodiversity. The world community should share the cost of environmental preservation; Controlling communicable diseases – a global joint initiative should be launched to control such diseases as malaria, TB, cholera and HIV/AIDS, which is of interest to countries worldwide. It is much more meaningful to initiate global vaccination campaigns against a contagious disease than to exclude individual carriers at national frontiers. It is easier to clean up the water supply in cholera – prone 81
  • 82. countries than to monitor all the agricultural produce they export. The world community will stand to gain from slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Investment upstream can curtail the spread of the disease; Control of drugs: experience shows that curbing demand for narcotics is more crucial than curbing supply. A truly global effort is needed;Famine, pollution, ethnic violence and AIDS – their consequences canspread rapidly worldwide. Other problems that require international actionand have to be “nipped in the bud” are international terrorism, nuclearproliferation, natural disasters and excessive international migration.Motivation for aid: the process of development along with official foreignassistance-has had more successes than its critics usually concede.Development cooperation has enabled vital technologies-like vaccines forchildren to hybrid seeds-spread rapidly throughout the developing world. Itis true that not all development models have been right, or that not alltechnology has been appropriate. But, we must remember, that without thistransfer of financial resources, technology, expertise and equipment,development in the poorer countries would have been much slower.To genuinely benefit the poor, aid will have to become much moreparticipatory and people-centered. Open public discussions on aid will helpaid become more effective-and to help remove disparities in society...talking about regions where the needs are the greatest…Costing essential human development targets, 1995-2005: source: HumanDevelopment Report, UNDP, 1994: - 82
  • 83. ApproximateSector Specific Targets annual additional costs♦ Education ♦ Basic education for all and adult illiteracy $5 to $6 billion reduced by 50% with female illiteracy no higher than male♦ Health ♦ Primary health care for all, including $5 to $7 billion complete immunization of all children ♦ Reduction of under-five mortality by one- half or to 70 per 1,000 live births whichever is less! ♦ Elimination of severe malnutrition and a 50% reduction in moderate malnutrition♦ Population ♦ Basic family planning package available $10 to $12 billion to all willing couples♦ Low-cost ♦ Universal access to safe drinking water $10 to $15 billion water supply and sanitationTotal for priority human agenda $30 to $40 billionGlobal governance for the 21st Century: “mankind’s problems can nolonger be solved by national governments. What is needed is a worldgovernment.This can best be achieved by strengthening the United Nations system. Insome cases, this would mean changing the role of UN agencies from advice– giving to implementation. Thus, the FAO would become the worldministry of agriculture, UNIDO would become the world ministry ofindustry, and the ILO the world ministry of social affairs. 83
  • 84. In other cases, completely new institutions would be needed. These couldinclude, for example, a permanent world police…Other institutions could include an ocean authority… and an analogousouter space authority, to deal with matters such as outer space, aviation andinformation satellites.But some of the most important institutions would be financial – a worldtreasury and a world central bank. The world treasury would serve as aworld ministry of finance… in addition, there should be a world centralbank based on a reformed IMF to deal, among other things, with monetary,banking and stock exchange policies…There should also be a redistribution at the international level throughdevelopment co-operation…Some of these proposals are, no doubt, far-fetched and beyond the horizonof today’s political possibilities. But the idealists of today often turn out tobe the realists of tomorrow.”-Jan Tinbergen, winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize for Economics. 84
  • 85. CHAPTER 5B THE WORLD AS IT ISWhen the well of fight dries up:“I have seen many droughts, perhaps this is the worst of the century.Further on in the hapless desert I came by another set of dwellings. A mansat there, lonesome, with not even flies to swat. His cattle were all dead orgone. The last of his two cows lay dead nearby under the claws of a broodof vultures, their wings fanning an air that reeked of something that mustbe called death.It would be a joke, a rather cruel one, to ask these people which side of thepoverty line they lie on. And it would be ruthlessly unkind to inform themof the morning’s headlines of all the crisis management cries thenewspapers are full of, of all the grains and fodder that are rolling out ofthe government’s godowns for the dearest of the dear: those below thepoverty line.Actually, what do they know about poverty lines and what those below itare supposed to get? The government does and its many agents do-contractors, fair price shop owners, bursars of poverty alleviation funds.Aren’t they the ones who really define that line called poverty???”– excerpts from “The Worst Drought of the Century”, The Telegraph, India, 26/4/2000.I wish to bring to your attention the fact that there has been a “nationalwater crisis” (India) in the recent past. Chronically water-deficit areas like 85
  • 86. Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan as well as some other states in Indiahave experienced disaster.Relief funds, food grains, fodder and rushing trains carrying water to theaffected areas are not sufficient enough. They are short-term remedies.What India needs today is sound water (resource) management. Thepresence of officials is not sufficient a condition (as a remedy). Is a nation(India) that prides itself on constituting 30 % of software professionalsworldwide and that has emerged as the highest milk producer in the worldtoo poor to implement sound water management schemes? If several NGOsand people’s groups can devise locally viable water conservation schemes,can’t the government implement schemes that would do away with droughtforever?Almost 30 years back, we came up with the idea of a “national water grid”-a scheme to interlink all rivers of the country to solve for all time theproblems of drought, desertification, floods etc. This scheme was shelved.We can off course build storage tanks in villages for recharging of a deadriver. God bless our country. God bless all nations in similar situations. - (source: a national daily) What follow are extracts from “Every Girl’s Handbook” by RogerCoote, 1994: Rich world, poor world: the world is divided between developedcountries, which make most of their money from industry and finance, and 86
  • 87. poorer developing countries that rely mainly on farming. Most developingnations are in Africa, Asia and South and Central America.Food and famine: the world produces more than enough food to feed itsentire population, and yet there are many many people who do not haveenough to eat. The reason for this is that the world’s food is not evenlyshared out.The largest food producers: the countries that produce the most food are theUSA, China, the CIS and India. Both China and India are developingnations, and although they produce vast amounts of food, they also havevery large populations to feed- many of whom are too poor to buy as muchfood as they need.The richest countries grow more food than their people need, while poorercountries often can’t grow enough. About 70% of the world’s grain is eatenby people in the rich, developed countries, which have only 20%of thepopulation.To earn money, poor countries often grow “cash crops”- crops such ascoffee, bananas, tobacco and cotton that can be sold to richer nations. Thisleaves less land for poor farmers, and means that even less food can begrown.The worst situation of all occurs when a poor country suffers wars ordrought- a period when not enough rain falls-lasting several years. Cropscannot be grown because of the fighting, or the plants die in the fields forlack of water. The result is that the people have even less to eat than usual,and often many thousands of them starve to death. 87
  • 88. Industry: since the industrial revolution, which began in eighteenth-centuryBritain, most industries have come to rely on machines to make theirproducts. At first, machines were driven by waterpower and coal-firedsteam engines, and later by electricity and diesel engines. Machines canmake things faster and more cheaply than people, and only a few expensiveitems are still made by hand.In many wealthy, developed nations, heavy industries such as mining, steelmaking and shipbuilding are declining. They are being replaced by serviceindustries, including banking, insurance, tourism and leisure, and by lightindustries such as electronics.Another trend is for more and more industrial processes to be controlled bycomputers and carried out by robots.Resources and energy: resources are things such as fuels, the raw materialsfrom which products are made, and plants and animals that supply suchthings as food, timber and natural fibers.The land itself is also a resource. In some places it is being grazed by toomany animals and is becoming dry desert where nothing grows.Many resources are now being used up far faster than nature can replacethem. This is most true of fossil fuels-oil, gas and coal-from which most ofour energy is made.At present, the developed countries use far more energy than the poorerdeveloping nations. But as the poorer countries become moreindustrialized, they will consume more and more energy. 88
  • 89. Some species of fish are disappearing because of overfishing-too many arebeing caught before they are able to breed. Stocks of cod, herring, haddockand other common fish are now at an all time low.We can make our resources last longer if we reuse and recycle them, anduse renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. These actionswould also cut down on pollution and reduce the damage caused bymining.Religions: throughout the world, there are many different religions, alltrying to give their followers an explanation for the aspects of life that arebeyond our control. There are four major religions: Christianity, Islam,Hinduism and Buddhism. Other religions include Judaism, Sikhism,Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism and Jainism. One of the oldest religionsis “animism”, in which people believe there is a god or spirit in everyobject, from animals and plants to rocks and rivers.Population: the world’s population is about 5575000000 (approx. 557crores) people and this number is growing by 96000000 (approx. 9.6crores) each year. The United Nations has estimated that by the year 2050,it will have reached 10000000000 (approx. 1000 crores). Most of thegrowth in population is occurring in the poorer countries of the world,where people are now living longer because of better health care, and morebabies are being born, too.The papacy is opposed to abortion and family planning, but familyplanning is a must. Because event - management for this large number ofpeople would be difficult under the present circumstances of world politics(ethnic and nationalistic sentiments rising, anti-race sentiments). Whetherthe one child norm should be enforced or implemented raises certain moral 89
  • 90. (nee-ethical) questions. No change should be enforced but implemented.The one-child norm could be implemented in developing countries whereboth the health of the mother and the health of the child are at stake. Theeconomies of scale operate in the case of Third World hunger, malnutritionand reproductive status of women, hence the need for birth control. As forabortion, it is a matter of choice. Both the lives of the mother and the foetusare at stake. In the case of unwanted pregnancy, abortion may be fruitfullycarried out. To prevent unwanted pregnancy, knowledge of sex andmorality (to prevent delinquent behavior) is required. Talking about sexeducation, let us discuss whether there has been a sexual revolution inIndia. 90
  • 91. CHAPTER 6A“We will not be forced back into the ‘biology is destiny’ concept that seeksto define, confine and reduce women and girls to their physical sexualcharacteristics. We will not let this happen – not in our homes, ourworkplaces, our communities, our countries…..”– From message from NGO women to UN member states, the Secretariat and the Commission on the Status of Women, April 3, 1995“Unisexual sport” – one of the best ways to bring the two sexes together-There are greater issues than the exposure of the human anatomy incinema-Sex creates greater inequality between men and women than anything elsedoesWorldwide, 13 million children - more than the child population of the UK– have been orphaned because of AIDS –Six people under the age of 25, are infected with HIV every minute –This is about the “Lesbian Avengers”, a creative action group that usesgrass-roots activism to fight for lesbian survival and visibility. They struckat an anniversary conference of an organization for children in the UK…The organization had cancelled the appearance of a popular TV comedian,Sandi Toksvig, after she had come out publicly as a lesbian a month before.They shouted: “she (Sandi) isn’t here because she said she is a queer.”Later, Toksvig said, “Perhaps there is a theory that in expressing mysexuality, I have lost my compassion and concern for others in the world.”And Toksvig (actually) happened to be the co-parent of three children anda regular helper to the organization for many years. 91
  • 92. “People in the U.S.Used to thinkThat if girls were good at sportsTheir sexuality would be affected.Being feminineMeant being a cheerleader,Not an athlete.The image of womenIs changing now.You don’t have to be prettyFor people to come and see you play.”- Martina Navratilova, former tennis champion.Shockingly, in the island nation of Sri Lanka (in fact, all over the world)the wealthy can “buy” sex with young men and boys. A major racket inchild sex abuse was unearthed sometime back. 92
  • 93. CHAPTER 6BSEXUAL REVOLUTION IN INDIA – A MYTH OR A REALITY“It is evident that every emission of semen in such a way that generationcannot follow, is contrary to the good of men. And if this is donedeliberately, it must be a sin”- said Thomas Aquinas. Over the years, sexand sexuality have been very sensitive issues, but in the past, not manygreat men have done revolutionary thinking in this context.Aristotle’s view stressed that “it is man’s nature to rule, while it iswoman’s nature to be ruled.” Dr. Sigmund Freud, the father ofPsychoanalysis, was certainly no great advocate of the feminist cause. Heshocked the Victorian world with his views on “infantile sexuality”, butmaintained an orthodox stand in sexual differences.There is off course nothing new in these arguments. but I shudder to thinkthat sex should be repressed in India, the land which produced the“Kamasutra”, fifteen hundred years ago, a manual on the act of sex whichwas so explicit (erotic temple sculptures?) and daring that its sale wasbanned in America. The question is, if Indian society was so uninhibitedonce, as during the time of Vatsyayana (the author of the “Kamasutra”),why did it become so prudish? Is it a revolution or a mere superficialchange? Is it a sign of a new beginning? Now, a “revolution” occurs whena complete change has taken place (this goes for everything). To“revolutionize” is to alter (everything) completely. This is also known as“revival” or “renaissance”. 93
  • 94. “Reality” is the quality of being real, not imaginary. A situation can betermed as “real” when what seems, is actually what is…A “myth” contrasts with truth and reality.Let us view the present sexual trends in India in the light of these terms. Aspark has been ignited. We come to see a change in terms of the parametersof family, marriage and social class. The media is providing all the meansfor stimulation of the sexual drive. It is no longer reluctant to show sexmore explicit than before and vulgar and erotic Hindi movies seethe with asexual current. Also, now we have condom ads and sex educationdocumentaries as well as adult movies. Daily newspapers promiseforbidden joy.Sex has now changed from marital to premarital and extramarital forms.Dating is becoming common. There has been an increase in the number ofabortions. Increase is also seen in the demand for contraceptives andsexually stimulating pornographic magazines and movies. The gay culturehas already come to India. The World Health Organisation (WHO)estimates that India will have the largest number of AIDS patients in theworld. Previously reluctant parents are now sending their daughters to latenights and overnights. A revolution, if any, has been seen more among theyounger generation, with the middle classes getting affected the most.We know that India is fast emerging as one of the most industrializednations in the world. (What about agriculture?) The super computerrepresents the beginning of an Indian techno-revolution. Recycling ofwaste in the Indian cities represents the beginning of an ecologicalrevolution. (Has there been an ecological revolution really, in Delhi, thestars cannot be seen at night?) Sterilized needles herald a medicalrevolution. (Has a medical revolution reached the remote villages?) Does 94
  • 95. then the growing AIDS awareness mark the beginning of a sexualrevolution?There is the other side of the story. The reality is that we have a distortedversion of the changes that have occurred.Today, the average Indian is experimenting more with things related to sex.Yet, the degree of advancement in these matters in our country is still lessthan (that) in the West. Though the media is providing all the means ofstimulation, it is not channelizing the sexual drive in a proper manner.There is a vast difference in attitudes towards sex within the country. Sexin day-to-day life is not accepted openly. Women are still not comfortableabout their sexuality. Still in some places, women are kept secluded duringthe period of menstruation.Added to this, now, there is access to pornography on the internet. Young,impressionable minds are getting access to the internet. Yes, daddy’spresent – a computer??? And is there a need for “cybernetic sex”??? Aseparate issue altogether!In India, feminine sexuality still stands rejected and it is male sexuality,which is always acceptable. For some women, sex is a wifely duty. TheIndian man enjoys conjugal rights over his wife and marriage can beannulled on the basis that she refused him sex.Osho Rajneesh said, “In India, atleast 98% of women have never had anorgasm.” The suppression of sex seems terrible in North India wherepeople make vulgar comments on young couples.Apart from all this, sex education is still missing in most Indian schools.There is lack of proper information, which has led people to manymisconceptions. The Indian man still complains of premature ejaculation 95
  • 96. and is anxious about masturbation. Interaction between the sexes isconfined to the highly educated. There is still a lot of social stigma attachedto open expression of affection in public.When asked about vulgarity on MTV, media baron Rupert Murdoch saidthat he had been thinking of banning MTV till he watched our Hindimovies. Our own movies are showing increasing amounts of sex andviolence. AIDS has come to India and this is a very real threat andunprotected sex is one of the major causes. We still do not have condom-vending machines in rural areas as targeted.Prostitution (largely forced) is a big evil. But have we been able to providealternative means of livelihood to these sex workers? Have we provided forthe education of their children? Can we attempt to evacuate them and builda separate township for them so that they can lead decent lives???One major disadvantage about sex coming out of the closet in wronglychannelized ways is that it is now turning up in unexpected and sometimesunwanted places. The best example of this is the booming soft pornmagazine industry. Until some years ago, “Debonair” was the only softporn magazine. Now, there are over 5 such magazines; each one with acirculation of over 40,000 per issue. More and more neighborhood videolibraries are now offering hard core pornographic movies. The problem isthat there is no control over the age limit of customers for such movies andmagazines. A young boy or girl going through them might end up withtwisted ideas about sex, which may last for the rest of his or her life.Another serious drawback is the rapidly changing attitudes and lifestyles ofthe young people which parents of the middle class do not know how tohandle. In some cases, the youngsters themselves do not know how to 96
  • 97. handle these matters, like an incident in which a 17 year old girl wasmurdered by an 18 year old boy.Attitudes like these have to be guarded against. The solution is not to goback to a time when the very word sex was taboo. It is to make people havenot only more openness in matters related to sex but a more correct andresponsible attitude towards it. Sex education should be made compulsoryin schools so those children can build up a proper attitude from thebeginning. And parents have to be taught that beyond a certain age it isbetter to explain those tough issues.For animals, sex is a means of reproduction. For human beings, however,sex involves much more than reproduction. It has natural and importantbiological, psychological and sociological effects on the lives of humanbeings.Even though the so-called sexual revolution has come full circle in theWest, sex is far from being safe and healthy. The winner of a formerAmerican beauty pageant for children, a little girl of six, was sexuallyharassed. Is this what we want in India when we talk about the need of asexual revolution???What about the rural and urban slum areas where women have no controlover issues related to sex and reproduction????The teacher’s duty is not only to teach his subjects but also impart correctvalues, correct morals and ethics to our children. Sex and moral educationshould begin in the classroom, whether a modern, urban classroom or aslum class session or a rural area classes session. Besides, it is essential tofight for women’s reproductive rights. 97
  • 98. The idea of a sexual revolution is evident in the words of Jo Mattison:“every person should rid himself or herself of self-hate and see theabsurdity of denying his or her sexuality.”This idea is by itself entirely Western. Today, not even the West is happywith such a revolution. Until the average Indian feels proud of his or herown sexuality, the idea of a sexual revolution in India will remain a mythand only a myth.From here, let us analyze the impact on society of a change in color of therevolution… 98
  • 99. CHAPTER 7A(For writing this chapter, I have consulted quite a bit of literature onagriculture and rural development)In countries where farming is the mainstay of the economy, agricultureshould be made a full-fledged industry. More and more foreign investmentshould be poured in. To combat poverty, more money should be pouredinto small industries and agriculture. At the same time, we should makeefforts to spread literacy and give incentives (and disincentives) to controlpopulation.No nation has attained strength and power until it overcame its problems onthe land and established a sound agriculture to support other kinds ofeconomic growth.- Anonymous– Farmers in the USA and other developed countries can afford expensive equipment to pump water from below the ground to irrigate their crops. This option is very often not available in the developing world. There, farmers may or may not be able to afford the equipment, and in many places there is no source of water.– Methods and organization of production and business in Africa, Asia and Latin America greatly need modernizing… the greater strength of the countries of the “North” comes from the fact that they have already carried out this work of modernization. Most of them have passed through an industrial revolution – in other words, their hand-production has given way to machine-production. So, what has their coming to the “South” done for its modernizing? Trade has expanded… but? What 99
  • 100. about the backlash of this “colonial development”?? Poverty (largely, rural)???? …traditions have been dying! The most successful farmers have often got into debt because the prices they are paid are not covering their costs of production. There are no proper facilities for borrowing money from banks… and no access to cheap credit… and a long term consequence… because of export, very little food can be grown for local use…leading to serious… local food shortages…– adapted from “Look Into a Barren Field of Farm Policy”Author – a former agriculture minister of India (the Telegraph, India, 12July 2000):Instead of daydreaming, the Indian government should take a good hardlook at the country’s farming sector, which determines the livelihood fortwo-thirds of the country’s population…The prices of products farmers have to buy have been rising faster than theprices of the produce they grow… when the agricultural growth rate fallsbelow the population growth rate, the result is bound to be an increase inrural poverty… The policy framework must encourage high investment inrural assets, and channel public expenditure towards supportiveinfrastructure…The existing restrictions to movement of agricultural produce betweenstates should be eliminated, so that farmers can benefit from a singlenational market…Survival in the global agricultural market depends on comparative access tosubsidies and cheaper inputs…India’s agricultural potential is great. Its farm production could beincreased manifold, if the following basic steps are observed… 100
  • 101. First, agriculturists should be made literate. Only one in four farmers canmeasure the size of his field, or calculate how much fertilizer or pesticideneeds to be applied to his fields.Second, India’s villages need to be linked by all weather roads.Third, a more efficient marketing system is needed for farm products. Theefficiency of such a system should be judged by how much of the consumerprice is actually passed on to the producer.In India, most of the money consumers pay for agricultural product goes tomiddlemen rather than farmers. A network of rural warehouses needs to beestablished.Farmers should be allowed to deposit their produce in such places and getbank advances worth up to 80 per cent of the price of the productsdeposited…In course of time, such warehouses will serve as direct links betweenproducers and consumers, even with wholesale traders. This wouldeliminate the horde of middlemen.Finally, the mechanization of Indian agriculture needs to be accelerated.Indian agriculture is most mechanized in Punjab, the state whereunemployment and the incidence of poverty is the lowest … Japan andSouth Korea have shown that small land holdings are no impediment tomechanization.And yes, corruption in the system has to be weeded out…- All Soviet - style economies collapsed by 1990. But India is yet to heedthe warning. Globalization leads to neo - colonialism, for instance, cheaperimports of consumer goods causes great risk to small industrial units…Disparities of income and wealth between regions and between individuals 101
  • 102. have widened, and we now have a mass of destitutes without food,employment, shelter, or hope…. These are “Outcasts of the Global Village”and most of them are confined to the Third World…Actually, what do the information revolution, our new fashion houses, ourbeauty parlors, our Chinese or Thai or Italian restaurants and the MissWorld or Miss Universe pageants mean to the "victims” of globalization?-Soil and water are of crucial importance to mankind. However, availablesoil and water resources in the world are being continually depleted anddegraded. Reckless felling of trees, improper land use and plugging ofnatural drains are leading to continued loss in land productivity, severeerosion, in turn, the loss of valuable top soil and its nutrients, drought,floods, sedimentation of reservoirs, wastage of precious water, ecologicalcrisis and impoverishment in rural areas. Technical and socio-economicknowledge - based approach coupled with people’s participation can arrestthis degradation, conserve soil and water in a process called “watershedmanagement”, promoting livelihood and ecological sustainability.-In the context of increase in agricultural production, one can think eitherof an expansion of irrigation or increase in fertilizer use or increase in areaunder “high-yielding variety” (HYV) cultivation. One can also think ofmixing these three technologies in different proportions. It is worth notingthat capital which is needed for irrigation is of a traditional variety wherecoal, iron and cement are the major inputs. Fertilizers are petro-chemicals.Although HYV can be successfully used with irrigation and fertilizer, it issusceptible to pests, and “pesticides” have to be employed… talking about“choices in agriculture”!– A vast majority of the world’s farmers are economically backward and poor. Therefore, many farmer families raise crops with the sole 102
  • 103. intention of household consumption, or for “subsistence” only. They generally do not use machinery and hired labor and do not think of selling their produce in the market. These poor farmers remain deprived of other basic essentials such as shelter, clothing, health care and education.On the other hand, many crops, especially tea, coffee, rubber, indigo andjute are grown with the prime motive of selling the produce in the market.Machines are put to use for various works, laborers are hired, and the cropsare grown for “commercial” purposes.In many parts of the world, cattle rearing are practiced extensively. Thefarms are very big in size. Animals are reared for different purposesfollowing scientific management techniques.“Co - operative” farming becomes necessary in those countries whereholdings are very small and uneconomic, or bad economic conditions donot permit individual farming to be profitable. Amul Dairy is one of themost successful co-operative farms in India.-Joske Bunders, Bertus Haverkort and Wim Hiemstra define“Biotechnology” as” the application of indigenous and/or scientificknowledge to the management of (parts of) micro - organisms, or of cellsand tissues of higher organisms, so that these supply goods and services ofuse to human beings”. The real challenge lies in developing appropriatebiotechnology for the rural poor.What we need today is an “evergreen revolution”, where biologicalproductivity can be improved without damaging the environment.Biotechnology becomes essential to sustain agriculture in the long run. 103
  • 104. -“Rural development can (and should) involve the creation of an ‘enabling’environment in which rural people can identify their needs and prioritiesand with professional support, organize themselves to improve the qualityof their lives”– His Highness the Aga KhanRural development requires the support of specialized skills, focusedmanagement with perspective, and adaptable technology to improve thequality of rural life.One should have concern for the disadvantaged while organizing ruralpeople towards viability and (self) sustainability through optimal use oflocal resources. The rural poor (themselves) should be allowed todetermine their priorities for development, take joint action inimplementation, and gain access to resources and services available fromgovernment, VO’s etc. Consider this, a change in attitude from merely (forhousehold consumption only)”subsistence agriculture” to “irrigatedfarming” (using the latest technology) can provide “other” basics such asshelter, clothing, health care, safe drinking water, education andemployment, leading to higher standards of living and poverty reduction.Important quality parameters include:i) people’s participation;ii) technical excellence;iii) cost-effectiveness and cost-efficiency;iv) equity;v) sustainability. 104
  • 105. Rural programs should be organized and implemented through appropriatevillage institutions, which would decide, execute and manage thedevelopment programs. Key target areas should be (poor) tribal and / orfamine / drought prone areas. These experiments would greatly benefitrural South Asia, rural Africa and rural Latin America, the poorest‘societies’ of the world.Training can be a crucial support system for institution – building and skill– development of staff as well as village functionaries. More trainingprograms should be run for “extension volunteers” and office – bearers ofvillage institutions. Workshops on “participatory training methodologies”can and should be organized especially in the poorest rural areas.Irrigation systems can be “turned over” from government administration tofarmers’ organizations, as was done successfully in the Philippines in thepast.Policies should always be “people-centered”. Voluntary organizations canplay a crucial role in demonstrating how to build social and physicalinfrastructure. A “participatory” development approach is the need of theday.i) “Turnover” of irrigation schemes effects more efficient irrigation management and speedier implementation of projects. Construction of check dams needs more dialogue and participation from villagers. Sound water resource development is very, very important;ii) When the topography of land is such that the impact of soil and water conservation structures cannot be ascertained, and farmers are left with little incentive to work due to scarcity of top soil and marginal productivity, water harvesting structures can be constructed, under an 105
  • 106. integrated micro-watershed development plan; which can greatly help farmers increase their income from improved agriculture;iii) In a process called “wasteland development”, “greening” can be undertaken by planting trees, grass, saplings; etc to develop unutilized or underutilized lands;iv) In a process of “agriculture development”, a few demonstrations (on small plots of land) can be carried out jointly by farmers and extension volunteers and field exercises can supplement such efforts. This process can scale up agricultural input (moreover, of superior quality), specifically, agricultural development programs reflect specialized needs and farmers’ ability to adopt and adapt to new technologies. For instance, in the case of water resource development programs, there is great emphasis on initiating farmers of lift irrigation projects to the skills and knowledge of cultivating irrigated crops. Emphasis should be placed on high-yielding varieties (HYVS) and improved cropping patterns. On-farm research should be carried out and farmers’ visits to various agricultural universities for specialized inputs in rain-fed farming, seed production, relay cropping practices, grain storage technology, the economics of cultivation, etc. be organized;v) Bio-gas slurry, a high quality organic manure, not only increases yield, but also makes for more porous soil, attracts no flies and mosquitoes and is free from foul smell;vi) The success of any animal husbandry program depends on a) the active participation of the semi-nomad communities, b) a pasture land development scheme acceptable to all communities, c) a reliable veterinary service network, and, d) a viable milk marketing system. We 106
  • 107. must bear in mind that there are strong social, cultural and economic relationships between the pastoral community and “common property resources” like wasteland; pastureland; etc. With the right animal care and feeds, animals produce significantly higher yields. To further improve livestock yield, artificial insemination and immunization of animals through vaccination camps should be carried out. Fodder banks should be established;vii) There is a need to focus on “credit for the disadvantaged”. Villagers have limited access to institutional finance, and in most cases, have to face complicated procedures. Private finance is very costly, exploitative and unavailable for the chronically cash-starved farmers. an “ideal” savings, credit and supply scheme is based on certain “principles” :- (a) physical infrastructure is not sufficient for economic development; (b) schemes to focus on economically weaker sections, like small, marginal and dry-land farmers; (c) all schemes should aim to enhance savings and bring about self – reliance; (d) appraisal and disbursement of schemes should rest with village level functionaries; (e) schemes should be extended to women and the landless, the more vulnerable groups in rural areas, and self-help groups can be formed; (f) crop finance should be extended to village institutions. “Agricultural input supply centers” can be setup to provide inputs at reasonable prices to farmers;Farmers would benefit from “collective” marketing to maximize returns ontheir produce. The main advantage of collective marketing is to providefarmers with a better price for their produce; 107
  • 108. viii) In India, village institutions mainly exist in the form of local self- governments called “Panchayats” and cooperative societies undertaking varied functions. While a few of these bodies have been operating successfully, the majority has not performed satisfactorily. A lack of dynamic leadership, unhealthy politics and corrupt practices are to blame. The main indicators of a good village institution are: (a) growth in economic activities; (b) growth in savings; (c) regular meetings of members; (d) systematic book-keeping; (e) stable leadership; (f) financial discipline of members; (g) effective linkages with external agencies. Some village institutions have actually expanded and need to be recognized as more formal entities;ix) The issue of gender in development should be addressed at the stage of project planning itself. Two important questions come to mind: (a) what is the woman’s role in development? (b) what is the impact of development projects on women? There is a need to change the rural woman’s role in village level from that of a passive recipient to one of an active participant. Savings and credit activities, homestead farming, animal husbandry, agriculture, horticulture, soil and water conservation and biogas plants are some major activities that can be undertaken by rural women. More and more women should be encouraged to participate in “Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA)” exercises. 108
  • 109. Rural women lead a very tough life. PRAs involving both sexes confirm this. “….little did they (the men) think of their women, their punishing work load and a life of drudgery. The women … deserved a better deal… As soon as a woman gets up, she cleans the house… the women collect water after they clean the house… in the absence of a flourmill in the village, women have to grind their grains themselves…. then cook the morning meal… take care of the animals and collect fuelwood from the forest… Carrying food to the field, working in the field at weeding, grazing cattle, cutting fodder, pounding and de-husking of grains, serving food etc. …Even in the summer heat women walk barefoot … they get a lot of smoke in their eyes and body while cooking… they don’t even get water to drink, especially in summer- it is very difficult…” It takes time, and repeated conscientization to change attitudes… such is the stereotyping of women’s status…;(xi) A “participatory approach” to development would consist of a package having three essential instruments :- a) Village institutions (VIS): the role of a village institution is identified chiefly through its requirement in a program. they take up appropriate forms and responsibilities; b) Extension volunteers (EVS): are public-spirited keen learners willing to spend their time and effort to share their knowledge and skills with other villagers. EVS save on staff cost, promote access 109
  • 110. to technology and services, are able to identify with the language and culture of the people, are aware of local strengths and limitations, and are in a position to convince villagers of the value of a proposed project; c) Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA): consists of getting reliable and relevant information about villages in a participatory way. Information can be obtained on local resources, problems, and priorities of development. The PRA technique establishes informal and friendly contact with ordinary people. PRAs have special focus on agriculture, animal husbandry, watershed, biogas, credit, etc. benefits include identification of weaker sections, selection of tree species, identification of training needs for agriculture development program, etc;(xii) NGOs can be strong partners in development and should therefore be given more support in procedures related to seeking technical and administrative sanction and availing themselves of finance.Cattle development: using high quality frozen semen from disease-freebulls can produce calves of superior genetic potential. Pregnancy diagnosismeasures should be taken. Technical field staff should closely interact withthe rural cattle-breeders. There is a need to apply research in the areas ofanimal breeding and animal reproduction. Cattle development cansignificantly reduce rural poverty and under-employment by providingincome-generating assets and gainful self-employment opportunities at thedoorstep.Animal health: the need of the hour is to develop standard quality forhealth, vaccines, diagnostics and pharmaceutical products to optimize the 110
  • 111. potential of livestock and poultry. Monitoring and surveillance of diseasestatus and direct application of recent advances in biotechnologicalinnovations should be the major goal of research on animal health.Education of farmers may be a significant factor in controlling mastitis andother diseases.Agro forestry and afforestation: let us go greening our industrial premises.Let us try to test how well our tree species perform on wastelands underprotective irrigation. Or, how well they perform on saline soils and in anarid environment. Or, how much tolerant are dry zone tree species todrought? Let us set up “seed orchards”. Let us encourage farmers tocultivate medicinal plants. To make barren wastelands more productive, letus develop suitable models of afforestation, soil conservation andhorticulture. This method could rehabilitate many landless families.“Kitchen gardens” can ensure higher participation of women and children.Treated effluent from factories can be used for irrigating plantations andthe sludge as manure to replace farmyard manure which has high organiccontent and plant nutrients. Afforestation programs can generateemployment apart from their other benefits, like conservation of birds andwildlife, and control of air pollution.Bioenergy: socio–economic development and energy consumption aredirectly correlated. With an increase in development, both the quantum ofenergy consumption and the composition of energy sources change, in theformer case; an increase may be registered. In the light of increasing pricesand shortage of conventional non-renewable fossil fuels, renewable energysources assume a very important role. Amongst these, bioenergy has aspecial role, as bio-fuels, apart from being renewable, can be locallyproduced. waste-recycling systems should be established around houses in 111
  • 112. rural areas, including bio-gas, low cost latrines, soak pits, bathing andwashing platform, kitchen garden, vermicompost and mushroomcultivation unit.Social science: self-help groups can be formed, which can help womenresolve their social problems and gender issues. These (self-help) groupsshould be linked to banks. School-based programs can be undertaken toinvolve children in their own development as well as that of thecommunity.Community health: the environmental and social aspects of health areimportant aspects of community health. Hence, activities should be plannedand closely linked with programs focusing on environmental protection,promotion and on improvement of the livelihood of rural poor families.Activities to promote health and prevent morbidity and mortality should beundertaken, with special emphasis being placed on the involvement ofwomen. Local women can be encouraged to be “village health guides”(VHGs) and given training in MCH care, health, nutrition and sanitation.Community health programs (like regular MCH clinics in the rural areas,periodic health camps, schools based programs for nutrition, sanitation,primary treatment, raising of kitchen gardens and plantation of herbalgardens, construction of low-cost sanitary latrines, health activities andtraining, improving quality of drinking water, maintenance of potabilitythrough regular chlorinating) should be undertaken, and applied healthresearch should be carried out. Participatory techniques of data collectionlike village mapping and health mapping and wealth ranking are veryinformative methods of collecting information. It has been found that mostvillages in India still suffer from poor facilities and limited access to healthservices. Regular growth and weight monitoring in village kindergartens 112
  • 113. should be carried out. Teachers should be trained to detect the nutritionalstatus of children and apply corrective measures.Sericulture: provides year – round employment as well as a sustainableincome to the farmer. It also provides raw material for industrialdevelopment in rural areas. An appropriate package of sericulturetechnology (through establishing a grainage for production and supply ofdisease – free layings, introducing suitable mulberry varieties andcultivation practices) should be developed, and applied silkworm rearingand moriculture studies carried out. It would (from the point of view ofpoverty – reduction) be advisable to extend sericulture activity to small andmarginal farmers.“Farm school programs” should be broadcast on air for the benefit of smalland marginal farmers.Cross – breeding for a secure future: low-producing cattle can be upgradedto provide livelihood for millions of rural people. A crossbred cowgenerates a stable income from milk alone. However, that needs goodhealth care, vaccinations and a large amount of concentrated feed. Milk-processing co-operatives help farmers get an assured price for milk. Todevelop cattle, liquid nitrogen has to be regularly supplied to maintainfrozen semen in good condition; timely inseminations and vaccinationshave to be undertaken, and training in skills, feeding and management andwell-organized extension have to be promoted. Farmers should beencouraged to adopt stall-feeding towards regeneration of degradedpastures and improvement of the eco-system.Need to collect germplasm of indigenous tree species: our natural forestsare degenerating very fast and it will be a difficult task to increase the areaunder greencover, until we revised upwards the present afforestation target 113
  • 114. in the near future. The potential of newly introduced exotic tree species isconfined to areas with fertile soils and assured moisture supply. For thevast degraded wastelands, it is necessary to identify indigenous treespecies, which are hardy and produce a variety of commodities, in additionto wood, so that the major income can come from other produce. Thisseems to be an important strategy, as majorities of the villagers do not havethe capacity to buy fuelwood. Collection of superior quality germplasm isthe primary step in producing good quality seed for propagation. Thesuperior germplasm thus selected can be used to establish seed orchards ona large scale to ensure supply of superior quality seed material in the future.Development of wastelands: role of micro-level planning: micro-levelplanning for development of wastelands will be helpful in establishing treeplantation. With minute planning, it is possible to reduce investment andimprove productivity and marketability. Such successful ventures can serveas good demonstrations to motivate a large number of local people to takeactive part in developing our wastelands.Environmental pollution in rural areas: is caused by several factors such asmismanagement of natural resources, poor hygiene and sanitation, use ofagro-chemical and fossil fuels and impact of industries. The best way tomotivate rural people to protect the environment is to link environmentalprotection with income-generating activities. Villagers should be educatedabout their right to have a clean environment so that they can initiatesuitable action wherever necessary to control pollution.Biodiversity and ground realities: it is necessary to preserve our plants andanimals because our present knowledge extends to a few species only andthe benefits of the remaining millions of plant and animal species are not 114
  • 115. known to us. Nevertheless, they play an important role in maintaining theecological balance.The cost of agricultural protection: the industrial countries have achievedagricultural self-sufficiency partly by subsidizing their own farmers – andpartly by raising tariff and non-tariff barriers against foreign producers.This has, however, led to substantial overproduction of grain and butter.This approach, which is very costly, may benefit farmers, but ordinarypeople in the industrial countries find it costly because they have to financethe subsidies by paying higher taxes. Not only this, they are kept awayfrom cheaper foreign produce by barriers to import.Farmers in the developing countries suffer as local prices plummet whenindustrial countries dump surpluses of products like sugar, cereal and beef.In 1991, the European Community dumped 54 million tonnes of frozen andchilled beef in Africa – further impoverishing four million Sahelians whodepend on cattle farming. Farmers in these (developing) countries also loseout because industrial countries to keep their produce out use tariff andnon-tariff barriers.“Liberalizing” the trade in agricultural commodities would definitelybenefit both industrial and developing countries…Sowing an agricultural agenda – Dr. M.S. Swaminathan: India’s leadingagro-scientist: “… famines were frequent in the 19th Century and the 1892– 93 famine claimed about 10 million lives. The famine-avoidance strategyof independent India, with its concurrent emphasis on food production,need-based imports, an effective public distribution system and ruralemployment programmes, has helped to prevent the occurrence of famines(like the Bengal famine of 1942-43). However, widespread under nutrition 115
  • 116. and chronic hunger persist because of inadequate purchasing power at thefamily level. We have now reached a stage where “food for all” can beachieved only through a “jobs for all” programme.Agricultural progress holds the key to India’s socio-political stability, sinceevery citizen is affected by it in one way or another. In 1992, wheneverything else went wrong in the country, starting with the financial scamand ending with the Ayodhya tragedy, the only factor that saved us fromtotal chaos was the work of our farm women and men. In spite of economicdifficulties, they produced as much as possible of grains, oilseeds, milk,sugar and fibre.That is why I feel troubled about the uncertain future facing this primaryindustry, which influences both the food security and the livelihood of over70 per cent of our people.What are the trouble spots? Three E’s-Ecology, Economics and Equity canrepresent them. Ecologically, we have no legal instruments to promotescientific land-use and to prevent the diversion of prime farmland for non-farm uses…In terms of Economics, the impoverishment of the countryside andmarginalization of small farmers and landless labour families continuesunabated…Equity is a distant dream, whether in gender or economic terms. No wonderIndia has the largest number of the world’s poor. The poor especiallydepend on common property resources for their survival. They suffer themost from land abuse, ground water depletion and forest denudation.Women suffer even more, since they have to ensure the household’snutrition security, including safe drinking water. 116
  • 117. It is against this backdrop that we have to consider the next steps in ouragricultural evolution…The challenge now is to keep up the per capita production level and ensurebetter distribution. This will call for an integrated approach to economicentitlements and ecological obligations…The real issues before the country are: how the 100 million farm families can be helped to improve agricultural productivity on an ecologically sustainable basis; how the livelihood security of the landless labour and marginal farmer families can be enhanced through greater opportunities for skilled employment, both in the farm and non-farm sectors; how the youth, who constitute over half our population, can be attracted to farming and retained in farm-related enterprises; how nutrition security, i.e., economic and physical access to balanced diets and safe drinking water, can be assured at the household level; and how India can become a major agricultural power in the world in terms of agricultural trade.First, we must develop public policies and promote people’s action toprotect the ecological foundations essential for sustained advances in crop,animal and fish productivity… also urgent are scientific planning of landand water-use as well as conservation of biological diversity…A second major area is nutrition security at the household level. This isfundamental for the full expression of children’s innate genetic potentialfor physical and mental development. Nutrition security is again dependent 117
  • 118. heavily on multiple sources of income, both farm and non-farm, at thehousehold level.Particular attention to women’s employment and income is essential. Theorganization of a “small farmers’ agri-business consortium” (SFAC) …will help to take the benefits of modern agri-business to the families ofsmall and marginal farmers and landless labour, provided the SFACremains pro-nature, pro-poor and pro-women. It can generate the necessarydegree of convergence and synergy among government agencies andprivate industry. Such a consortium can help to diversify employmentopportunities in villages and promote a dynamic biological softwareindustry involving the rural level production of hybrid seeds, bio-fertilizers,bio-pesticides, veterinary pharmaceuticals and bio-mass based products.Third, we need a technology policy, which will help to improve theeconomic well being of resource-poor families. For example, high yieldingand disease resistant seeds of crops serve as a safety net for resource-poorfarmers and nothing should be done which will deny them access to thefruits of modern breeding technology involving genetic engineering. TheBiovillage programme started in Pondicherry (India) by the Centre forResearch on Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development provides amodel for this goal.Fourth, we should have a marketing strategy, which will promote the flowof a fair share of the consumers’ money to the producers. The experience ofthe dairy sector should be adapted in the case of the other perishablecommodities.Fifth, there is need to promote a small farm extension and managementtechnology… there should also be research on methods of empoweringresource-poor families in eco-management. 118
  • 119. Sixth, investment in rural techno-infrastructure development must bestepped up. Gandhiji’s statement… that the bane of rural India is the drainof brains and financial resources from the village to the city, still holdsgood…Finally, there is need for a clear-cut policy on intellectual property rights inthe field of plant and animal breeding and biotechnology. In the midst ofmuch debate on the patenting of genes and living organisms, we shoulddevelop policies which will harmonize the quest for private profit with theneed for applying technology for public good.”Farmers do not get heard: V. Kurien: “… Amul Dairy started with handling200 litres of milk a day; today, we are handling a million litres a day. Thishappened because the co-operative invested in increased production; andthat, in turn was brought about through investments in programmes todevelop artificial insemination and in-breeding programmes…In dairying, we should follow what the other countries have done. In NewZealand, there is no private sector. Every dairy is owned by the farmer.Seventy per cent of the dairying in the U.S. is with co-operatives. Sri Lankacalls it ‘people-isation’.All that the milk and milk-products order says is that dairies will beinspected to ensure appropriate sanitation levels. But it you want acapitalist to enter this sector, then I would say the farmer will get exploited,unless there is some balance. It is not that all business is done by co-operatives… in every village, there is some milk merchant who collectsmilk to make Mawa (a festive milk product) or ghee (clarified butter)especially during festival time.But co-operatives should not be forced to do losing businesses… 119
  • 120. While I think removal of bureaucratic control on industry is desirable, Iwould have first liberated agriculture. If you leave agriculture in shacklesand liberate industry, industry will further prey upon agriculture. Citiesthrive at the expense of the villages; industry exploits agriculture.Therefore, I object to the sequencing of reforms.I have a feeling that the government thinks that liberalizing industry ispopular. They have forgotten that there is a more important sector of theeconomy, on which more of our people are dependent. But then thegovernment hears only the voices of industry. Farmers do not get heard.With industry being liberalized before agriculture, more money will flowinto the cities. There will be fancy universities in cities and no blackboardsin village schools. The imbalance will be aggravated and then the farmersmay revolt. That danger is real. Since I am in touch with farmers, I knowthat there is unrest and a feeling that the government and bureaucracy aremore sympathetic to industry, and do not care about agriculture.”– Poverty and hunger should be recognized as strong human rights violations, right?– Three regional economic blocs dominate the emerging economic order in a changing world, North America, the European Economic Community and the Asia-Pacific rim (as of 1994-95). The whole trend is towards an economic integration. Technological advancements have taken a quantum jump. In such a scenario, the developing world including India will have to modernize their economies to reap the benefits of the new economic order.Investment in people and knowledge are recognized as a factor deservingof the highest priority. Developing countries like India will, therefore, have 120
  • 121. to reorder their domestic priorities to make the import and absorption ofadvanced technology possible.With each passing year, rich and poor nations alike share an increasinglycommon destiny. The world community must begin to realize that a moreequitable international economic order is not only possible, it is essential.Such a new order, should be based on the fundamental principle that eachnation’s and each individual’s development is the development of everyother nation and every other individual.Liberalization and its impact on the Indian economy: the major changes inIndia’s economic reforms fall broadly under five categories – industrial,trade, financial, fiscal and monetary. However, these measures ofstabilization are not by themselves enough… An important aspect to beconsidered is the large number of people in the country living on thepoverty line. To make any reform process socially acceptable, a povertyalleviation program must be built in. In the context of resource constraints,serious thinking has to be done as to the extent and pace of economicreforms…The government’s ownership of the financial and banking institutions hasenabled it to achieve the multiple objectives of mobilization of resources,enhancement of availability of long-term loans to all levels of industry andagriculture and increased access to credit to small industrialists, farmersand weaker sections of society...However, a large proportion of India’s population continues to be subjectto malnutrition and ill health. For further reduction in fertilizer subsidy,nothing has been worked out… 121
  • 122. The government should provide higher outlays on elementary education,rural drinking water supply, assistance to small and marginal farmers,programs for women and children, programs for welfare of scheduledcastes and scheduled tribes and the weaker sections of the society, andincreased expenditure on infrastructure and employment generationprojects in rural areas. Further steps have to be taken to re-allocate socialexpenditure, particularly in health and education for the poor. Nutrition andemployment programs should be strengthened and broadened. To provide acushion to the poor against high price increase, the government uses thePublic Distribution System (PDS); however, its effectiveness needs to beimproved. The whole approach towards impact on the vulnerable sectionsof the society should be reviewed in the light of reduced public expenditureon social programs. For example, cuts in the health program could lead toincrease in Indias already high incidence of tropical diseases. In addition, apoor education program has its impact not only on the rural wages of thepoor but also in the drive for adoption of better technology, by making thelabor force more illiterate. More specific action should be taken for thebetterment of agriculture...Efficient transport and communication links are needed. More investmentshould be made in human development and domestic research anddevelopment…India initiated the process of economic reforms with several handicaps. Ahigh poverty ratio with nearly 32 to 40 percent of the population livingbelow the poverty line. Very low foreign exchanges reserve and level ofconfidence about India’s credit worthiness. An unfavorable world scenariowith its projected low-income growth and increasing regionalism. 122
  • 123. However, there were some plus points: the liberalization package waspreceded by the minimum essential political setup: India’s democratic formof society. There were others like a large supply of skilled manpower andcheap labor, and a reasonable basic infrastructure.It will take time before any liberalization can have its fruitful impact uponthe economy. In liberalizing the economy, the government must not forgetto protect the poor and the needs of human development.- (Contributed by S. Sen, Kothari, Nayak and Mansukhani, 1994).-Talking of imbalances: today’s Third World states are not undevelopedbut under-developed states … “Development” would mean improvement inthe well being of the masses and their quality of life. The minimal level ofwell being must include the satisfaction of the basic needs. Conversely,“under-development” involves the denial of basic needs to the people whileenhancing the material returns to the dominant groups. It deprives themajority of their survival and sustenance…Poverty continues to be a major problem in India. Even in the greenrevolution Punjab, 24 per cent of small farmers and 31 per cent of marginalfarmers live below the poverty line. This means slow death. Becausemalnutrition is less dramatic than outright famine, it does not provoke thekind of public outrage and government actions that mass starvation do.Given past trends, by the end of the 20th Century, India was expected tohave 472 million poor, or more than the total number at the time ofindependence.Countrywide diet surveys by the National Nutritional Monitoring Bureau(NNMB) show that diet in nearly half the households surveyed in differentparts of the country was deficient even on the basis of lowered yardstick ofadequacy adopted by the NNMB since 1976… Because of under nutrition 123
  • 124. and infections, millions of children will grow into adulthood with impairedstamina and poor mental abilities, and many others will grow intoadulthood suffering from milder forms of malnutrition, resulting in mentaland physical impairment. Very few babies will grow into healthy,productive and intellectually able persons. According to Mr. James Grant,former director, UNICEF, about 3,000 children died daily in India in1985…The problem of malnutrition in our country, including the problem ofmalnutrition in our children, is a problem of inequitable distribution ratherthan of insufficient food resources.While million tons of food lie wasted on the one hand, on the other, half ofIndia’s population does not have the purchasing power to buy food. Thegovernment is always trying to increase export outlets for agricultural andallied products in spite of serious hunger and malnutrition… The accent onexports has caused diversion of land used for growing food (millets, pulsesetc.) for poor people, to the production of items for export like Soya.Even the food-for-work programs have practically been given up inspite ofthe huge food stock with the government and famine conditions in someparts of the country like Kalahandi district of Orissa where children areabandoned or sold for paltry sums for want of food and mothers and wivesare deserted due to extreme economic distress.At the other extreme, according to the World Bank, 10 per cent of Indianscontrol over 33.6 per cent of the national wealth…The disparities in income distribution go hand in hand with uneven regionaldevelopment. Punjab with the green revolution stands out in contrast to theseverely depressed gangetic state of Bihar. In the villages, the death rate istwice as high as in the cities. 124
  • 125. It is the rural rich who grab most of the benefits like credit and irrigationfacilities and subsidies. The poor households have to depend on traditionalmoneylenders for both their “production and consumption” loans. This hasled to massive indebtedness and reduced millions of poor in the rural areasto a state of slavery in the form of bonded labor. This century-old practiceforces generations of a family into unpaid work from “womb to tomb” topay off a debt. According to the London based Anti-Slavery Society’sconservative estimates, the number of India’s bonded laborers in 1972 was3 million – 3 million slaves in the world’s largest “democracy”…There is still much economic suffering, abject poverty, destitution,exploding unemployment and growing economic disparities…The distribution of the national income has been too uneven to prevent agrave distortion in the production and consumption patterns…Post – colonial India has registered considerable industrial growth. It is aleading industrial power in the Third World. It confirmed its status as apotential member of the nuclear club with its 1974 Pokhran nuclear test. Ithas a large (third largest) pool of active scientific manpower…A tiny minority, leaving the overwhelming majority sidelined, however,has hogged most of the benefits of the economic growth. India is stillbogged down with accentuating polarization between an affluent minorityand the masses below the officially defined poverty line…For whom is the development process functioning? Growth is notdistributionally neutral. The income distribution, flow of capital, andconcentration of economic power continues to be in favor of the incomebrackets in the rural and urban areas. 125
  • 126. There is no hope of improvement for the world’s economies withoutchange in the distribution of assets and incomes in favor of the poor…May the good Lord bless India.May the good Lord bless the poor worldwide.- (Contributed by S. Sen, Kothari, Chopra, Hanagudu, Nayak andMansukhani, ’94)The uses of space technology for national development: the Indian spaceprogram, from its very inception, has been geared towards nationaldevelopment. It has harnessed space technology for the benefit of oursociety right down to the grass roots level.… Space platforms are now being extensively used for reaching globalcommunication even into remote rural areas… for monitoring andmanagement of natural resources thus significantly contributing to thedevelopment of human society. With the rapid progress achieved, theremote sensing applications in India now cover diverse fields such asagricultural crop acreage and yield estimation, detection of crop diseases,ground water utilization, drought warning and assessment (is it reallyhappening?), flood control and damage assessment, land use/land covermapping, wasteland management, urban development, forest survey, soilutilization, ocean resources management, water resource management,mineral exploration and disaster warning (is the system effective?) etc.,thus covering almost all facets of national development…Satellite remote sensing has now established itself as the most powerfultool for carrying out an integrated sustainable development at the micro-level, which is the only way to improve the agricultural productivity in thecountry… ...Combining the space-based information with meteorological 126
  • 127. information and socio-economic factors, integrated land and water resourcemaps at the micro level are being prepared highlighting priority areas foragriculture development, fuel and fodder development, soil conservationand afforestation, etc., for arriving at a package of practices and strategiesto address the local problems leading to sustainable development at villagelevel. This is an important application.Space technology should now be extended to eradication of illiteracy in therural areas. In this context, powerful audio-visual media (through satellites)should be put into operation in the rural areas to disseminate culture andregion-specific knowledge on health, hygiene, environment, familyplanning and better agricultural practices in each of the regional languages.Facilities should be provided continuing education for special groups andfor updating of technical skills…As India enters the 21st Century, with the optimal planning and utilizationof the space technology, it is hoped that the national problems of hungerand illiteracy will become a thing of the past and this country will emergeas a strong and healthy nation to play its rightful role in the community ofnations.Science in the service of small farmers: science and technology haveimmense potential for improving the quality of life in rural India byproviding services such as weather forecasting, medical care andgenerating employment opportunities.Science and technology can be of great potential use for the upliftment ofthe farming community in a predominantly agrarian economy like India. Asagro-weather-forecasting is very essential for the farming community, a“national centre for medium range weather forecasting and development ofagro-advisories”, a multi-disciplinary project has been efficiently meeting 127
  • 128. this objective. For developing irrigation technology for the marginalfarmers, a program has been launched which is a successfully designingdevice using the latest technology. There is a move to commission land andwater management programs on an all – India basis. Science has alsohelped in developing techniques and products for improvements in medicalservices. In order to popularize science and technology at grass roots leveland to generate sustainable employment, the skills of engineers are beingused. Science and technology is also playing an important role in upliftingwomen and weaker sections of the society. In order to upgrade the skills ofwomen, training is being imparted in various fields, like poultry, watermanagement, conservation of soil and moisture (by planting specific typesof plants), weaving; etc. to provide low cost houses to the poor sections ofthe society, “cost reduction techniques” (using locally available material)are being utilized.Various development programs have been carried out successfully tobenefit small farmers and tribal populations in rural India. Satellitetechnology is also now being used for the benefit of the farmingcommunity. Are these programs actually reaching the poor?– The poor are always starving; the rich never do suffer. There has to be a way out of hunger. Let the world community pledge itself to hunger eradication.– Eco-technology and rural employment: Dr. M.S. Swaminathan: a disturbing feature of contemporary development pathways is what UNDP in its 1993 Human Development Report termed “jobless growth”. Since 1975, employment growth has consistently lagged behind GDP growth. This gap is widening during the 1990s. Consequently, expanding work opportunities, particularly for the rural 128
  • 129. and urban poor, is now high on the political and technological agenda of both industrialized and developing countries.(Let us have) an ecologically and socially sustainable job-led economicgrowth strategy… a paradigm shift from a growth model based entirely oneconomic criteria to one based on concurrent attention to the principles ofecology, equity and employment, in addition to Economics. "Eco-technology" helps to combine traditional wisdom and techniques withmodern science and technology, in such a manner that rural livelihoods arestrengthened both ecologically and economically. Eco -technology is bothknowledge and labor-intensive and provides opportunities for integratingintellect with labor in a synergistic manner.China’s experience in creating millions of non-farm jobs through its “RuralTownship Enterprises Program” and Brazil’s “Biofuel program” are indeedrich… vast and varied experiences in the area of diversification of workopportunities in villages.Nearly 100 million new jobs will have to be created in the farm and off-farm sectors in India (through livestock raising or nursery plantations, forinstance) in order to achieve the goal of work for all. This will call for botha new deal for the self-employed and for greater research and developmentefforts in the field of eco-technology – adapted from an analysis by Dr.M.S. Swaminathan, former Independent Chairman of the FAO Council(1981-85), former Director – General of the Indian Council of AgriculturalResearch (1972-78), and a fellow of many leading science academies of theworld; has authored many books like “Science and the Conquest ofHunger” (1982) and “Global Aspects of Food Production” (1986).To promote employment/self – employment in rural areas, the industrialpolicy should be framed in such a way that agricultural and local products 129
  • 130. would be reserved for local entrepreneurs. The government should adopt arationale for reserving products for small/ cottage/ village industries.In India, there are a few “agro-industrial” growth centers in rural areas,example, Anand and Khera districts in Gujarat for dairy, the south –western region of Maharashtra for sugar, jaggery, and dairy and the like.These structures have been developed through the co-operatives.The village as the unit of integrated development: in the cities, a largenumber of people live in slums in subhuman conditions. Environmentaldegradation results. The remedy is to shift the paradigm of developmentfrom the city to the village. There is a need to adopt the notion of village-level planning through optimum utilization of available natural resourceswith people’s participation.By harvesting rainwater, social forestry can be created on barren lands.People’s participation could make every village a “republic” with a strongfoundation of social democracy. Experiments on agro-forestry and raisingof capital through credit cooperatives and investment in dairy, poultryindustry could win the confidence of the people.Every other thing will proceed smoothly once we have won the confidenceof the masses…-From subsistence agriculture to irrigated farming – experience ofcommunity managed lift irrigation in Bihar and Orissa plateau: Tilak D.Gupta – September 1999 (Pradan): In most Indian villages, farming is themain occupation of the rural masses. In many areas, land is cultivated in theage-old way, and yield from agriculture is low as well as uncertain. Thereis very little investment in inputs. Output from “subsistence agriculture” ismeagre and crops altogether fail in drought areas. Sloping terrains, absence 130
  • 131. of vegetative cover and proper soil conservation techniques cause massiverun-off of water from uplands. Many water resources like perennialstreams, rivers and rivulets remain grossly under-utilized. Many irrigationschemes operate far below their rated capacities.Small and marginal farmers suffer the most when cultivation is almostentirely dependent on nature. The starving local people, either migrate toalien lands in search of work or encroach upon dwindling forests to collectand sell fuel wood…Bringing “irrigated farming” (like lift irrigation schemes drawing waterfrom small rivers, streams or other minor water-bodies) using modernmethods, would be a quantum leap for these poor people… Appropriatemanagement of available water resources can go a long way in increasingthe agricultural output and mitigating rural poverty…Community – owned micro lift irrigation schemes are suited to specificregions and within the reach of the rural poor… Such small-scale schemesare low cost, use local materials wherever possible, available waterresources that are often neglected in conventional irrigation planning andcan adapt flexibly to changing local conditions… Above all, local peoplecan actively participate in the planning, implementation and managementof schemes. The model can be tailored to the needs of small farmers andespecially in regions starved of electricity… cooperatives can be formedand linked to local regional rural banks. Organizations should assist withagricultural training, crop production assistance and market linkages. A“revolving fund” for agricultural credit should be created. “Water usersassociations” can be established in the rural areas. After all, to have wateror not in the fields, is a life and death question for the farming community. 131
  • 132. Patient efforts are needed to educate farmers to handle large sums ofmoney and keep accounts, and train them to operate the schemes. Apartfrom that, exposure trips to modern agricultural farms should be organized.Suitable transport for carrying agricultural produce to distant markets forgetting a better price for agricultural commodities should be procured…There’s nothing better than women self-help groups managing to controlthe irrigation schemes within a conservative social environment…Policy initiative needs to be taken at the highest level of the concerned stateadministrations for formulating a concrete plan and allocating adequateresources…Graduation from primitive agriculture to modern irrigated farming calls forbasic change in attitude. New forms of training like games, role-plays andgroup exercises can simulate real-life situations to enable attitudinalchanges, particularly among small peasants, who are often fatalistic andcomplacent.(Lift) irrigation should be made as simple, efficient and economical aspossible.The economic gains: the greatest impact of irrigated agriculture is ensuringa degree of food security to small farmers running the schemes; freedomfrom hunger for these small farmers; quality of food intake significantlyimproves. Irrigated agriculture makes possible more variation in “croprotation”. These families enjoy more nutritive and balanced diets. Nowthey have extra income to purchase consumer goods, build houses orrenovate them, start savings banks accounts in banks. Irrigated agricultureenhances value of command areas, land assets appreciate (increase invalue). Families can trade in food-grains and vegetables as a sideline 132
  • 133. occupation. Farmers can pay back loans from increased savings as incomesrise. Farmers now have access to cheaper institutional credit through theestablishment of linkages with banks and the government. A fund can beestablished for loans towards inputs. Gainful employment opens up,through, for example, double cropping in the command areas.The social benefits: migration to distant places during lean season in searchof work is common in starved, semi-starved (rural) regions. Irrigatedfarming leads to decline in migration, as the farmers need to work in thefield almost throughout the year. Children are better taken care offollowing process reversal. There is less incidence of child labor due tofood security and surplus income. Investment on children’s education rises.Both parents can now look after the child’s educational needs. There is nowbetter school enrolment and better awareness of quality of education.Families enjoy better standard of living, better nutrition levels, betterhealth, the surplus earned from irrigated agriculture can be used formedical treatment. Other needs beyond irrigated agriculture can beaddressed. Farmers now raise their voices against social vice. A new spiritof entrepreneurship and economic opportunities arise. Irrigated agriculturedefinitely makes for better nourishment, clothing and shelter, better healthcare and children’s education. Irrigated agriculture boosts thirst forknowledge.Yet, there are still miles to go to attain a really decent standard of living.Proposals should be taken from farmers for sound water resourcesmanagement. Irrigated agriculture is not just about provision of water. Anintegral view of irrigated agriculture is that farmers use water towardsmulti-crop modern agriculture. 133
  • 134. – On December 13, 2000, scientists cracked plant gene code, an achievement that could herald a new “green revolution” of supercrops –-Feb 8, 2001, The Statesman:Greenhouses were so far meant for rearing plants under controlled climateconditions. Thanks to a group of agro-scientists led by Dr. M.S.Swaminathan, low-cost greenhouses would now serve as temporaryshelters for quake victims.The scientists have divided reconstruction plans into three categories –shelter, water and work. Dr. Swaminathan said the idea was to provide aneconomically sustainable livelihood – cum – shelter for affected farmersthrough low-cost greenhouses. Quake-affected areas could be turned into abig “horticulture estate” if the program succeeds. First, a mapping of thearea and estimation of availability of water would need to be done. Agreenhouse, built of bamboo poles, plastic sheets and jute, would cost Rs.1000/- and no repair would be needed for two years. Farmers could adopttechniques other than they usually use for cultivation.The greenhouses would later be used to rear medicinal plants, vegetables,hybrid cottonseeds and flowers. In arid areas with very little rainfall, thegreenhouses would carry out experiments with methods of water-conservation and harvesting.Once farmers learnt the importance of living in controlled climateconditions, they could adopt the improvised cropping pattern that would beeconomically beneficial to them. “Don’t forget that Operation Flood beganthere and milk cooperatives flourished in Gujarat (India) after farmersrealized that they were getting maximum return on their investments. The 134
  • 135. same response can be expected with this experiment,” Dr. Swaminathansaid.– New genes can be added artificially to cells to prevent a disease, for instance, artificial chromosomes can be applied to agriculture in several ways.‘Development eludes millions’: there is an ever-increasing concern over thefailure of development to reach millions of our countrymen, even thoughIndia is scaling new heights in every field.According to the latest Human Development Index (HDI) released by theUNDP, India is placed at 134 out of the 174 countries surveyed and the rateof human development is just 0.5 per cent.Though the literacy rate is 65 per cent, 53 per cent children areundernourished while 70 per cent of the population has no sanitationfacilities. Over 63 percent population is below the poverty line, accordingto the international standards. Women are still discriminated against andthey are not given equal opportunities in education. Famines have beenconquered to a certain extent, but much more remains to be done.The new green revolution: agricultural bio-technology can be harnessed forthe good of mankind: Ingo Potrykus: “Golden Rice’ is … an excellentexample of how genetic engineering can directly help people, especially thepoor and the disadvantaged in developing countries. Here, geneticallymodified food offers more opportunities for the improvement of livelihoodthan for those living in well-fed developed nations. UNICEF says that atleast 124 million children report Vitamin A deficiency each year. Onemillion of these die while another 3,50,000 go blind. It is a serious healthproblem. But now there is hope. Golden Rice is genetically modified rice 135
  • 136. and it contains many genes derived from rice, daffodils as well as a certainclass of bacteria. The Beta Carotene (a nutrient which is the building blockfor Vitamin A) gene is derived from the daffodil flower, which has beenintroduced into the endosperm (starchy interior of the grain) giving it thegolden hue. It is a modest start to a new green revolution. It is theculmination of years of research and in many ways its history issynonymous with history of the development of plant geneticengineering…Food security was my abiding interest. There is ample reason for it, havinggrown up in war-ravaged Germany, I know what it feels to go to bedhungry…Of the three billion rice-eaters worldwide at least 10 percent suffer fromVitamin A deficiency. ‘Golden Rice’ (rice grains which when dehuskedand polished give out a golden hue, proof of Beta Carotene) was developedfor the Vitamin A – deficient and iron-deficient poor and disadvantaged indeveloping countries. To fulfil this goal it has to reach the subsistencefarmers free of charge and restrictions. It has to be distributed free to thepoor countries… One way of contributing to food security…”– Ingo Potrykus invented the Golden Rice in partnership with Peter Meyer. He is Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Plant Sciences, Geneva, Switzerland –– Let us develop nurseries, which will help large-scale plantation in the area concerned besides generating employment and income for the community. Let us maintain livestock, a practice that has high potential for income generation. 136
  • 137. – India does not have proper food storage capacity. On the one hand, food was wasted (in the recent past) because of inadequate storage facilities, on the other, people were starving. Why do such situations arise in the first place?– Slums are not only an economic problem but also a problem of lopsided socio-economic development, under both a social system in a traditional set-up and a capitalist system in a modern set up.Various programs of wage employment, rural development and equity havenot helped improve the lot of the rural poor. To check the migration of therural poor, water, electricity, roads, sewerage and other essential servicesshould be provided. The permanent solution of agricultural growth throughwatershed development schemes and agro-industrial growth can improvethe lot of the rural poor.Source: S.M. Dahiwala - Rural Poverty and Slums”– Agricultural growth strategy for the removal of rural poverty: a) irrigation facilities should be provided; b) industries should be provided to the drought-prone and the under- developed (rural) areas; c) land reform measures (including redistribution of lands) should be undertaken; d) a green revolution is needed; e) rural infrastructure i.e. transportation, electricity and the like should be upgraded; 137
  • 138. f) provision of assets to the poor should be made, and effective implementation of the public distribution system carried out; g) spread of the cooperative movement is very necessary.China’s experience (under Mao’s leadership) in setting up Communes inrural areas (to meet rural needs and utilize their potential) should be bornein mind.Poverty has many diabolical dimensions: illiteracy, poor health, risinginfant and maternal mortality rates, poor enrolment in schools, highdropouts, large-sized families, child labor, exploitation of women labor andtribals, unemployment and under-employment and the mass exodus fromthe villages to the cities and the proliferation of slums in the cities.According to UNDP, the top 20% in the world possess 85% of the globalwealth. Poverty is not just about peoples access to food or purchasingpower to buy the minimum food to stay alive. The poverty index consistsof food (basic calorie intake), shelter, clothing, safe water, sanitation,electricity, education and health care.The international HRD expert, Mahbub-ul-Haq had pointed out that thebest thing would be to increase the productivity of the poor. He spoke ofmeeting imperatives like health, education, land reforms, expansion and re-distribution of public services, short-term subsidy programs. The poor’sassets include a pair of hands and a willingness to work.Surprisingly, hardly anyone talks of literacy in these days of hype on it. Onthe one hand, we have five-star hotels, on the other, schools in rural areaslie vacant? It is as though some ruling sections suffer from insecurity overuniversalization of education and empowering the poor. 138
  • 139. J.B.S. Haldane in his book Daedalus or Science and the Future (1923)asserted that our ethical outlook has to keep pace with the development ofscience and technology, otherwise social chaos and disaster (as increasingrich-poor divide, damage to basic life - support systems, jobless economicgrowth, ethnic conflicts) will result....We must take the benefits of modern technology to the rural marginalized,by introducing them to concepts such as plant genetic resources, farmersrights following the development of science and technology,biotechnology and bio-villages, and information technology in simple,understandable language.Inadequate work opportunities result in low household income andpurchasing power, and then malnutrition. China has succeeded in creatingmillions of skilled jobs in the non-farm sector during a period of 10 yearsthrough the application of Eco-technology.It is estimated that the global population may go up to 8.5 billion by 2024,and most of this population will be concentrated in the developingcountries, where most of the worlds poor live. The expansion of worldagriculture to feed the growing population has led to the degradation ofmore than a billion hectares of soil since 1945. Water resources arebecoming scarcer. In this situation, integration of ecological principles in ajob-led economic growth strategy is the need of the hour. Ecotechnologyimplies adding sustainability concerns to technology development anddissemination (Swaminathan). The pro-nature, pro-poor and pro-womenapproach to technology and policy is important. Every individual can nowcreate his or her own income, thus adding value through self-employment.We need to create appropriate institutions....Land reforms 139
  • 140. a) tenancy reforms - ownership rights should be conferred on tenants through lawful means or farmers be enabled to acquire ownership rights on payment of a small compensation to the landlords;b) ceiling on agricultural holdings and redistribution of surplus land among weaker sections;c) updating and maintenance of land records through technology, computerization of land records - targeted at the benefit of the landless rural poor;d) transparency in land records management;e) resettlement and rehabilitation of persons displaced by development projects. 140
  • 141. CHAPTER 7B FROM BLUE REVOLUTIONS TO GREEN REVOLUTIONS“With industry being liberalized before agriculture, more money will flowinto the cities. There will be fancy universities in the cities and noblackboards in village schools. The imbalance will be aggravated and thenthe farmers may revolt.”- V. Kurien, founder, Anand Milk Union Ltd., Gujarat state, India.“Developing nations could hasten progress by accepting more foreignprivate investment in agricultural projects”–Extract from a book by Miss. Tadd Fisher (“Our Overcrowded World”).At the beginning of the last decade, Issac Asimov published a book with aone-word title “Change”. The word was not only a description of theenvironment he saw around him; it was also a directive to the peoplearound him. He said, among other things, thatA global vision is needed.The urban consumer has woken up. Science has brought us together in theform of communication. Information and entertainment on airwaves fromabroad in the form of satellite TV have given consumers global exposureand sharpened awareness, making them more discerning.But liberalization has brought in products like Allen Solly and PeterEngland which the ordinary man cannot afford. Science is helpingconsumerism grow, it has given a lot of choice to (urban, middle class andabove) consumers, but it has not taken care of agriculture to that great an 141
  • 142. extent as it should have. And we are talking of those regions (Africa,Bangladesh, India) where a majority of people are dependent onagriculture. If agriculture is further ignored, farmers may revolt.In Asia, Africa and Latin America, societies are largely agricultural. About80 % of their people depend largely upon the land to provide them with theessentials. Farmers can barely feed their families, and frequently they mustwork on land they do not own. Traditional systems of land ownership andlack of modern equipment, markets, and means to transport produce preventagriculture from becoming a profitable business. This represents a veryserious failure. No nation has attained strength and power until it overcameits problems on the land and established a sound agriculture to support otherkinds of economic growth.The new millennium should be the farmers’ millennium. Green Housesshould be constructed. Research and development activities should beexpanded. Biotechnology plants should be set up. Horticulture, sericultureand pisciculture should be encouraged and the government should help.This way, it would be possible to create millions of new job opportunitiesin developing countries. The government should launch projects forproviding quality seed production and training to farmers. We should adoptcertain strategies for the 21st century and beyond. An e-mail facility (atsubsidized rates) and an internet facility with an instructor in every villagewould help connect the villagers directly to policymakers.Let us through thoughtful planning and perfectly conducted research,develop superior hybrids in all the important horticultural crops for variousagro-climatic regions of the country. Let us start rearing silkworms(sericulture) and fish (pisciculture). Let us identify and conserve forestryplant species through modern biotechnologies. Let us diversify into other 142
  • 143. allied areas (such as forestry), and related research (lab) to land programsfor the upliftment (economic well being) of a still larger farmingcommunity.Let us go greening the deserts. Israel has done it. Many Asian and Africancountries suffering from chronic shortage of food and endemic hunger, cancertainly benefit from the example of this courageous nation in thegreening of the deserts and turning arid zones into croplands. Solutions,however, should be country-specific. Let us have great visions of turningdeserts green and creating artificial oases as the 21st Century becomes trulythe century of modern farmers all over the world.Let us have more gatherings of modern farmers and farm experts andinternational agricultural fairs. Let us have gatherings of the media, policy-makers and farmers. Farming nations could become farm powers of theworld with faster modernization, more research into farming, more farmtechnologies (like combined harvesters) and more and more sophisticatedfarm management that could cover land management, water management,seed management, marketing management, processing, packingmanagement, data management and human resource management. Thereare enormous possibilities in these areas. Let us bring in fresh technologiesin the field of irrigation, horticulture, social forestry, seed farming, genebanking, fertilizer management, pesticide management, high altitudefarming, digital genetics and of course storage, processing, packaging andtransportation.Let India offer a hand of friendship to the rest of Asia, and Africa to createa fresh new impetus in the battle against hunger.Let us halt for a moment. From the newspapers, it seems that militants havehijacked a Kathmandu-Delhi flight. Let us pray for peace. 143
  • 144. Om shantiA salutation to the concept of peace.The poor are constantly being wooed. Therefore, the need for aninternational government which will protect the poor when nationalgovernments are not acting on the issue. The function of the internationalgovernment will be to cater to the problems of each nation, in fact, eachstate and resolve conflicts. The international government will be composedof representatives from each country (however small it be) well versed inissues pertaining to each country, e.g. the representative(s) from Indiashould be well versed in security and defense (problems in Kashmir) toagriculture and poverty. This international government should have asteering committee consisting of a few representatives with a chairman.This body should be attached to the United Nations.Coming back to agriculture, India is predominantly an agricultural country.A majority of India’s populace lives in the villages. Despite what policy-makers say, liberalization has ignored agriculture. Liberalization hasimproved communications to the extent that at the press of a button, twopeople at two ends of the Earth can link up. This communication facility(human technology) should be extended to the rural areas. We shouldencourage self-help groups, and savings and thrift groups, especiallywomen’s groups. We must have scientific means (like a truck) of reachingfood to the villages, slums. Because food will never reach the poor!To combat poverty, an expert group should be brought in, who willexamine the wholesale- and-retail-price-export-import-food distributiongrid and then give suggestions. Let us take the case of India. India is amongthe four largest (USA, Russia, China, India) producers of food, and yet a 144
  • 145. majority of Indians are starving??? The major reasons are corruption, lackof efficiency and unequal distribution of food.To build up a high standard of living, let us alter our environment and useour natural resources (within limits).This is dedicated to Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Indias leading agro-scientist(and E.F. Schumacher, the founder of the Appropriate Technologymovement).Context: Third world poverty. The success of opening up (likeliberalization) in any part of the world will depend on agriculture.Presumption: it takes years to address the root causes of poverty.We assume and tell ourselves that poverty can be erased. We take science(especially information technology) to the farmer and bring the farmer toscience. Take people from the lab to the farm and bring the farmer to thelab. By working both ways, we can promote extension. And, therebyinnovative ways of farming, trying to revolutionize the entire concept ofagriculture. Let us try to educate our rural folk, and work to changeattitudes. Education is a must, for we need moral, spiritual and socialrejuvenation of the rural masses.Our goal: to reach the highest. For this, all our agro-scientists and agro-universities go right on to the field. And advise our farmers to make themost of the findings from the lab. Try to give the farmers the latest seedsand know how- how to use fertilizers and chemicals. Also teach them thelatest techniques in marketing and irrigation. Start a forum of businessentrepreneurs and business leaders in agriculture. Let us introduce businesscourses in agriculture in our universities. 145
  • 146. In view of the possible change in the quality of rural life as a result ofagricultural advancement, there could be a reverse process of migrationfrom the urban to the rural areas. That should be the main reason forprosperity to the villagers. Who lives in those slums? Let us tell ourselvesthat we do not want our farmers to live in slums, amidst squalor, filth andunfulfilled expectations in the cities? If we provide all facilities to ourfarmers in the villages, why on Earth should they come to our cities? Letus take a plunge, tell ourselves that we are going to make beautiful “dreamvillages” where all amenities are available.We must involve every village through the community developmentprogram. Good agro-business should be encouraged. Let us work toeliminate exploitation of farmers by landlords. Let us give communityleadership, involve women in leadership and development (build co-operatives), make provision for seeds and tools, make availableimmunization facilities, nutrition and health care education, encouragewomen to build co-operative dairying, give loans, give training in skills andinvolve the villagers in income-generating activities-like poultry farming.Let us promote small and ancillary industries. Let us promote products andhandicrafts made by the villagers. Let us promote literacy classes for everyman, every woman and every child.Let us work to change attitudes. Let us build up an attitude towards change.Let us involve ourselves in agricultural training and irrigation. Let us revertto solar cells for solving the energy crises of most villages. Let us bringcivil engineers to supervise construction of “homes” (huts), for water welland tank construction and small dams for generating energy in hilly andrainy rural areas. Let us build tree nurseries and work to prevent 146
  • 147. deforestation and promote reforestation, promote adult literacy classes atnight and primary education for children.Let us work to build concrete roads and through the “informationexplosion” bring the villagers close to all civic amenities and subsidize allamenities for them. Let us break all barriers (communication is no longer abarrier???) and raise a thunderous applause to our “dream-village”.- (This chapter has also been written out of some research literature onagriculture and rural development). 147
  • 148. CHAPTER 8AWhat is virtue?It is to hold yourself (and your organization)To your fullest developmentAs a person (and as an organization)And as (a) responsible member(s)Of the human community.- Arthur DobrinThere is now an ever-increasing concern for a business organization to beseen as a good corporate citizen, having a concern for the community inwhich one is operating. It would involve putting combined interests abovepersonal gain or exploitation, towards a contribution to the community,quality of life, the environment, rural upliftment, etc, rather than merelybeing concerned about profitability.Treat people as assets: historically, owners have viewed investing inequipment as important. But people make the difference. They are the onlyassets that really count. What we get out of our people depends on what wedo for them. Encouraging them to give their best means creating incentivesfor higher performance. A worker must feel individually important for theorganization’s growth. 148
  • 149. CHAPTER 8B ONLY VISIONARY MANAGERS CAN DREAM OF DREAM- VILLAGES“Everyone is an organ of society and exists for the sake of society.Consequently, each profession must try to maximize its contribution tosociety… As managers, always and in everything, strive to attain, at thesame time, what is useful for others and pleasant for oneself…Because thedowntrodden man is crying out – ‘rescue me, helpless as I am, from thetrackless forest of this miserable world’… Yes, strive we must, to attainwhat is useful for others… because expressions of love… yes, to a poorman, an expression of love is more important than thousands of crores ofdevelopment aid… Because expressions of care need no language, noreligion, no culture or no designation or incumbency… So commityourself… to a lofty target worthy of you… Be convinced that you willsucceed.”We are talking about ‘managers’- as agents of change, managers asvisionaries, future driven managers, innovative, creative, motivatedmanagers, socially responsible managers, environmentally consciousmanagers, responsive, efficient and effective managers, managers who areglobal in mindset, and above all, versatile managers, people – who canmanage an enterprise, a hospital, a voluntary organization, a school systemor a business and all alike. Such managers can make a big difference to ourworld. They can make a difference to our world by supporting thedevelopment of the people who work for them. What I am trying to conveyto you is the very positive view of the job of a manager. I believe that the 149
  • 150. job of a manager is among the most exciting, challenging and rewarding.Individuals can and do make great contributions to society as members ofmanaged organizations- not only firms, but also universities, hospitals,research centers, government agencies and other organizations. For most ofour lives, we are members of one organization or another- a college, asports team, a musical group, a religious or civic organization or a business.All organizations, formal or informal, are put and kept together by a groupof people who see that there are benefits available from working togethertowards some common goal – the goal may vary- to win a leaguechampionship, to entertain an audience, to sell a product, but without agoal, no organization would have a reason to exist. Organizations, forexample, the International Red Cross-contribute to the present standards ofliving worldwide. We rely on them daily for food, shelter, clothing,medical care, communications, amusement and employment. Further, suchorganizations may have an impact on the future status of our naturalenvironment, on the prevention and control of disease and on war aroundthe globe.Charles Wendel and Elaine Svenson in “Business Buzz - Words:Everything you Need to Know to Speak the Lingo of the Nineties”(published by Amacom, a division of American Management Association,New York, USA) have spoken of managers as “renaissancecommunicators”, or, in other words, people who must communicateeffectively in the process of being responsible to society. This is the“organizer” or “manager” breed of development professionals.Way back Confucius said: “radical changes require adequate authority. Aman must have inner strength as well as an influential position. What hedoes must correspond with a higher truth…” 150
  • 151. It would be better that we used the term “leader” instead of manager.“Leaders see what others cannot” (Taylor). They have a vision.Effective leadership requires a vision, a better way of life for the“company” workers (I am using the term “Company” in an era in which theterm “Corporate NGO” has come up). Leaders have in mind improving thecommon good, for instance, to a political leader, the vision may be a stateof affairs which is attractive to those who are governed. All successfulentrepreneurs and strategists have been masters in communicating a vision.Jamshedji Nasserwunji Tata had a vision -that of a steel plant in India…andbeyond…today, Tata Steel’s concerns- human resource, particularly ruraldevelopment and social welfare, environment, community development,sports and adventure, reflect the dreams of the founder.At the inauguration of the Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur, India, someonehad said (I do not remember who it was), but it carries a very powerfulmessage. These are not even the verbatim words-“I hope and wish that the Tata hospital remains as much vacant as possibleand all this, despite the heavy expenditure involved.” such is thecommitment of Tata Steel…Now we come to the concepts of “Business Ethics” and “Corporate Socialresponsibility”. Corporate social responsibility is a beautiful concept. In1995, the Ford Foundation supported a workshop organized by “Partners inChange” (corporate citizens) of Actionaid India, to share the experiences ofintermediary organizations in the NGO and philanthropic sectors. A majorissue for discussion was: is there a need for an apex support organization topromote philanthropy? And the consensus was “yes”. The outcome was theestablishment of “the Indian Centre for Philanthropy”. The center wasstarted with a mission to promote a philanthropic movement in India and to 151
  • 152. promote a caring and sharing culture by encouraging the giving of time,money, knowledge, skills and other resources in order to create a sociallyaware, responsible and participatory society.A similar concept had led to the formation of the “Prince of WalesBusiness Leaders Forum” (PWBLF) (with the head office in the UK), aconsortium of business leaders with representatives across the globe, whopractice and support good corporate citizenship.Managers today must pay close attention to the values that guide people intheir organizations. Robert Solomon has argued that “managers mustexercise moral courage by placing the value of excellence at the top of theiragendas.” Continually striving towards excellence has become anorganizational theme of the present era. Today, ethics has moved awayfrom the fringe of management theory to the heart of it.We are working in a world where quick fixes do not exist. It takes years toaddress the root causes of poverty. Sometimes, the first step is emergencyrelief, but sustainable, lasting change depends on long term relationshipsand authentic partnership with communities, governments, businesses,churches and individual supporters.For many years, many organizations and managers have talked about anorganization’s responsibility to society. “Corporate social responsibilityfocuses on what an organization does to influence the society in which itexists, such as through volunteer assistance programs.” Companies likeM/S Johnson and Johnson, M/S AT & T have used their past experiencesand value systems in setting new moral visions for the future. Oneparticular business owner has instituted a practice of hiring ex – convicts.He believes that business has to play a large role in changing our society.Another employs homeless people to serve ice cream. Campbell Soup 152
  • 153. Company, Burger King, IBM and Colgate Palmolive are running educationprograms. Reebok has been providing services to inner city street kids. In1899, Andrew Carnegie, founder of the US Steel Corp, talked about “theCharity Principle” which requires the more fortunate members of society toassist its less fortunate members, including the poor, the unemployed, thehandicapped, the sick and the elderly. After the Los Angeles (USA) riots,corporations such as AT & T, American Express and Merrill Lynch gavecash to church relief efforts.The question is, how does management fit into corporate socialresponsibility? Keith Davis feels that “responsibility must follow power.Corporations (or, for that matter, all organizations) should treat people asends in themselves. Take them seriously, accept their interests and desiresas legitimate, and important….” This is how management fits intocorporate social responsibility.(Source of what follows: “Partners in Change” corporate partnership:making social responsibility work, Actionaid India, date not specified)I would strongly suggest that social responsibility be made compulsory inall companies and social audits be carried out. The question is, how do wemake corporate social responsibility work, on how the corporate sector canparticipate in social development. Like any other corporate endeavor,corporate involvement in social development too needs to be approachedsystematically:(a) Defining the vision: should be a part of the corporate mission to ensure a consistent, focused and sustained involvement of the company. Money is not the only corporate resource that they can provide to social development initiatives. Others include executive time management, total quality management (TQM) of social services, 153
  • 154. Human Resource Management, marketing and technical areas, support to ancillaries, usage of company facilities etc. The company could look at sectors (education, health, economic programs) or issues (child labor, AIDS awareness) or categories (disabled or women or children or tribal, etc). The period of support is crucial, as development is a long-term process;(b) Determining the approach: “sustainable development” is about providing opportunities or choices to the disadvantaged to enable them to stand on their own feet with dignity. It requires working “with” communities in a participatory manner and adopting the most suitable methodology for a program.Companies can adopt any of the following approaches to their socialdevelopment activities:“Do-it-yourself”- companies can run their own programs through their ownemployees. However, it will be vital to employ specialized persons for thistask who have the necessary experience and expertise to design and operatesuch interventions;“Partnership”- the other option is that the company can work inpartnership with an implementing voluntary organization. The companycan provide some of the resources the voluntary agency may require, suchas development skills and expertise;“Support”- alternatively, the company can just make resources available toa development agency and allow it the discretion to use them optimally.This usually works best with monetary contributions from the company;(c) Planning the interventions: once the vision is clear and the organization choices determined, the interventions must be designed. This requires 154
  • 155. a deep understanding of local and long- term development issues. “Participatory Rural Appraisal” (PRA) - which helps identify local issues with the communities is a very useful methodology that provides inputs to the program design;(d) Monitoring and evaluation: the company which chooses the “do-it- yourself” approach must get expert inputs at this stage either from its own experts or from experienced agencies. The “partnership” and the “support” approaches are relatively easy for the company as the expertise is readily available with the partner and start-up is quicker.Social development is an extremely complex process and hence needs to beapproached in a professional and systematic manner, using the appropriatefield-tested methodologies. Companies can create employmentopportunities by employing the disadvantaged (person with disabilities, forexample) or developing / supporting ancillary units employing thedisadvantaged. Companies can allow usage of company infrastructure suchas medical facilities for referrals, camps, conference facilities,communication facilities such as fax and telephones, equipment such asphotocopiers and computers ((an e-mail facility in the village man’sexpectations!, tapping of ground water through a computer, yes, a villagewoman’s expectations!(because she has to walk miles and miles to fetchwater)).Companies can offer financial support either as money ((this can be in theform of a cheque or employees contributing a part of their salaries or cause-related marketing. It can form specific capital projects (school, vehicles,water harvesting structure) or running costs (training of teachers and healthworkers, salaries, publications, etc)). Companies can help by appointingNGOs in the process of donation or discounts on products and assets- 155
  • 156. company manufactured products (office equipment, vehicles, agriculturalinputs etc) or second hand/used assets (computers, furniture, officeequipment).What every company can doSocial development is a long term process. It will, therefore, be useful forevery company to participate in whatever manner it wishes. Onceemployees get involved, innovative ideas can come up and the companycan call itself a “good corporate citizen”.It should be an era of corporate social responsibility and the corporatesector should focus on poverty and other problems. Corporate socialresponsibility should come in when villages are close to industries; and inremote areas, other arrangements may be done.The corporate sector should buy tractors, seeds, implements and fertilizersfor nearby villages and sponsor research on improvements in agriculturefor nearby villages.<< Companies can do a lot for the poor, the homeless, the unemployed andothers disadvantaged>>.How???– a company can support an NGO by funding, say, for instance, a school building and some community halls from its office-– a company focusing on economic and business issues can provide free advertising space to NGOs in its newspaper-– companies can provide technical and financial support to the NGOs working in the slums and rural areas (to the savings programs, for instance)- 156
  • 157. – the corporate sector can support NGOs by funding research on disease e.g. tropical sprue, dengue, Hepatitis B, cholera, malaria, filaria etc, which largely affect the developing world-– companies can support NGOs working for women (or, men) who are victims of sexual harassment and violence by providing volunteers with mobile phones, greatly facilitating their rescue and counseling efforts-– multinational companies can provide vocational training to underprivileged youth by partnering with NGOs working in urban slums or rural areas-– the corporate sector can have an employee volunteers program where the employees can contribute a part of their salaries as well as share their skills in management, computers and marketing on weekends with a few NGOs-– leading pharmaceutical companies can work in partnership with NGOs by establishing medical centers, providing medicines free of cost and supporting health initiatives-– a safe drinking water project benefiting some villages can be run by the corporate sector providing the funds, the NGO the technical expertise and supervision, with the community providing the labor-It may sound ridiculous but my ideal dream would be: a group ofcompanies and NGOs get together and through corporate partnership makesocial responsibility work by providing infrastructure or help in whateverway for a group of buses which will go to the slums and remote rural andtribal villages as part of a literacy drive. Children will learn to read andwrite on the buses itself. Reading and writing for children will be 157
  • 158. interspersed with play activities. Food (a midday meal) will be provided onthe buses. Moral education will also be imparted. This package will includesome education for adults like information on the disadvantages for farmerswhen they migrate to cities. There will be a common package for slum andrural children. The package for adults will be separated in quality, stressingmore on survival strategies (like science in agriculture) for farmers andstrategies for slum dwellers. Coordinated by experts, this drive could stopthe flow of farmers to the cities and promote welfare of the slum dwellers.They could for instance learn better ways of sanitation.Let us sum up the temperament I believe in with the credo of a reputedcompany (I do not remember which company it was):“We are responsible to our employees. Every one must be considered anindividual in his own right. We must respect their dignity and recognizetheir work…however minute a contribution they might make … we areresponsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the worldcommunity as well. We must…. be good citizens – support good work andcharity. We must…. encourage civic improvements and better health andeducation…. We must…. work to protect the environment and naturalresources… We must experiment with new ideas, research must be carriedon, and innovative programs developed… And yes, mistakes must be paidfor….this is our credo.” 158
  • 159. CHAPTER 9ALet us open our eyes and see man not as a commodity, but as a reasoning,rational being capable of becoming self-reliant with slight help from others.This is especially true of those who are mentally or physicallydisadvantaged or otherwise.She (Helen Keller) will live on….the woman who showed the world thereare no boundaries to courage and faith.– Former Senator of Alabama (USA) Lister HillI believe that life is given to us so that we may grow in love, and I believethat God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower-thelight in my darkness, the voice in my silence.– Helen KellerHomeless blind people of all ages roamed the streets of most large towns,and even well-educated men and women seemed to find it amusing towatch them groping their way and bumping into buildings. They wouldthrow things at them or trip them up, and then burst into laughter. -Norman Wymer, from “TheInventors”On the highways it was common to find groups of sightless people…thesepeople were regarded as incomplete beings, ignorant and simple.- Lennard Bickel, from “Triumph over Darkness, the Life of Louis Braille”At the fair at St. Ovid, in 1771, Valentine Hauy saw blind people clowningto the shouts and jeers of the audience. The sight of human beings so 159
  • 160. degraded and so helpless before the cruel laughter of others shocked himprofoundly. It set his feet on the path which led to the foundation of theworld’s first school for the blind (visually handicapped) where FrancoisLesueur was Hauy’s first pupil.It is high time for Louis Braille’s genius to be recognized….he built alarge, firm stairway for millions of sense-crippled human beings toclimb…..- Helen KellerThey took away whatShould have been my eyes,(But I remembered Milton’s Paradise).They took away whatShould have been my ears(Beethoven came and wiped away my tears).They took away whatShould have been my tongue, (but I hadTalked with God when I was young).He would not let them takeAway my soul – possessing that, I still possess the whole.- Helen KellerChildren who hear acquire language without any particular effort….thelittle deaf child must trap them by a slow and often painful process. Butwhatever the process, the result is wonderful…. 160
  • 161. - Anonymous(The following extracts have been taken from a book on communitydevelopment, “Outreach”): -Care for people with disabilities: the disabled should never be subjected toany barrier- environmental (access to public and private buildings,educational institutions, workplaces, factories, shops, public transportsystems), or attitudinal, as in social stigma. They are definitely notinadequate, pitiable or in any ways inferior. They are not different, but arelike any other human being....Employment opportunities: the first special employment exchange for thephysically handicapped in India was established in Bombay in 1959. TheMinistry of Labor has established 17 vocational rehabilitation centers forthe evaluation and placement of the disabled. The “National Centre forPromotion of Employment of Disabled People” (NCPEDP) works infacilitating an interface between industry, the disabled and NGOs involvedin rehabilitation.Disabled people now have legislative protection of their rights, but, arelaws sufficient? We and our attitudes towards the disabled have to change.Governments should(i) take concrete steps to prevent disabilities from occurring;(ii) integrate disabled children into normal schools or establish ‘special’ schools for those with such need;(iii) establish non-formal education and ‘open’ educational institutions for the disabled; and,(iv) help disabled people train, employ and rehabilitate themselves. 161
  • 162. Incentives should be given to employers to employ the disabled, whetherthe blind or those with low vision, those with hearing impairment, thosewith locomotor disability or those with cerebral palsy. Time to treat thementally ill as normal, and able to make positive contributions to society.All public buildings should have ramps; adaptable toilets for all users of thewheelchair should be established and Braille symbols and auditory signalsshould be set up inside elevators. At the same time, we should try tointegrate people with disability into mainstream society, create social andeconomic opportunities for spastic children, integrate culture of thedisabled into main society and widely disseminate information andawareness about facilities available to the disabled. Let us try to provide theabove-mentioned facilities in rural areas....Loans can be given for setting up small business or a small industrial unit,for higher studies, vocational and/or professional training, for agriculture,for production of devices for the disabled, for self-employment of thosewith mental retardation, cerebral palsy and autism, for entrepreneurialdevelopment programs, for “disability societies”, etc.We should start making a difference to the lives of the disabled, throughour own efforts, if not through the efforts of others.... call it, looking at the(lives of the) disabled through ones own eyes.... 162
  • 163. CHAPTER 9B OUR CREDO SHOULD BE: LET US HELP A VISUALLY HANDICAPPED MAN CROSS THE STREETBefore I begin, let us pray the way I prayed during my last visit to theMissionaries of Charity: “Oh father who art in heaven (How inhuman they were who nailed you to the cross) Holy be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On Earth as it is in heaven, Give us today our daily bread, Give them (the poor, the downtrodden) today their daily bread, Forgive us our sin, As we forgive those who sin against us, Do not bring us to the test, But deliver us from evil, -Amen”.We all know about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan and Louis Braille andhis system for the blind. At the same time, we have to bear in mind that 163
  • 164. The blind cannot see the blue sky,The deaf cannot listen to the sounds of the mountain stream,The mute cannot appreciate (verbally) the beauty of a flower or a mother’slove. They cannot express (verbally) a concern for the family,And the mentally retarded are impaired in such a way that they havedifficulty in making bodily and social adjustments.But they all sing in chorus:Blessed are thoseWho understand my awkward step and clumsy handWho know the ways of my heart and love me as I amWho make me feel loved, respected and not aloneWho will listen for I too have something to say.- Anonymous.Blindness, deafness, muteness are physical handicaps. Braille, a system ofwriting and printing for the blind was invented in 1843 by Louis Braille, aFrenchman who had been blinded in an accident in his childhood. Theworld has plenty to learn from Louis Braille’s experience. The signlanguage was developed for people who are deaf, mute or both. The firstknown sign language for the deaf was developed in France. As a tribute tothe inventor, let us put sign language on TV programs so that the deaf aswell as people who are able to hear can enjoy. Let us get college studentsinvolved with reading to the blind or learning how to communicate with thedeaf. 164
  • 165. We must all realize that mental and physical impairment (e.g. mentalretardation, deafness, blindness) are conditions that can be improved withspecial education (e.g. Braille), training and rehabilitation. You can makethem more self sufficient through training. Such handicap can occur in anyfamily- rich or poor, illiterate or educated. I just heard that a richbusinessman, who is a patient of Thalassemia, has started a fund towardsThalassemia, with the help of well-known citizens of his city. The idea is,rich patients of mental or physical disability should help poor patientsmonetarily and / or in other ways. Schools for those with disabilities ofsome kind should keep admissions open to needy children from allbackgrounds throughout the year. Concessions and freeships should bemade available for needy students. Such schools should impart education inself-help and pre-vocational skills, including academic training, vocationalskills, self-help skills and other extra-curricular activities. Services ofcounselors, social workers, special educators, clinical psychologists andtherapists should be provided. Trips, excursions, and cultural shows shouldbe arranged. Social integration programs with general schools should beheld to create awareness and positive attitudes among other schoolchildren.Regular extra-curricular activities like yoga, dance, music, drumming,painting, sewing, embroidery should be held. Indoor and outdoor gamesshould also be encouraged. State level, national and international levelOlympics should be held for the blind, the deaf and the mentally retarded.A vocational training center would be useful in such “special” schools andthe corporate sector should purchase and promote products and handicraftsmade by the children of such schools. The corporate sector should beinvolved in as many ways as it can. 165
  • 166. Remember: the blind cannot see the world, beautiful nature. The deafcannot listen to the songs of the mountain stream. The mentally retardedfind it difficult to make social adjustments.Therefore: if you can, help know more about mental retardation, mentalillness, blindness, and other disabilities. Spread awareness among others.And accept them without pity.Whatever might be your caste, creed or race,Help in whatever wayYou can butHelp!!! - (Source: some literature on mental retardation and other commondisabilities) 166
  • 167. CHAPTER 10AThere are different countries,And different people speak different languages,But only one sun, one moon, one tide, one mother Earth.So let us live in peace, in harmony.1) “If we dont stop helping these African flesh eaters, we will soon wake up and find Rev. King (Martin Luther King Jr.) in the White House.”- From a leaflet circulated by some racists -2) “Segregation Forever”, “Communist Jews behind Race Mix”, “Go Home to Africa”, and “Keep Alabama (USA) White.” - Anti-black poster in Alabama (USA), 1950s-3) “Attitudes changed as they saw negroes being watered down with fire hoses...innocent children being bombed in churches, there was a reaction to this type of thing.” - William Nix, Morehouse College, America -4) “Those who are equal before God shall now be equal in the polling booths, in the classrooms, in the factories, and in hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places that provide services to the public.”- President Johnson of the USA, after signing the Civil Rights Act, July 2,1964-5) “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last.”- From R.J. Owen: “Free at Last” and Flip Schulke: Martin Luther King, Jr. 167
  • 168. 6) If the Negro is a man...there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another.- Abraham Lincoln, from his speech at Peoria, Oct, 18547) Racial prejudice??? Why????8) Multiracial classes in schools have become increasingly common in South Africa. They bear out Archbishop Desmond Tutus vision of racial harmony, a vision of the future.9) ‘You must defend the right of African parents to decide the kind of education that shall be given to their children. Teach the children that Africans are not one iota inferior to Europeans. Establish your own community schools where the right kind of education will be given to our children. If it becomes dangerous or impossible to have alternative schools, then you must make every home, every shack, every rickety structure a centre of learning for our children...’- Nelson Mandela, speaking at the ANC’s Transvaal Conference, 1953.10) One of Eleanor’s (Roosevelt) closest friends was the great education and Civil rights leader, Mary McLeod Bethune.... White racists called her (Eleanor) a “nigger-lover”…. In May 1936, she organized a garden party in the grounds of the White House for the mainly black inmates of a training school for delinquent girls where disease was rife and conditions miserable.... She was said to have entertained “a bunch of nigger whores at the White House”.... When she uncovered similarly dreadful conditions at an old people’s home for black people... she said: “we should be ashamed. I was sickened. If that is the way we 168
  • 169. care for people who are not able to care for themselves, we are at a pretty low ebb of civilization.”- From Eleanor Roosevelt by David Winner11) ‘First the White man brought the Bible, then he brought guns, then chains, then he built a jail, then he made the native pay tax’ - a Zimbabwean trade unionist, J.H. Mphemba, describing the process of turning African farmers into wage - workers, 1929. 169
  • 170. CHAPTER 10B THEY ARE NOT OF MY CASTE, CREED OR RACE, NEVER MIND, HELP!To some extent in the modern era, there is inter - racial and intra - racialhatred. But these are extreme cases of racism. I wish to cite the examples ofthe Ku–Klux-Klan and the Dot-Busters.There was a pronounced victory over racism when W.E.B. Du Bois inAmerica founded the “National Association for the Advancement ofColored People”. This was in 1909. Upto May 1994, racism waspredominant in South Africa in the form of “Apartheid”. There was atremendous victory over racism when Nelson Mandela of the AfricanNational Congress (ANC) was voted the country’s first black President.Actually, the terms black, white and brown are misleading. The termsEuropean, African (Kenyan or Egyptian), Afro-American, Indian, orCaucasoid, Negroid or Mongoloid should be used.Gone are the days when “Blacks, dogs and Indians” were not allowed intopublic places. Moreover, the situation is changing every moment atJohannesburg, Pretoria and Durban in South Africa and in othercosmopolitan regions. Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a train when hetried to protest. This, however, is a matter of the past.Racism in the true sense of the word has perpetually vanished, or has it???Now, a great many Europeans (Whites) are working for development in thedeep jungles of Africa. Many Europeans are working in India, underdifficult conditions of climate, food, water, clothing and cultural 170
  • 171. differences. However, ethnic fighting continues. The Gulf War is anexample. Bosnia and Rwanda are other examples of countries where wehave witnessed further and further social disintegration.There are still caste feelings and creed feelings. Inter - caste marriage isstill taboo in India. In certain parts of India, casteism is rampant. Let ustake blessings from the gods, because there have been cases of witch -hunting and lynching of inter-caste couples who had eloped.Let us take blessings for all those who have been or are being abused in thename of race, caste and creed and especially for “Harijans” (named byMahatma Gandhi as “Children of God”).Let us quote Swami Vivekananda: “keep the motto before you: elevation ofthe masses without injuring their religion”.• And let us work to protect God’s children. 171
  • 172. CHAPTER 11A“I am the child.All the world waits for my coming;All the world watches with interest to see what I shall become;Civilization hangs in the balance;For what I am, the world of tomorrow will be.I am the child.I have come into your world,About which I know nothing,Why I came I know not;How I came I know not;I am curious, I am interested.I am the child.You hold in your hand my destiny.You determine, largely, whether I shall succeed or fail.Give me, I pray you, those things that make for happiness.Train me, I beg you, that I may be a blessing to the world.”- Mamie Gene Cole1) In our society, grown-ups are too unfree to be positive about anything, adults are too cynical to change society and the spark of hope lies only in children. Let us motivate children to change and spiritualize society.2) “Child (a beautiful flower in the giant garden called Earth) my heart bleeds for you”- 172
  • 173. 3) In every child which is born….the potentiality of the human race is born again-4) I pledge myself to care for…, especially children, and to look upon other children all over the world as my friends.-Junior Red Cross Pledge5) Child sexual abuse, child rape??? Are the authorities sleeping? The police, the courts, society??? We have to adopt stern measures to nab ‘potential’ abusers, and afterwards change them into ‘human beings’….6) “Police massacres of blacks had punctuated South Africa’s history but nothing so terrible had been known: a modern armed force moving against school children.”-Mary Benson, South African author, date not specified-7) “Be more thoughtful to each other, respect people different from yourself…. it is wise to teach children that intrinsically every human being has the same value before his maker, but that the moment a child enters the world, he is conditioned by his surroundings. There is inequality…therefore, we as individuals should always try to recognize the actual worth of a human being…. and work towards such a world…..”8) Since the Declaration (of Human Rights), human rights have improved. But…. some of the most flagrant, inhumane actions of despotic governments have not been disciplined….the worst sufferers are children: like the orphans of the millions of people murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970’s…or Kurdish children from Iraq who were murdered by their leader when chemical weapons 173
  • 174. were used to wipe out their village in 1988….the story (of these unfortunate children) goes on….What will happen to the future of our planet….if children continue to suffer?9) Destitute, homeless, hungry, poor children in “big” cities and remote hamlets of a “small world”. What an anomaly?10) U.S. Service Agency CEPAA has announced the establishment of a social standard to check workplace abuses, including child labor. A year 2000 campaign to re-direct world military spending to human development has also been started –New York, Nov 4, 2000.11) Until the 1970’s, black children and parents often had to build their own schools…The walls were made of mud and the patterns on the walls were caused by the nimble fingers of children, as they plastered the walls – from Desmond Tutu by David Winner-12) Let us not accept that anyone should suffer because they are women, or….worse still….children… The world is truly one world, and all its inhabitants members of one family….13) Can you believe this? That some children are born into confinement, inside jails and prisons, where young mothers may have been detained?? - adapted from “Childhood in India” by Jon. E. Rohde (UNICEF)-14) “The toss of a coin, or the throw of a dice, and who knows what face, aspect, or hue will reveal itself in the ‘game of chance’ – that is a child’s life in India.”- adapted from “Childhood in India” by Jon. E. Rohde(UNICEF)- 174
  • 175. 15. June 16, 1976 was the start of the “Children’s Revolt” against Apartheid (in South Africa). It began in Soweto among school children but spread rapidly through the country…. many fell “victims” to police bullets. Shocking!16. Gabriele Mistral, the famous poet and a great humanist, said way back: “we are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot say ‘tomorrow’. His name is ‘today’...” It is constantly argued that society can get rid of social evils if only there is a change in the attitude of the people. The greatest change can be brought about by ensuring children grow up with clear notions of the rights and wrongs in conducting their lives in society.... It is better late than never. The benefits may not be immediately obvious... But we do need a more ‘complete’ education of the child. As John Haywood said, “better unborn than untaught” -17. The little one was crying out in hunger. There was no one to comfort her. Her parents had deserted her and she had been thrown into a garbage bin, wrapped in a piece of cloth. It was yet another case of child abandonment and this time too it was a girl child... Women in our country are obviously still treated as subhuman. Giving birth to a female child is considered a curse... A government report on family planning in India paints a sorry picture. Less than 40% of women have access to contraceptives and 175
  • 176. more than 60% women in the country are still in the dark about the basic ideas of contraception. In states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India, illiteracy and poverty have forced females of all ages to be victimized and discriminated against in the worst possible ways. This includes being abandoned, or worse, sold off at a price cheaper than that of cattle. Shocking! Is it not? - From ‘Why Leave Crying Babes in the Wood’ - Child Abandonment - The Telegraph, India, 14 Nov. 2000.18. Hold my ‘today’, I‘ll hold your ‘tomorrow’, Child Rights: Towards a New Dawn: a nation marches on the feet of its children. Let us rededicate ourselves for the development of our children, by empowering them with knowledge and resources by meeting their basic needs, fighting malnourishment and improving the quality of their childhood by making them healthier and stronger. Healthy and strong children make a great nation. Let us compliment mothers as we welcome the Women Empowerment Year 2001.... The future of our children shapes the future of our country.19. “….Children, the world over, are the greatest human resource. The prosperity and the strength of a nation depends largely upon the health, well being and education of its children. It is today’s children who will chart the future frontiers of progress... Let us rededicate ourselves to making every effort so that our children can grow up in an atmosphere of joy, prosperity and peace; so that every child is assured a life of dignity, free of hunger and exploitation.” 176
  • 177. -Message from the Prime Minister, Shri A.B. Vajpayee, New Delhi, India, Nov. 14, 2000.20. ‘... Though we have achieved steady progress in several spheres like improving the immunization, literacy and mortality rates in children... We have to overcome the vicious cycle of poverty, discrimination against the girl child, and illiteracy, and give all children in our country a real childhood invested with love, care and knowledge....’-Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi Min. of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, New Delhi, India, 14 Nov’, 200021. A novel scheme in Haryana (India) has been revised to provide direct help to the girl child, in the form of a grant (scholarship) of Rs. 500/- to be deposited in a joint account in the name of the girl child and a designated officer, in a nationalized bank or post office. This entire amount is to go into education. Laudable effort!22. Child labor is cheap and ideal, because of “small and delicate” fingers. And nimble fingers earn daily bread for impoverished families in so many countries across the globe. Most economic analysts agree that the social and economic factors behind it should be addressed. Governments which import goods manufactured by children can help, for instance, by providing opportunities (financial or otherwise) to bonded children to attend school or to be trained in vocational skills.... or, to pay off loans taken by their parents... or pay a “bonded-child” sum to childrens’ organizations.” Work by children has to be phased out and replaced by education, with the work being taken over by 177
  • 178. unemployed adults.”(Keith Cooper)…Some work can be provided to mothers and elders of the children concerned, who, should, however, never be moved into more hazardous work. The role of the ILO and the appropriate trade unions need not be underestimated – adapted from Hussain, Elliott and Goodbody, “ The Statesman”, India, 30 Oct,’ 97-23. Adapted from ‘The Telegraph’, India, May 1999: - ‘... the “Dai” (midwife) delivered the baby without too much trouble. But the mother’s joy was short-lived. For three days, she could not see her son, with both confined in separate chambers. In keeping with the age-old traditions, the mother had to go without food as she prayed for the well being of her child... ... Both the mother and the baby had survived the ordeal - the “period of separation” - not many villagers of Patamda block, (East Singhbhum district, former Bihar state, India) have this kind of luck. The lack of medical facilities and trained nurses offering pre-natal and post-natal care result in both the mother and the baby risking their lives... There are areas plagued by dismal literacy rates, low individual income and high rates of infant mortality... About 56% of the population comprise tribals who live without safe and healthy medical practices and supplies, which influence survival rates. ... Medical practices in these areas are primitive and people are mired in superstitions and live below the poverty line leading to high mortality rates...’ 178
  • 179. Let us discuss an ideal “child survival project”: - a) inculcation of tenets of healthy behavior among mothers and midwives during the pre-natal and post-natal periods, to increase chances of child survival; b) setting up of free clinics and supply of free medicines, immunization and healthy diet programs for infants; c) awareness camps on safe childbirth and breast-feeding; d) songs and skits in tribal and rural languages; e) health and hygiene programs; f) training camps for midwives; g) monitoring of pregnant mothers; h) vaccination of mothers. Projects should involve and rest with the community itself.24. First time, worldwide, Children’s Day was celebrated in October 1953, under the sponsorship of the International Union for Child Welfare, Geneva. On its basis, let us formulate an ‘action agenda’ for children :- - Create awareness about social issues in the school, family and community. - Encourage and inculcate suitable work ethic among women so as to make them economically self-sufficient. - Create awareness about women and children’s rights in poor sections of the society. - Treat girls with respect and discourage discrimination. 179
  • 180. - Make ‘each one teach one’, a compulsory mandate for all children in middle and senior schools. - Mobilize sponsorships for educating poor children. - Discourage parents from sending children to work (they have no choice anyway). - Students’ organizations to go to villages to promote primary education and educate children and women on health, hygiene and environmental sanitation. - Students’ union to visit remand homes and interact with children. - Set up a forum in villages with whom students’ unions can interact. - Promote peer group action to plant trees to prevent pollution and conserve the environment. - Create awareness to prohibit telecasting films that are harmful for children. - Donate old toys and clothes to children of underprivileged sections of society. - Market child survival.25. Their hunger - ravaged bodies bring back stark images of a Sub- Saharan region. It is Somalia revisited as you enter Araria (Bihar state, India), where children are born to die. Situated near the rough, hilly terrains of Nepal, this poverty - stricken North Bihar district is being put on the same, horrific map of child- care neglect…. where, according to UNICEF, more than 90% children suffer from acute malnutrition. 180
  • 181. Only Sub-Saharan countries stand comparison in the level of malnourishment in the district. .... Deaths are attributed to absence of trained midwives, lack of proper medicines for common scourges like diarrhoea and non- availability of safe drinking water... Programs to make available adequate Vitamin A can help combat night blindness and malnutrition. .... Investment in early childhood development is essential to make any real gains in education, economic development and crime and debt reduction. - from “ UNICEF Echoes Kids’ Rights – Violation Cry”, the Telegraph, India, 13 Dec, 2000:- Children around the world:- Education : % of children who - Malnutrition : % of children finish 5 years of primary under 5 years old suffering from education(1995-99) : stunted growth(1995-2000) : industrialized countries – 99%, industrialized countries – 0 %, developing countries – 73% - developing countries – 33% -- Life expectancy (1999) : - Mortality rate(1999) : before age 5, for every 1000 births : industrialized countries – 78 years, industrialized countries – 6, developing countries – 63 years - developing countries – 90 - The rights of children are being continually and blatantly violated… India is home to a third of the world’s malnourished children, trapped in intractable poverty, violence and disease. In its report “The State of the World’s Children” 2001, the UNICEF underlined that 47% of children under three in India are still underweight and malnourishment is high, despite the fact that the country produces enough food for its entire population. 181
  • 182. Only 27% of children in this age group, suffering from diarrhoea aretreated with oral dehydration salt. Discrimination against female childrenbegin in the foetus and continue through infancy.UNICEF’s Executive Director Carol Bellamy says,” the lives of childrenand women are the truest indicators of the strength of communities andnations. If the youngest and most vulnerable are left to find their way alone,a country violates the rights of its people and sabotages its future as anequal partner in the global economy.”The top five child killers in 1998 were respiratory infections, diarrhoealdiseases, vaccine – preventable infections, malaria and prenatal conditions.10 million children under 15 have lost their mothers or both parents toAIDS. In the developing countries over 20% of children are out of schooland 15 million girls in the 15-19 age group give birth every year.The picture at the turn of the century does indeed appear very bleak…- No newborn child should be doomed to a short or a miserable existence merely because he or she happens to be born in the “wrong class” or in the “wrong country” or to be of the “wrong sex”-- An analysis of childhood in terms of infant mortality rate, life expectancy, enrolment in school; etc, would generate numbers, providing an incomplete picture, making it easy to lose sight of the daily realities of the human lives that lie behind such statistics. Millions of children are growing up in poverty in the shantytowns and villages of the Third World. The condition of girls is pathetic. When they are made to feel special, there is likely to be an association with their maternal role(s)-the onset of menstruation, a wedding, the announcement of conception, the birth of a son. 182
  • 183. - The most comprehensive statement of children’s rights ever made is the “Convention on the Rights of the Child”, broadly grouped as the right to survival, to development, to protection from abuse and exploitation and to participate in decisions affecting their lives. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, it has since been accepted by over 180 countries, making it the most widely - ratified human rights treaty of all time. Countries, which ratify the convention, have agreed to meet the standards set for all children, regardless of their gender, religion and income group. Although the main responsibility for meeting the rights of the child lies with the government, everyone has a role to play.- Thousands of boys work on the looms in the carpet belt of Mirzapur/Bhadohi (India). Many of them are bonded; others are paid a few rupees a day for their work.- In mass marriage ceremonies which begin on the festival of “Akha Teej” (day after the harvest is brought in), girl children in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, India, are “married off”. While child marriages are illegal in India, in several communities, they are a common practice, and a daughter reaching adulthood in her parents’ home is considered a matter of serious concern.- India has the largest proportion of children out of school (22% of the global total).- I come from a country (India) where children grow up on railroad tracks and on the streets. How can I remain quiet?- Many children traverse long distances to get a good education. What matters in education is the enthusiasm and skill of a good teacher, in village schools. adopting activity - based teaching would mean making 183
  • 184. learning joyful and productive, for example, teaching how to count six toy pigeons or the English Alphabet. One should provide incentives for learning, and physical punishment (as is often done) should never, never be resorted to.- The majority of India’s child labor works in the agricultural sector - 15 million of them (for example, girls working in the sugarcane fields of Bihar) are bonded, their work pledged to pay off the debts of their families. Tens of millions of children in India have an adult’s burden of work (example, children working in gun factories, glass industry in Ferozabad, Uttar Pradesh, India - children as young as ten years). Children are attractive to employers because they are cheap, pliable and do not unionize. The burden of work falls heaviest on girls and yet is often not recognized as child labor at all. The girl who spends her days looking after her siblings and performing household tasks is denied her rights to education and healthy development as much as the child working in a factory. And boys have to accompany their fathers on fishing trips. Girls and women work in prawn - peeling units (of factories) in Orissa. Boys usually load and unload the catch until 4 p.m., after which peeling is done till 7 a.m. though the Factories Act prohibits the employment of children at night, splitting the factory into smaller units, which are not covered by the Act, circumvents the rule. Untold numbers of girls are sold into prostitution and forced to service upto ten men a night. Girls most vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation are those from poor families living in marginal communities on the orbits of the major towns, daughters of destitute families living in villages, migrants who have no night shelter and daughters of commercial sex workers. there are many other forms of child labor- 184
  • 185. shoeshine boys, children performing acrobatics, little children of nomads going through daily routines of jumping through a ring of fire. Sometimes, children have to beg on the streets to make a living. Countless children work in the unorganized and self-employed sectors-- Street children? Their hopes, their aspirations, their futures? Falling asleep on the pavements?? Children of 15 and 16 year olds, children of drug-addicts??? Homes on disused railroad tracks???? Children earning a living by collecting plastic cartons at railway stations and selling them for a few rupees?- Babies born inside jail, where young mothers are detained, birth in confinement?- In addition to over half of preschool children who are malnourished, a large number of young children suffer from serious micronutrient deficiencies, particularly those relating to iodine and Vitamin A.- Adolescent mothers (approximately 10-16 years of age) are likely to remain physically underdeveloped and are at greater risk of obstetric complications and maternal deaths, as well as of bearing under-weight infants with reduced chances of survival. For the adolescent mother, childhood is effectively over and her education comes to an end. The premature assumption of childcare responsibilities ensures that for the child mother, there is no world beyond the family. In all this, economic considerations are often critical, and the sale of girls to much older and affluent bride-grooms is not uncommon. In some districts of Rajasthan (India), 45% of 10-14 year olds are married off. When the eldest daughter is married off, her younger sisters may also be married off at the same time to reduce the expense of the wedding. The cost of dowry is also much less for a child groom than for a man. 185
  • 186. - Some children are born amidst conflict. Children in Kashmir are surviving past heavily armed militants. Children come face-to-face with violence when soldiers enforce curfew in areas of violent conflict (remember Sarajevo, Rwanda?)- Some children are born into a loving, nurturing and protective environment, while their families outrightly exploit some others. Some children are struggling in a hostile world of street life and other difficult circumstances. 18 million children work under hazardous conditions. Millions of children have an adult burden of work from an early age. Don’t we all see the scars of pain and long-term neglect on these innocent faces?- Despite commitment to education stated in the constitution, only a half complete primary school. Even then, the quality rendered is abysmal. Children in the rural areas have to traverse long distances to reach school, which are normally run down, leaky and over-crowded but with no playgrounds.- Children grow up in different environments. Some grow up in opulent, restricted royal families or comfortable urban middle class families, while some (the very poorest of the urban and rural poor) live in insecurity with constant threat of violence. It is remarkable how these children and their families survive at all, given the extreme difficult conditions under which they are living. Indeed, many do not...- The family, particularly the mother, is crucial to the survival and development of the child, and a lot depends on the amount of care received. In many homes, mothers struggle to provide safety and security to their children under most difficult conditions. Infants face special problems when mothers are children themselves. 186
  • 187. - At the time of (Indian) independence in 1947, only 14% of India’s population were literate and one child out of three had been enrolled in primary school. One of the Directive Principles of the Constitution of India stated that the state shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until the age of fourteen.53 years have passed, and yet only a little over half of India’s population isliterate, and almost half of the children enrolled in primary school drop outbefore completing even five years of schooling, thus fuelling illiteracy inthe future. Girls are particularly affected. The female literacy rate remainsmuch lower than that of males and dropout rates for girls in the six largenorthern states are higher than that of boys. But, there is now a growingconsensus that universalizing primary education is the most pressingpriority for the country’s well-being benefiting both the economy and thehealth of the country’s people, as well as contributing to a slowing ofpopulation growth.- “The air, the water and the soil are not a gift from our parents but a loan from our children.”-saying of a Canadian Indian tribe. 187
  • 188. CHAPTER 11B FROM GOD’S CHILDREN TO THE CHILD“Producing a child is really no great accomplishment. The truly greataccomplishment is to give a child life in the fullest meaning of the word…”- Extract from a book by Ms. Tadd Fisher, former Executive Editor of thePopulation Reference Bureau in Washington D.C., USA (Moral Issues inthe Production of a Child).The child, a flower, every child, rich or poor, maimed or otherwise, is abeautiful flower. Everytime I see a child crawling on the ground, orlearning to walk, or going to Montessori (then to primary school unto thetime the child grows up) I am reminded of a beautiful flower…Michael learns to rock has sung“Oh my sleeping childThe world so wild!”Yes, the world is so harsh, so wild, for so many children - victims of war,domestic violence, children who lack good nutrition, child labor, childrenwho do not have the opportunity to read and write and so on. Children of the world are crying out:“O Lord of the Universe! Refuge of the whole world! O thou of infiniteforms! Soul of the universe! O thou in whom repose the infinite virtues ofthe world! O thou adored by all! Compassionate one!Rescue me, helpless as I am, from the trackless forest of this miserableworld.” 188
  • 189. - Sri Sankaracharya (a renowned Indian saint)The world’s most pressing problems at a time of “dramatic global change”are unemployment, poverty and social disintegration. The denied sectionsare Third World women and children, like health of the pregnant motherand her to–be-born baby. Every person has a right to development,including those relating to education, food, shelter, clothing, employment,health and information.Liberalization (in India) has opened up new means of communication, yes,now we can watch Australian and British and American channels, but whatway has it helped the man on the street??? How has it helped women (Imean slum and rural women) and children??? How will children benefit ifpolitical leaders continue wooing the poor???Children (and women, for that matter) should be placed at the center ofinternational development strategy. The world will not solve itsfundamental long-term problems until it learns to do a better job ofprotecting and investing in the physical, mental and emotional developmentof its children.Because we protectToday’s children,We protectTomorrow’s world!Yes!!!Children areTomorrow’s world!!!!! 189
  • 190. We solve the problems of development, especially those relating to men(think for a moment) and children in poverty, and all security problems(frustrated aspirations, rising social tensions, internal conflicts, failedstates, mass migrations, disaffection of large numbers of people from theirvalue systems, governments and institutions) will vanish!!!!Millions of children are suffering - from malnutrition, ill health and poorgrowth, from an inability to read and write, from disease, from exploitationas child labor, millions are being pushed into the flesh trade, are beingmarried off (child marriage), millions are victims of war, or are beingsexually abused or mutilated, many are being abused at home by drunkenparents, millions are victims of superstition (female circumcision /infibulation, female infanticide). This is no foundation for sustainabledevelopment.Childhood is the time when minds and bodies and values and personalitiesare being formed. And it is a time, when even temporary deprivation iscapable of inflicting lifelong damage on human development. It followsthat the vital, vulnerable years of childhood must be protected at all costs.Think about children who are caught up in armed conflicts. Example inRwanda, what must have happened to children caught up in thecatastrophe? What kind of adults will they be, these millions of childrenwho have been traumatized by mass violence, who have been deprived ofhomes and parents, of family and community, of identity and security, ofschooling and stability, who have been denied the opportunity to developnormally in mind and body? What scars will they carry forward into their(own) adult lives? And what kind of contribution will they be making totheir societies in 15 or 20 years from now? 190
  • 191. At one time, wars were fought between armies. But in the wars of the last10 years, far more children have been killed or disabled than soldiers.Millions of children have been forced into refugee camps, and millionshave been left homeless. It’s a shame that world governments have notbeen able to avert such calamities.Economic forces also deprive far larger numbers of the kind of childhoodthat will enable them to become part of tomorrow’s solutions rather thanpart of tomorrow’s problems.“For many millions of families in the poorest villages and urban slums ofthe developing world”, says UNICEF, “the daily consequence of theseeconomic forces over which they have no control is that they are unable toput enough food on the table, unable to maintain a home fit to live in,unable to dress and present themselves decently, unable to protect healthand strength, unable to admit in school or sustain education of theirchildren.”The impact of these forces on nutrition, health and education, means thatthe heaviest burden has fallen on young children. The very young arepaying the highest price of all, because they are paying with their onechance to grow normally in mind and body.Millions of families are becoming destitute and desperate. Most of thevictims are young, uprooted and urbanized. According to UNICEF, thesegroups know far more about the world than their parents did, and theyexpect far more from it. The almost inevitable result is an increase in socialtensions, ethnic problems, and political turbulence. 191
  • 192. It is under these circumstances that the rise of crime, violence, alcoholism,drug abuse etc. (by which the aggrieved and the discarded have alwayssought to console themselves) should be inevitable.Protecting the normal development of children is a practical as well as alogical proposition.At least the most basic needs of all children - for nutrition, clothing, healthcare and primary education, should be met within the next few years. Wecan of course deploy today’s new knowledge, new cost technologies andnew communication capacities. If the efforts can be sustained andincreased, then our goals for protecting all children from malnutrition andpreventable disease- and ensuring that the vast majority have at least aprimary education- can certainly be achieved.The industrialized nations should give more support to these efforts. Actionto protect the rising generation should be encouraged worldwide.(Source: several books and magazines containing articles on children) I will sum up with a beautiful song by Mark Owen: - “Child” “Sleep peacefully now my child I hope that you go away To a place where your dreams can play Wipe all the tears from your eyes There is a sky of blue This is your time of truth Like a bird high on the wind 192
  • 193. May you fly away….Like a snow fall in the springMay your cares melt away…” 193
  • 194. CHAPTER 12ABy the end of the 21st century, books as we know them will no longer exist,replaced by such new technology as electronic books. In 100 years, fewpeople will want to read at all, and fewer still will know to write. - Geoffrey E. Meredith, a California (USA) marketing consultantWhat about the Third World slums and villages? Who will bring suchtechnology to them? By the time the Third World gets the benefits of moresophisticated technology, the industrialized world will have gone on tosomething totally different.And, what about- broken down buildings;- the lack of interest on the part of teachers;- falling ceilings;- lack of toilets;- lack of electricity; and- lack of clean drinking water???[In India and in many other countries of the Third World]And, how can we forget those men and women who labor by day and bynight to lay the bricks of a school building? And, in a rural area???1. ‘Everyone has the right to education. Education should result in people learning about and respecting human rights. It is a tool for understanding and liberation...’ - Article 26 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.2. Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; 194
  • 195. education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. - Will Durant3. It is well when the wise and the learned discover new truths; but how much better to diffuse the truths already known amongst the multitudes.- Horace Mann4. Education is a debt due from the present to the future generations.- George Peabody5. Education is the process by which the individual relates himself to the universe, gives himself citizenship in the changing world, shares the race’s mind and enfranchises his own soul.- John H. Finley6. In the Third World (particularly, Africa, Bangladesh, India) very few children can hope for a place in primary school. In the most backward countries, fewer still, can hope for such a place... Independence has come... and gone... and a revolution in education is needed... The size of populations is growing fast... Independent governments have, therefore, to provide many more schools and teachers... 195
  • 196. Both quantity and quality (in education) are needed... Girls are still inan inferior position, many fewer girls get to school than boys... Effortshave to be made towards correcting this... Sports and recreationshould be included...Education curricula should include, among other things... value (or,moral) education, a simple and lucid discourse on “development” ofthe countries of the students concerned, human rights, vocationalschools for practical training (to enable employment), agriculturalschools, schools for medicine (particularly, indigenous medicine), adiscourse on “culture” or the worth of local traditions and beliefs,modern science, and the need for national and “international unity” infacing common problems…. A need for “social” hygiene, personalhealth and hygiene, a need for cleanliness and sanitation….Expansionin education must continue...Africa has more than 700 languages, many of which are spoken bysmall communities. Some are spoken by numerous peoples, forinstance, the Yoruba language in Nigeria; or the Akan or Twi inGhana; Arabic in North Africa and Sudan; Swahili in East Africa; andHausa in West Africa. There is need for a common language...Very few actually possess “literacy”, or the knowledge of how to readand write. Many literacy campaigns should be launched, and theteaching of elementary arithmetic be made an integral part of them...The number of illiterates remains high. For the problem of “literacy”goes beyond teaching people to read and write, to produce conditionsin which people form the habit of reading, writing and/or both. 196
  • 197. The time has come in the history of nations to liberate their peoples from (centuries of) superstition, illiteracy and ignorance. There is imminent danger that the growth of population will very soon begin to outrun the literacy campaigns, and fresh efforts are needed... And every village and every tribal hamlet, however remote... will have a school (within close access)....7. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC-India) declared in a report that the “problem of child labor will persist... until the reality of free and compulsory primary education... is realized.” There is no dearth of laws prohibiting employment of children below 12 years in several industries, and India is also a signatory to the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” of 1989. Yet there are as many as 44 million to 100 million working children. An ILO convention has described compulsory primary education as the most effective antidote to exploitation of children. Due to continued neglect of the problem for decades, the number of children out of school has grown as fast and large as the country’s population. The requisite financial and infrastructural resources are just not there... time to re-orient national policies on education.... -It has been observed that the economic, industrial and social development of any nation depends on the number of literate population. Many things about a country can be known from the number of educated people and the level of education. 197
  • 198. Literacy in some major countries Country Literacy rate (%) USSR (former) 99.8 Australia 99.0 Japan 98.0 UK 97.0 Belgium 96.0 Argentina 94.0 Thailand 88.0 China 65.0 India 52.0 Pakistan 25.0Source: CMIE report, Sept. 1990-(Source of the following extracts: “Outreach”, Min of HRD, India)– Man has gradually been recognized as an important resource of development and progress. The concept of human capital or resource development is now an integral part of planning. The value and quality of the human resource can be increased through education. Therefore, literacy plays a vital role in human resource development.– Education is an important tool to help people and groups in coping with the process of transition and change. The concept of basic education was reinforced by the World Declaration for All adopted by the Jomtien Conference held in 1990.Illiterate persons cannot do practical things as read or write a letter, read abus plate or keep accounts. An ignorant person remains poor, and vice-versa. In India, there is widespread resistance to female education. Girl 198
  • 199. child labor is prevalent. Rural women and those belonging to weakersections are largely illiterate.The importance of literacy:i. encourage independence and escape exploitation;ii. avoid regular humiliation and frustration;iii. increase in productive skills and confidence;iv. helps fight against social evils and restrictive beliefs;v. gainful access to health and other information;vi. increase in participation in nation building and enabling people to determine the direction of developmental process;vii. higher enrolment and retention of children in schools;viii. enhanced participation in community health, environment and other programs.– In the “mass campaign approach” to literacy, local volunteers implement literacy programs, whether in a slum area, a village, a cluster of villages, or even a whole district within a fixed time frame. This approach creates a conducive environment for learning, with educated individuals coming forward to help the illiterate -without any incentive.The most difficult job in any literacy effort is to provide enough motivationto illiterate people to learn and educated people to teach on a sustainedbasis. There have to be minimal dropouts. Special efforts should be made 199
  • 200. to mobilize girls and women. Efforts should also be made to dispel doubtsand misgivings about literacy and spread positive perceptions of it.Methods of literacy could include play, games, song, drama, stickers,posters, banners, slides, hoardings and films.Children in the 9-14 age group, and those in the 6-9 age group who cannotattend whole day schools due to economic or family compulsions, shouldbe given “non-formal education” (NFE). Also, vocational training,immunization of children and family welfare can and should be included.- Continuing Education for Development (CED):Essentially extends literacy and primary education to promote humanresource development (HRD). Most Third World developmental plans andpolicies aim at strengthening formal education to ensure that there isenough knowledge and skill for development. Unfortunately, this policyhas largely failed, and inequalities of all kinds, low productivity andilliteracy and semi-literacy remain. The formal educational system, whichis largely urban- based, has caused massive migration from rural to urbanareas. (Urban) schooling has alienated people from society and led to socialdisintegration, conflict and aggression.In “Continuing Education”, an individual can engage in lifelong learning.Continuing Education gives individuals a second chance and focuses onhuman resource development (HRD).Many theorists say that problems like unemployment, illiteracy and socialinequality cannot be addressed by education alone. Continuing educationseeks to address this problem in two ways:i. it equips people with the capacities and skills needed to address structural flaws in society; 200
  • 201. ii. more importantly, it switches emphasis from something “imposed” as a formal system of education, to something self-run by individual learners. In continuing education, individuals set and sustain their learning objectives, not the system.Efforts should be made to provide library facilities and reading rooms tocreate a good learning atmosphere. Cultural and recreational activitiesshould be organized.Continuing Education programs should be extended to neo-literates, schooldropouts, primary school pass-outs, NFE pass-outs, and any one interestedin life-long learning. Programs should take into account local conditionsand available resources.– Alternative education programs may be provided to out-of-school children who have acquired basic literacy skills or have completed primary school and who would like to study further.– Programs of individual interest should be encouraged, particularly among children. These may include sports, hobbies, art, painting, drawing, music, dance, drama, creative writing, leadership skills, etc.For each of the following articles, I have consulted the “Public Report onBasic Education in India” - Centre for Development Economics, Delhi,India.“Elementary education as a fundamental right”: the 83rd Amendment to theIndian Constitution which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in July’, 97recognizes elementary education as a fundamental right. Political leadersare hardly concerned. There is a good chance, however, that the 83rdAmendment will be adopted in the near future. 201
  • 202. Education has been neglected for so long. The system of schooling isnowhere near the goal of providing decent education to every child.The successful ‘Universalization of Elementary Education’ depends on the‘positive’ involvement of parents, political parties, and society in general.The Right to Education may be hampered by a system in which eitherteachers abscond from school, or children are withdrawn by parents fromschool for financial or other reasons, or a child laborer is exploited by hisor her employer. We need to make social responsibility more forceful.Millions of children are still excluded from the schooling system.Guaranteeing the right of every child to education is a question of basicsocial justice.The states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh andHimachal Pradesh account for 40% of India’s population and more thanhalf of all out-of-school children. Except for Himachal Pradesh, these statesare the worst performing on elementary education.“The state shall endeavour to provide within a period of ten years from thecommencement of this constitution, for free and compulsory education forall children until they complete the age of fourteen years.”(Constitution of India, Directive Principles of State Policy, Article 45)It is still believed that it is not essential for all citizens to be educated,hence public commitment to universal elementary education is so half-hearted.Enormous resources have been spent on institutions of higher learning (e.g.IIMs and IITs) while thousands of primary schools (mostly in rural areas)go without black-boards, sanitary toilets or clean drinking water. 202
  • 203. Education is important for various reasons – firstly, for economic growth. Itis also a fundamental right. Demand for education is rapidly growing.Education is important in that, for poor families, education for boys is moreimportant, as they work and earn incomes. Education may be important forthe “sheer joy of learning” without being repetitive and cumbersome.Education helps achieve good health, and protect children from disease. InKerala, India’s most literate state, infant mortality is only 14 per thousandlive births, while in Madhya Pradesh, the rate is 97 per thousand.Education facilitates a number of activities: reading newspapers, availingoneself of a bank loan, avoiding extortion or harassment, and participatingin local affairs. Education facilitates social progress as persons who acquiregood education can help their own communities develop, mothers caneducate their children. Education enables work on disease, populationgrowth or environmental degradation. Educated people are better able toparticipate in the political process, like exercising their votes. Lack ofeducation makes a person powerless, and increases economic disparities.Education can liberate children from a feeling of powerlessness, which isso much experienced by those who are illiterate or ignorant.In a letter to the International League for the Rational Education ofChildren (14 August 1908), Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore viewededucation as ‘a right which enables individuals and communities to act onreflection.’ His words have largely gone unheard.Economic returns to elementary education: “in mainstream economics,education is treated as an ‘investment.’ International studies of economicreturns to education suggest that (i) education is one of the best investmentsdeveloping countries can make, (ii) economic returns to education are 203
  • 204. highest for primary schooling and decline with rising levels of education,and (iii) female education has higher economic returns than maleeducation.”With reference to India, “Anganwadis” can help: “we are talking about acrèche or child-care facility being available. This is one of the aims of the‘Anganwadis’ run under the Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS). In fact, a well-functioning ICDS center can provide much more-from looking after the nutrition and health-care needs of pregnant andlactating women, to enabling poor women and their elder children go toschool without constraints. It would even look after the developmentalneeds of the young children placed in its care.A well-functioning Anganwadi has much to contribute to the success ofschooling. If pregnant women are looked after, then babies are less likely tohave a low birth-weight, with all its attendant problems. Providing the rightkind of stimulation as well as food to small children helps their healthydevelopment. And a good pre-school program enhances the readiness ofyoung children to enter school.”Health and schooling: convenient access to basic health-care may be animportant reason for high school attendance. It may be possible that inareas where access to health-care is limited, school attendance is muchlower. Poor patients are always suffering from lack of contacts or lack offinancial resources to avail themselves of good health care. Very often,children miss school either due to their own illness or due to the illness of afamily member. In a country like India, infant mortality rates are high, andwhen survival of children becomes important, health becomes a higher 204
  • 205. priority than schooling. High fertility also tells upon schooling. Better health-care helps reduce gender disparities in school attendance. Distant schools? Leaking roofs...?? Damaged walls??? .... Dampened learning???? An oppressive environment: How can a child grow? (Source: PROBE in India, Oxford, 1999)Experience Effect- school building is usually bare, - going to school is neither attractive often dilapidated, even filthy nor stimulating to the child- teacher shortage; overcrowded - children play or fight among classes; Class 1 usually neglected themselves; puzzled and bored and switched out, particularly the younger ones.- teaching activity is of short - spoils chances of success especially duration; teachers arrive late and for first-generation learners; child’s leave early; when present they self-esteem hurt: ‘I am not important may not teach and neither is learning’- no teaching aids used; alien - child repeatedly experiences the curriculum; child may not even burden of non-comprehension and have a textbook with it a sense of failure.- copying and cramming are the - no stimulation for a thinking mind to most common teaching methods develop or for self-confidence to grow- no craftwork or color or music; - boredom; schooling is not physical activity is rare invigorating for the child- gender bias; quiet discrimination - further marginalization of under- against children of disadvantaged privileged children. background Access to education in India is sharply skewed, even at the primary level. At one end are the resource-rich, mainly private schools that cater to a 205
  • 206. privileged few. At the other, are a large number of ill-equipped and badlymanaged government schools, which are supposed to educate the majorityof children. The contrast between these two schooling systems is so starkthat they are virtually different worlds altogether.Boy fails in exam, commits suicide: New Delhi, the Times of India, 20June 1998: a 16-year old boy who failed in the Class-X board examinationreportedly killed himself. The body of Ravinder Kumar was fished outfrom a canal.... He is learnt to have been missing since he went to check hisexamination results.... He was studying at a government school.Does not the system shock you?The case for ‘school meals’: the major argument is that they make forbetter school enrolment and attendance. School meals attract children bygiving them scope to enjoy a free meal. School meals can help provide(even simple) nutrition to children at least in deprived areas. Finally, mealshelp children sit together and share, without the barriers of class and caste.Success with Child Labor-Elementary Education: by Neera Burra: “freeand compulsory education is a necessary, if not sufficient condition, for theelimination of child labor.... In the carpet-weaving belt of Bhadohi,Mirzapur district, children themselves are making lists of all out-of-schoolchildren to enable CREDA (an NGO) to put pressure on the administrationto provide schools....The NGOs that have succeeded in eliminating child labor are those whichhave mobilized parents, children, communities, employers and governmentofficials to get children out of work and into school. These NGOs havesearched for community solutions.... This changing of mindsets has to startwith all of us…The poor are ready to make all the necessary sacrifices to 206
  • 207. give their children a chance in the future - but are we ready to share theshrinking cake of opportunities with others who are more disadvantaged?”A model school:i. teachers affectionate towards children;ii. teachers have atleast a basic understanding of child development and a concern for children;iii. incentives to boost childrens’ confidence;iv. innovative and child-friendly practice;v. care and compassion for children;vi. interesting learning atmosphere;vii. orderly premises;viii. low pupil-teacher ratio.Elementary education in the media: one point worth noting is the poorcoverage of elementary education in the media, which gives more attentionto issues like foreign investment and celebrity weddings. And moreover,very few articles in newspapers talk of the daily struggle of underprivilegedchildren in rural areas (nearest school 2-3 kms away, physicalpunishment?) and, there is always more coverage of defense and Pakistan’santics, than of elementary education.The time is for concerted action. The future of hundreds of millions ofchildren is at stake.- [Source: the PROBE Team (report) c/o Centre for DevelopmentEconomics, Delhi]. 207
  • 208. CHAPTER 12B AS A CHILD OF (THE) FUTURE (INDIA), I DESERVE TO BE EDUCATED“Delivering a lecture in Rome in 1981, Mrs. Indira Gandhi said that anintercontinental missile costs the same as setting up 65000 primary schools.This explains why India is both a nuclear power and a world topper inilliteracy and child labour. Let us face it, India has chosen to developmilitary might in preference to children’s health and education.”- KrishnaKumar, former Head and Dean, Department of Education, DelhiUniversity, India.Universal elementary education for India’s children in the 21st Century willinvolve a series of mammoth tasks. India has to tackle them. Can India, forinstance, make economic progress so long as half its population never goesto school? But why would these children ever go to school when theirilliterate parents are not compelled to send their children to school? Whyshould they not be allowed to send their children to do all sorts ofhazardous work just for money? How can millions of children be given freeelementary education in a desperately poor country like India? The abovequestions hold good for all poor nations.We halt for a moment!“Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain andruns riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, manmaking, character building, assimilation of ideas.”- Swami Vivekananda 208
  • 209. I have spoken earlier of moral education and basic literacy skills.“If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character,you have more education than any man who has got by heart a wholelibrary!”- Swami Vivekananda(The following extracts are based on an article in “the Telegraph”, cannotrecall the date)First, wishing – as most people possibly do - all children should be able togo to school for their elementary education, is, I believe, a matter of humanvalues.Every child’s right to (get) free, elementary education stands recognized asa fundamental right. This is the law of the land as it stands. This holds goodfor all the world’s children.One real problem, however, will remain with us: that problem will lie indeciding how to provide education for all of India’s children – around 200million of them, which will make up the world’s largest child population.First, to decide on the right languages of literacy and primary education;second, the contents of what is to be taught; and third, how to maintain thequality of the elementary education to be imparted. In India’s special case,how to teach across a country which is multicultural, multilingual incharacter. Clearly, this is one enormous task.This goes for children in all poor nations. Illiterate parents in general, aretoday ready to make greater sacrifices - to the extent of doing without themoney earned through the working child - to send their children – even girlchildren, to school. This, if there are regular schools to go to. (I havesuggested mobile education units promoted by the corporate sector. In my 209
  • 210. opinion, such units can go a long way towards reduction in child labor). Forthe task, we need dedicated people.To send all children to “regular” schools with “regular” teachers, if that“rare species of human capital” (“regular” teachers) can be made physicallyavailable in sufficient numbers-will cost an enormous sum. But therespective governments can always pay that “rare species of humancapital”.If we could persuade kind-hearted and qualified people to help out atnominal salaries and teach for about 1000 teacher days each over a fewyears, then we could achieve universal elementary education in India for asong. But that is a distant arrangement. Conversely, we could practice the“Ripple Effect” wherein one teaches a second, a second teaches a third, andso on.How do we educate children of farmers? • start with small projects – for raising finance, we can look for small businessmen / women, like those who have money they cannot pump back into their own business when it reaches saturation point. such people can invest small amounts (e.g. for a small school building ) - • provide “book bank” facilities for them- • provide boarding facilities for students- • give each student a plot inside the campus on which they can be taught to grow flowers and crops- Fearing that education may generate even larger scandals than what food and fodder have, I can foresee that this would be one of the most daunting tasks facing India at the moment… 210
  • 211. We must bear in mind, however, that (the Right to) Education is animportant human right, and should not be neglected… 211
  • 212. CHAPTER 13A“You ought to believe something in life, believe that thing so fervently thatyou will standup with it till the end of the day.... We have a power, a poweras old as the insights of Jesus and Nazareth and as modern as thetechniques of Mahatma Gandhi.”- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.‘I was so overwhelmed, when I heard it.... I was so moved, I cried.’– Ximena Campos (Chilean) whose brother had disappeared earlier, on Sting’s famous song, “They Dance Alone” as part of his “Human Rights Now” tour of North America (1988).1. “Forty years ago (on 10 Dec 1948) the governments of the United Nations made a historic promise to the world. They proclaimed, for the first time in history, that all human beings would be recognized as free and equal in dignity and rights. This was the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)... that promise has not been kept.”- Franca Sciuto, Amnesty International.2. “We will not have finished until cruelty, be it killing or torture, is seen as obscene and impermissible.”- Peter Benenson, 1991.3. People get killed at peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations... Troops open fire... Students and spectators get shot at random... Men, women and children get beaten or shot... and more.... This is the kind of repression humanity has to put up with.... Children disappear.... People 212
  • 213. are tortured for many reasons - religion, ethnic origins, sex and political beliefs.... The death penalty.... detention camps.... forced refugees.... mass killing.... mass rape.... massacre.... The electric chair for juvenile offenders, suppression of kids for minor offences.... people sleeping in cardboard boxes on cold wintry nights... massive starvation....street children.... children looking for food on rubbish heaps, sleeping under parked cars, victims of war and persecution… The list is endless.4. Nazism in World War II... six million Jews.... herded into.... concentration camps.... Dachau…Auschwitz.... Nuremberg… The gas chambers.... Unimaginable...!!!5. ‘Hopes have been aroused in many people through the ages. But it has never been possible for the nations of the world to come together and try to work out in co-operation such principles as will make living more worthwhile for the average human being.’– Eleanor Roosevelt. On the night of Dec. 10, 1948, the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (set out in a way that the average person could understand and drawn for an improvement in the lives of ordinary people everywhere), was adopted by forty-eight countries of the United Nations. Its articles set out the fundamental rights of every human being on this planet-whether they be freedom from arbitrary arrest, or the right to food, shelter and health care -6. ‘The poorer nations were deeply committed to the rights aimed at eradication of hunger, disease, illiteracy and homelessness. To some of their governments it seemed almost irrelevant in comparison to fight for the rights of a few score political prisoners.... 213
  • 214. Basically “Human Rights” has a different meaning to Soviets and Westerners. In the West, “Human Rights” conjured up political persecution, imprisonment and torture ... but for Russians ... they meant the rights to employment, to medical aid, to housing, to education and to freedom from hunger. Viewed from the USSR, Western unemployment, homelessness and poverty were serious violations of rights.’- Adapted from David Winner.7. “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home-so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.... unless these rights have meaning there.... we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”- Eleanor Roosevelt.8. Our common humanity should link everyone in the world.9. Suharto’s Indonesia in the 1960s, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, Idi Amin’s Uganda in the 1970s, Iraq of the 1980s and 1990s - have tortured, murdered and tyrannized their own people while continuing to pay lip service to UN human rights principles.... Murdered students of Tiananmen Square in China.... Civilians in the Philippines under the tyranny of Ferdinand Marcos (1980s)....???10. ‘Governments are very concerned about their “image”. No one likes to be seen committing atrocities. If all the evil can be carried out under the cover of secrecy, in the dead of night, in remote places, then it is 214
  • 215. easier to get away with it. A government can present a good face to the world in the light of day and no one will know the difference...’11. Can you believe it that a four-year-old girl in India was married off to a dog by her parents? Shocking! This came out in the newspapers a couple of years ago.12. Human Resources form the vital foundations of long term economic prosperity in any society... the experience of South-East Asia provides some sobering lessons for Indian policy makers.... The important, long-term lesson that India should draw, is that growth depends not so much on markets and financial institutions, as on the basic quality of life of the people.... A strong economy can be built on the rock of human development only….13. From “Human Development in South Asia”, 1988, Mahabub-ul-Haq and Khadija Haq, Oxford - despite being a region with a lot of promise, South Asia has failed to convert its potential into reality. A major failure has been the inability to transform the region’s vast human resource potential, represented by one-fifth of humanity, into a productive, vibrant work force. Being deprived of the basic levels of health, literacy and gainful employment, a large number of South Asians continue to live on the brink of deprivation. If the South Asian governments do not act now, catastrophe is imminent.... The challenge in South Asia consists of the reality of imparting education (“human” knowledge) which is responsive to the needs of the domestic and global markets (including technical skills). Education should involve community participation, flexible timings and cost effectiveness. 215
  • 216. CHAPTER 13B AT THE TURN OF THE 21ST CENTURY, HUMAN RIGHTS: THE NEW CONSENSUSA child views his rights:“The majority of the leaders in this world never had to carry a gun whenthey were eight years old. They never had to experience starvation. Theynever had to see the death of their parents or brothers and sisters. I assumethat these government officials never had to go through life begging in thestreets just to live day by day.”These are the words of a young child gazing at the panoply of modernworld leaders speaking for Coalition for Children of the Earth at the WorldConference on Human Rights convened in Vienna (Austria) by the UNGeneral Assembly. Her words have now been published.It has been predicted that the 21st Century will be a Century wherein therewould be no wars, but all the Asian and African countries will be plaguedwith a number of small and medium battles in which thousands of innocentpeople will be killed. Inequality will reach the highest level. There wouldbe very few islands of abundance, encircled by a sea of poverty. Thispattern of world phenomena will be seen all over the world. In countrieslike India, there would be 80% poverty - stricken people. In the world, only6-7 nations will be rich, encircled by the poor South. On the whole, 80%will be in poverty and 20% will be rich. Justice, truth and equality will betrampled over. The weapons and the physical strengths of 6-7 nationsheaded by the “Big Boss” cannot be challenged by conventional methods. 216
  • 217. How to fight against injustice, exploitation and the dons of inequality?These are the patterns and the problems of the 21st Century.Human Rights in the Post-Cold War EraIn too many places, everywhere on the planet, human dignity is underassault. For too many of our fellow human beings, life is nasty and brutish.This, despite an evolving international human rights system. After 1945,nations decided that the promotion of human rights ought to be a principalpurpose of the new UNO. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of HumanRights was presented to the UN. It was a historic achievement, and animportant movement in the development of international human rights. But,now in the Post-Cold War Era, our world community is facing some criticalhuman rights challenges. The forces that challenge and test our humancondition – the forces of technology, demography, political disintegration,cultural animosities, ecological damage – are severe and in many respectsincreasing. Respect for all – regardless of gender, age, race, creed, socialstatus, religion, and culture, into which he or she is born, must bedeveloped. We now must reformulate the challenge of well being toinclude poverty and a basic right to food, to health and to shelter. In aworld of 5,500 million people, 1,500 million live in absolute poverty. Thata child dies of starvation is as much a denial of human rights as when anadult is tortured. What we need now is an agenda for dignity. All this takesa special kind of courage.The late Robert F. Kennedy observed at Cape Town, South Africa in 1963:“It is from numberless acts of courage and belief that human history isshaped. each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot ofothers, or strikes out against injustice, he sends out a tiny ripple of hope.... 217
  • 218. these ripples build a current which can sweep down the highest walls ofoppression and resistance.” 218
  • 219. CHAPTER 14AFrom the little sparkMay burst a mighty flame.- Dante.1. Scientists have predicted that one day, every one, including farmers, will be able to tap directly into data generated by new user - friendly satellite imaging systems. Will the ‘Ripple Effect’ work? Will farmers in the Third World benefit?2. Throughout the world, tribal and rural people face the brunt of social and economic backwardness (e.g. the Masai in Africa, the Ho, and the Birhor in India). They have to be given global exposure. Let us create a consumer’s forum for tribal and rural services. Tribal and rural culture - dances, art, music, sport, etc, have to be taken to the global market.3. Let us sponsor rural and tribal students pursuing education (particularly, technical education) anywhere in the country. 219
  • 220. CHAPTER 14B CREATING A RIPPLE OF HOPE - HOW DO WE ORGANIZE THE RURAL POOR?Poverty alleviation can be achieved through the “Ripple Effect”. Through adifficult process of building cadres of rural workers, a new generation ofdedicated and properly – motivated workers with a vision for developmentmust be created.Over 75% of India’s population live in about 5,50,000 villages. Out of anestimated work - force of 250 million, 200 million consists of landlesslaborers, share -croppers and artisans in the rural areas. Yet, the paradoxremains that rural labor is by and large unorganized.The forty thousand and odd trade unions which together claim to representIndian labor have but a total membership of around six million, most of itin the urban areas. Illiteracy, ignorance, ill - health and the grinding povertyresulting from decades of exploitation and penury compel millions of ruralworkers to subsist in sub - human conditions.This condition exists in all Third World nations.Stop! Just for a moment, and think- • Time – 11:00:24 • Event – an athlete has tested positive on the dope test • On what – Stanozalol 220
  • 221. • Who did this - man ( with negative use of science ) • Conclusion: animal bestiality put into human behavior.The emphasis can no more be on “raising the people above the povertyline but how to halt further impoverishment ”, especially in the rural areas.No amount of statistical jugglery (of the population below the poverty line)can hide the fact of the stark and naked poverty prevailing in the villages,where parents are obliged to sell their children and men their wives,daughters and sisters to get temporary relief from the pangs of hunger.The situation of the rural poor in the Third World nations, therefore, is suchthat it is a Herculean task to organize them for effective action to pullthemselves out of the quagmire, and march towards development and self -reliance. Caught as they are in the vicious circle of extreme poverty andignorance, which prevents their organizing themselves, their situationcannot be improved unless they are better organized and are allowed tobecome a strong and articulate pressure group. The rural poor continue toremain where they have been, inspite of the entire well meaning and widelypublicized schemes of their respective governments.To win the confidence of the rural poor without inviting the hostility of thelocal vested interests right at the initial stage, the activist begins withseemingly innocuous programs like crèches, nursery schools, andelementary schools for children, informal education activities for the youngadults and the women, and some welfare programs in the fields of healthand medicine.These help arouse the awareness of the rural poor. The conscientationprocess then begins to operate. The desire to improve their conditions takesshape in their minds. The possibility for it spurs them to demand from the 221
  • 222. activist, facilities and resources, who in turn, then points out to them theneed for some kind of an infrastructure – in such a situation emerges aregistered society, a cooperative or a public charitable trust. Since these donot invite the wrath of the vested interests, as does a ‘trade union’, at thisstage, the activist sets the course of the poor towards “development”. Heenables them to secure financial and other assistance from government andnon-government agencies, banks and other financial institutions tosupplement the meager local collections through voluntary contributionsand donations.It is only when the rural poor have at least half their bellies full, that theywill listen to his discourse on the need for their own organization. somelocal youth, (perhaps educated unto the primary or middle level and maybe motivated by public service and attracted by the image of the selflessand devoted activist), will then risk dangers and begin to organize the ruralpoor. The steep and perilous paths of suffering, sacrifice, struggle andservice are indeed difficult to tread as much for the activist as for the ruralpoor.Having identified the “who” (should be doing), the journey now leads tothe question of “what”?? And “how”??? 222
  • 223. CHAPTER 15AIn the developing world, millions of people survive every day withoutaccess to the formal economies of their countries, and related facilities.They live and work daily by means of their own creativity and ingenuity.We are talking of a world where necessity is the mother of invention. We must infer That all things are produced More plentifully and easily And of a better quality When one man does one thing Which is natural to him And does it at the right time, And leaves other things. - Plato1. The best investment Is in the tools of one’s own trade. - Benjamin Franklin2. No gain is certain As that which proceeds From the economical use Of what you already have. 223
  • 224. - Latin proverb3. The high prize of life, The crowning glory of a man Is to be born with a bias To some pursuit Which finds him In employment and happiness Whether it be to make baskets, .... or canals, Or statues, or songs.- Ralph Waldo Emerson 224
  • 225. CHAPTER 15B LET US DEVELOP THEM GENUINELYEducational research and training for rural workers: by “rural workers” wemean those persons who work in a rural area to obtain food, shelter andclothing they need for themselves. In practice, this generally means anyonewho is working in agriculture, forestry, fishing, or a directly relatedoccupation. They may be working for a wage (as contractors) or they maybe self -employed and they include the wives and children of rural workers(child labor) who often work with them and who sometimes take theirplace when the men find other work.Rural workers form the bulk of the population of our country. They arespread in more than half a million villages neglected and uncared forcompared to their brethren in urban areas and in industrial occupations.Since they are dispersed over a large area, they remain unorganized unlikeindustrial workers. Education is therefore, necessary to make them realizethe abject condition they are living in, and also, the opportunities andpossibilities available for them to get out of this situation. Povertyalleviation alone will not redeem them from the centuries of oppression andsuppression to which they are subjected to by the clever manipulation ofsocial and economic forces in the rural communities. A dynamic andpurposeful education leading on to well-directed and organized action willalone save them from their present deprivation.Mass media like radio, TV and newspapers, invasion by political partiesand their top and petty have provided some information to villagers. Thecontent of education has to be enlarged to include an analysis of the 225
  • 226. economic and social conditions of rural communities, the position ofwomen in families and the community, the various schemes and programsinitiated by the government for the development of villages and theeradication of poverty. The other component for self – development shouldnot be ignored in Third - World poverty. These self-development activitiesare essentially Indian, but they should provide an example for all ThirdWorld nations. Promotion of cottage and village industries, initiating agro-industries, initiating bio-technology plants, manufacture of selectedconsumer products, promoting self-employment opportunities like poultry,brick-making, coir making, Khadi spinning and weaving require specialskilled training. Making of products which could be bought by outsidersmay also be an additional source of income. These non-farm activities forrural workers are absolutely necessary for them to make a living duringlean periods. Organizing women, helping the self-employed increase theirincome and ensuring their social well –being have necessarily to form partof any training program. Pray… Durga! Goddess of Mercy’s Ocean! Stricken with grief, to thee I pray: Do not believe me insincere; A child who is seized with thirst or hunger Thinks of his mother constantly. – Excerpt from Sri SankaracharyaNote: Durga is the Hindu goddess who represents victory of truth over evil. 226
  • 227. Some of the problems of poverty are essentially linked to the land the poorgrow crops on, which do not belong to them. They are also essentiallyrelated to the problem of unemployment. From David Ricardo, on theeffect of machinery on employment, a rise in the rate of capitalaccumulation which enables the absorption of the unemployed or low-productivity workers into high productivity jobs at higher wages, is,therefore, considered in the traditional development literature as thestandard panacea for poverty.Within the modern sector, the tastes and aspirations of the elite are stronglyinfluenced by the lifestyles of the advanced countries. Their consumptionpatterns change accordingly and these are sought to be emulated by ourelite. Consequently, there is a sort of product - cycles and processinnovations in the Western world. The Third World nations produce todaywhat the Western world produced yesterday, and by the time they (ThirdWorld - India, Bangladesh, the Sudan, etc.) start to produce today what theWest has produced yesterday, it is already tomorrow, and they have goneon to something altogether different.The basic problem is that while tastes and consumption habits aretransmitted from the West (at any rate to the elite), capital is not, nor islabor allowed to migrate freely from the backward to the advancedeconomies. Further, in economies like ours, “opening up” destroys existingproductive capacity without bringing the solution to mass poverty anynearer. Overcoming mass poverty is far more complex than is usually madeout. The main characteristic of the path of development would be:a) land reforms (with direct impact upon poverty ) ;b) a check on wide income inequalities ; 227
  • 228. c) independent innovations, so that the economy does not always have to choose between remaining technologically frozen or dependent ;d) rampant consumerism should be curbed and a social consensus built against it ;e) an open and accountable government which sees a need to decentralize power ;f) a planned thrust in exports ;g) far higher rates of investment ; andh) measures of social security, which are immediate and do not await “development”. To be sure, this is a stiff bill of goods, but then genuine development is not an easy task. Let us take a fresh look. 228
  • 229. CHAPTER 16AFarm mechanization will result in higher productivity and reduction inhuman drudgery and will generate more employment. Transitoryunemployment situations caused by mechanization get readjusted with thecreation of jobs in agro-processing and manufacturing industries, set up inthe wake of higher productivity and demand for machinery. Duringeconomic liberalization, mechanization can be profitably adopted inirrigation channels, development of underground water resources, soilconservation, dairy and veterinary sectors, and food processing industries.Lamartine and Warrier say that the types of machines that one needs willdepend on the nature of work for which they are used. Benefits includefreeing farmers from much laborious, tedious hard work, making life morebeneficial and raising the standard of living.1. Be not concerned If thou findest thyself In possession of unexpected wealth, Allah will provide An unexpected use for it.- James J. Roche2. That man is to be accounted poor, Of whatever rank he be, And suffers the pains of poverty, Whose expenses Exceed his resources; And no man is, properly speaking, 229
  • 230. Poor, but he.- William Paley3. Let us define Poverty: “It is a state of existence whereby people are inhibited from participation in society because of a serious lack of material and social resources... Most writers distinguish between ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ poverty. The former refers to conditions that will not sustain physical life, the latter to a lack of resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities that are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the society to which a person belongs.... Early studies conducted by Booth and Rowntree in the 1890s in Britain revealed widespread absolute poverty, which has now virtually been eradicated.... Recent studies have suggested that race and gender have strong associations with poverty.... In the main, people blame the poor for their poverty. Media coverage of poverty issues presents a fairly constant set of negative images of poor people as lazy and welfare - dependent. These views do not accord with the evidence, which reveals that many are actually in work, but that it is poorly paid.... the vast majority, made up of children and old people, could not in any event be expected to be economically active.... the belief that the poor are responsible for their 230
  • 231. own difficulties is persistent. In the public domain, the idea of thecycle of deprivation, and among sociologists the theory of culture ofpoverty, seek to explain the persistence of poverty by reference toideas and behaviours transmitted from one generation to another.Critics of these views point to the major changes that have occurredwhen governments have pursued policies that seek to redistributewealth - the clear implication being that poverty is a structural featureof society and not a question of individual behaviour....Poor people form the largest group of consumers of social services.Poverty is a major source of stress... has strong associations withmental health problems, with crime, with family problems includingchild abuse and with ill health....Few social workers have poverty centre-stage or indeed are requiredor permitted to develop an effective anti-poverty strategy. Such anapproach might entail income-maximization programmes, moneyadvice, housing improvement programmes and programmes tofacilitate the involvement of poor people in employment (for example,adult education services, nursery provision, and work and foodcooperatives). Many such ventures would require at least a community- focus and methods rooted in the approaches of communitydevelopment and community action.”P. Townsend, “Poverty in the United Kingdom: A Survey ofHousehold Resources and Standards of Living”, Harmondsworth,Penguin, 1979.The tillers of the land (the producers of food) are themselves not in aposition to buy food. What a disaster! 231
  • 232. 4. “Food Security” means that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to basic food. Even when there is enough food to go round, people are to have ready access to food-that they have an “entitlement” to food, by growing it for themselves, by buying it or by taking advantage of a public food distribution system. People can starve even when enough food is available as has happened during many famines, because they cannot afford it. Ample food is available in the world, even in developing countries. But not everyone gets enough to eat. The causes are poor distribution of food and a lack of purchasing power. Some 800 million people around the world go hungry. In Sub-Saharan Africa, despite considerable increases in the availability of food in recent years, millions are undernourished. And in South Asia, a large number of babies are born underweight - a sad indication of inadequate access to food, particularly for women, who are often the last to eat in a typical household. Access to food has been denied because access to assets, work and income has been denied....5. It would be wise to offer people direct incentives - to encourage people to economize on consumption patterns harmful to future generations - for example, through taxes and subsidies.6. The World Bank’s latest report for the year 2000-01 “Attacking Poverty”, coincides with the centenary of poverty studies. Rowntree carried out a pioneering study on poverty in the English town of York, the findings of which were published in 1901.... With reference to South Asia, the report predicted that “the number of the poor is expected to fall dramatically”. It is true that the proportion of the population of South Asia living on less than one dollar a day - 232
  • 233. the line of “extreme income poverty” - has gone down from 44% in1990 to 40% in 1998. But, the absolute number of people in thiscategory has actually increased from 474.4 million in 1990 to 522million in 1998 in the region....In India, according to a 1997 estimate, a staggering 44.2% of thepopulation lives below the poverty line. This is worse than that ofother countries of the region such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan andSri Lanka.Sub-Saharan Africa’s performance is worse than South Asia’s. Whilethe share of its population on less than $ 1 a day marginally decreasedfrom 47% in 1990 to 46.3% in 1998, the absolute number of people inthis category increased by more than 34%. A new development is thephenomenal growth of poverty in former Communist countries inEastern Europe and Central Asia, which are changing to marketeconomy (? - vagaries of the market, “prices”, export-import-procurement-food-distribution, “exchange-entitlement”; poverty). Inthese countries, the number of people living on less than a dollar a dayhas increased more than twenty-fold.If we take the world at large, around 1/5th of the world population withan absolute figure of more than 1.2 billion (more than a 100 Crore)people still live on less than $ 1 a day, although the percentage ofpeople living below this level has been reduced from 29 in 1990 to 24in 1998.... “Poverty, thus, remains a global problem of huge proportions.”There is ‘a need to broaden the agenda’ and go ‘beyond Economics’,to such things as expansion of the poor’s assets e.g. land andeducation. The poor are to be ‘empowered’ by a more pronounced 233
  • 234. popular participation in the political process... because they are vulnerable to ill health, natural disasters and violence.... There is a need to combine local, national and international efforts and a complete commitment. The world, is, however, waiting to see action. The affluent world is imposing its own solutions on the Third World.... There is required more realistic and concerted action involving the ‘desperately’ poor and their representatives.... (The Telegraph, India, 14 Nov. 2000).7. (July 23, 2000: The Telegraph, India): there is nothing to tell Sirpurwa village apart from the hundreds of other villages in Eastern Uttar Pradesh... all of which are reeling under poverty.... except that a 12-year old girl was ‘sold’ in marriage to a farmer old enough to be her grandfather. Her mother, a landless laborer lost a few of her 10 daughters and her husband to a debilitating disease.... Tottering under the weight of poverty, the girl’s mother could not afford to take chances.... could not wait atleast until little pinky (12) attained puberty.... And, so they say, poverty takes its toll, a very heavy toll....8. In the seventies, the eradication of poverty became big business. Solutions to poverty-related problems are no longer in the hands of the poor, but are now global management problems.... There is a strong vested interest for the poor to remain poor, today, as many, many jobs depend on them. Pure business, ah??? -9. “.... A point of concern is the continued and rather irrational obsession of policymakers with laws of mathematical progression. In 234
  • 235. the long run, they fail to come to terms with the more important factors. Humans do not multiply like bacteria by binary fission. So it is impossible to plan or predict population growth with the aid of a definite mathematical formula....” - K. Panda, Indian Council of Medical Research, Calcutta, The Telegraph, India, 28 Oct. 1997.10. Let us develop simple and efficient computers at low cost, which can be used by non-literate or neo-literate users. Let us take it to the rural masses and the urban poor. Software in the vernacular (e.g. Hindi in India) should be developed. (I believe this has already been done). Let us use them for microbanking, data collection, educational programs and dissemination of agriculture information....11. A boy, Neethirajan, who was treated as a bonded laborer, started consuming metal out of frustration. His poor parents took him to about ten private nursing homes that expressed their inability to remove the metal pieces. This happened in Andhra Pradesh, India (The Telegraph, India, 20 Nov. 2000).12. “Disease and debt dog hamlet” (The Telegraph, India, 20 Nov. 2000): a quarter of a century ago, 250 families came to Bongaon as refugees from what was then East Pakistan. As of now (Nov., 2000), a vicious circle of disease, drink and death has reduced them to 60 families. Leprosy, Kala-azar, excessive consumption of hooch and acute poverty have taken a heavy toll on the Sarder tribe of Kansona, North 24-Parganas, West Bengal. The tribals living in this hamlet are now awaiting death on empty stomachs. 235
  • 236. Several suffer from leprosy and most earning members lie crippled by the disease... With disease came addiction. Both men and women begin drinking country liquor from the morning. When they run out of money, they borrow from local moneylenders, sliding into a debt trap that eventually devours their houses and land.... When the tribals starve, landlords and money lenders offer them a few kilos of rice in exchange for thumb impressions on blank papers.... The story goes on....13. Poverty is the greatest threat to political stability, social integration and the environmental health of the planet. Some key lessons for poverty reduction are: • basic social services - countries must ensure basic social services to the poor, particularly basic education and primary health care; • agrarian reform - a large part of poverty in developing countries is concentrated in the rural areas, therefore, a more equitable distribution of land and agricultural resources is needed; • provision of credit for all - equal access to credit must be ensured, thus opening markets to the poor. Credit institutions must be decentralized; • employment - productive employment opportunities should be rapidly expanded so as to ensure a sustainable livelihood for everyone. This employment creation is one of the most difficult tasks in an economy. Every country should invest heavily in the education, training and skills of its citizens. Governments should 236
  • 237. create an enabling environment - fair and stable policies, equality before the law, sufficient physical assets and incentives for private investment. Access to assets- land, means of production like credit, etc are equally important. Developing countries have abundant labor, and labor-intensive technologies have to be developed. In certain regions or at certain times of the year, public works programs e.g. street repairs may help people survive. Countries should intervene when markets start discriminating against disadvantaged groups like women and ethnic groups. Now that the phenomenon of “jobless growth” is growing, we must think and consider more innovative and flexible working arrangements like “job-sharing”; • participation - the poor can benefit from economic development only when they actually participate in its design and implementation. all strategies must be decentralized; • a social safety net - is needed for catching all those whom markets exclude; • economic growth - the poor can benefit from as well as contribute to economic growth only when development efforts focus on increasing their productivity; • sustainability - poverty pressurizes the ecosystem. The content of growth must change from material-intensive to equitable distribution. - (Source: Human Development Report, UNDP, 1994)By 2001, the total population of India was expected to be equal to the totalpopulation of entire Europe (excluding the erstwhile USSR). The density of 237
  • 238. population is very high and the rate of unemployment increasing rapidly ina country which is still under-developed. In this situation, the standard ofliving can be raised only by increasing the per capita productivity of labor,through mechanization and development of agriculture, and by increasedutilization of power. But, expansions of net sown area, irrigation andagricultural production is not unlimited. Our mineral resources aregradually depleting, but nearly 170 million new jobs have to be created,with pressure on agriculture, and social and economic facilities. Ourenvironment is becoming more and more polluted.What is needed for achieving a balanced development is a well-designedpopulation policy, rational use of natural resources, ecological balancebetween man and his environment and thoughtful planning.(i) Africa re-visited: Some Lessons for Us: - adapted from “Modern Africa”by Basil Davidson: -The new nations of Africa became independent amidst a deepening socialcrisis caused by colonialism. New problems of rural poverty, the rapidgrowth of urban concentrations of ex-rural peoples as well as internaldivision had arisen.Historically, Africa’s economies had been small-scaled, suiting the needsof mostly rural communities. There had been no industrial revolution, nodependence on machine-production, and no need for imports of food.Africans were sheltered from the shocks and strains of the world marketand its fluctuating prices.Even after independence, Africa’s terms-of-trade were unfavorable (viz. itsexport prices were much lower in value compared to its import prices). Theeconomic legacy in Africa was found to work in several ways: - first, by 238
  • 239. exchanging African raw materials for imports of manufactured goods,secondly, by fixing export-import prices, and, thirdly, by paying debt-interest on loans advanced by the industrialized countries.i. ) export-crops or food? By the 1960s, large rural populations were earning their living by growing cash crops for export-cocoa, groundnuts, coffee, cotton, etc. Yet, governments in Africa could not simply ask farmers to stop growing export-crops and start growing food, as they (the farmers) were dependent on export-crops for their livelihood. Besides, governments were dependent on cash crops for export for earning revenue. But it became desirable to cut down on cash crops grown for export and to utilize the extra money for the national benefit. Another reason was the need to produce more food. Once cash crop production became important in an African country, there were shortages of local food, because more land and labor that could be used for growing food, was diverted to growing cash crops. Acute local food shortages began to be felt, as early as the Second World War. In the worst cases, famine broke out, as in Northern Mozambique where the Portuguese forced farmers to grow cotton instead of food. Cotton, they pointed out, became “the mother of poverty”. As a result of increasing shortages of local food, both villages and cities had less to eat than before. Also, (African) governments had to import foreign food, often at high prices. As a consequence, by the 1960s, Africa, whose population, was still largely “farming”, could no longer feed its own people. Another major fact was the formation of two Africas after the Second World War - rural and urban, and their interests clashed. Following the great depression of the 1930s and the 239
  • 240. Second World War, large areas of rural Africa had come into a deepening poverty. Consequently, rural folk migrated to the urban areas where political power was also concentrated. The situation is no different now.ii) Population growth and movement: after the 1940s, African populations began expanding rapidly, for reasons not as yet known to scientists, but perhaps because of the spread of preventive medicine- vaccinations against disease. By the 1960s, most African populations were growing at an average rate of 2.5 % annually, meaning a doubling of nation size in another twenty or thirty years. Doubling of numbers could be good for Africans in that national skills, labor, teamwork, and planning could annually result in more food, more production and more wealth. However, if production of wealth backfired, Africa would get poorer, and standards of living would plummet, as has actually happened in most of Africa in recent years. Large economic changes were desirable for another reason. Growing cash crops, as well as shortages of rural labor caused shortages of local food. From the 1940s on, people in Africa were migrating from villages to the towns and cities out of hunger or because they were being forced labor. Rural people looked to the urban areas for a less hungry life, and towns expanded. But what did the author mean when he said that the new urban populations would work in various ways to increase the national wealth? He was talking about the need to build better systems of production. Now, what did that mean? 240
  • 241. The author meant “development”.iii) The meaning of development: was a question difficult for new African governments to answer. Broadly speaking,”development” meant the question of building a better system of production by using national resources - human beings and materials - to produce more wealth. The quantity of natural resources like those of soil fertility or minerals mattered. For instance, Niger and Burkina Faso were generally poor in natural resources. What also mattered was the amount of real freedom, which each nation had won. The major task was how best to “develop”. This meant more than the development of skills, methods, and organization of work. It meant a change in culture; habits and attitudes of work from handwork to machine work. Development was to be a complex process in human minds as well. For the process of development to operate, the new African governments had to acquire national control over national resources, had to start building a new national infrastructure, better transport and communications, power, and, had to make a vast improvement in the poor systems of education and public health left behind by the colonial legacy. Finally, countries had to decide on “planning” for their peoples, either by the system of private enterprise (Capitalism) or by the system of collective enterprise (socialism). Were they to prioritize rural areas or urban? Agriculture or industry? How to promote economic life, how to raise national savings, and to what extent foreign loans were to be raised, were other questions confronting African governments of the post-colonial era. 241
  • 242. Having “alternative policies” meant having alternative strategies fordevelopment. However, in actuality, all new African states had tocombine policies. Nigeria combined private enterprise with some stateownership of production and trade. And some like Angola combinedcollective type with private ownership of farms by farmers.Most Nigerians still lived in the rural areas, and rural people hadfallen into further poverty by the 1970s. Rural food-growers were paidvery low prices for their produce by national marketing boards, whichfixed prices for the overall benefit of urban-dwellers. It was hoped thatthe Nigerian government would support city investors going intoagriculture and boosting agricultural output. But Salisu Na’Innawriting in “West Africa” (4 July 1988)“... the policy failed to admit that many of the so-called large-scalefarmers often leave most of the land they control to lie fallow. Theytake bank loans, ostensibly to promote agriculture, and end up usingthe money in building dream mansions, buying expensive cars andaircraft, and organizing fairy-tale type weddings.”Very little was done to help ever-toiling peasants or small ruralfarmers with better prices for his produce, subsidized fertilizers, morerural roads or medical and health clinics.Zimbabwe combined free enterprise with a genuine concern for theinterests of peasants and small farmers, and the recorded successeswere impressive. By 1990, farmers’ share and their crop revenueswent up impressively. No hunger at home and no imports of foreignfood, and Zimbabwe was actually able to export food, and gift food todrought-hit countries like Mozambique, Tanzania and Ethiopia. 242
  • 243. Policies favoring peasants included giving peasants more land, givinggood prices for peasant produce and setting up new distributioncenters for seeds, fertilizers and tools, etc.Other countries followed different kinds of mixed development, withslight aberrations. Malawi remained strongly free enterprise (under theseverely dictatorial president Kamuzu Banda), which tried to expandproduction at the cost of the standards of living both of small farmersand of urban wage earners. Zambia combined a mixed economy withnational ownership, as in its copper mines; also with an expandingprivate sector of Zambian private businessmen, who prospered at thecost of increasing rural poverty. Uganda, during short periods ofinternal peace, combined support for co-operative production with agrowing private-business sector.All these countries had to put up with two major problems:a) The general failure in increasing farming output and productivity. For instance, Kenya’s farming output grew during the 1970s at an annual rate of 2.5 per cent; but its population grew even faster; and to feed its growing population, Kenya had to import expensive foreign food;b) The “poverty-gap” - the difference in living standards between the minority having good jobs and property, and the majority having neither. Inequalities grew much greater than before, and the poverty-gap widened. It soon led to discontent and instability. But Africa was not the only region to experience such circumstances; private-enterprise systems elsewhere have experienced the same. 243
  • 244. iv) The search for better solutions: Capitalism was (painfully) helping the lucky few at the cost of the hungry many, and social inequalities were increasing. It was leading to greed, immorality, strife and even greater poverty. Africans wanted a better way. Outside Africa, nations were following “socialism”, based on the principles of Karl Marx. Two trends developed in Africa. One was “Africa socialism” (Senegal and Kenya) under which inequities that existed grew worse. A second trend developed in Tanzania under President Julius Nyerere, who pointed out that since independence, inequalities between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ had increased, and public resources were wasted. Tanzania was developing an economic and social ‘elite’ - a ‘chosen few’.... After 1967, a policy called “Ujamaa” (Swahili for togetherness) was developed, under which a big program was launched to bring together scattered hamlets and homesteads into “Ujamaa” villages, which were, in turn, to be provided with primary schools, health clinics, better and more farming tools, and even tractors. These initiatives, however, ran into major problems in administration. Furthermore, Tanzania had to abandon many development projects, face adverse terms-of-trade, largely because power was “centralized” in the cities. Some countries like Angola and Mozambique started developing African solutions, “people’s power” or “people’s participation”. But the policy failed after independence. 244
  • 245. Most Africans realized that any successful solution would have to be suited to Africa’s needs, and not imported. This was to be the major concern of the 1990s. The island republic of Cape Verde had built a strong grass roots democracy based on “people’s power”. The purpose was to eliminate, to as great an extent, “systemic” exploitation: ways in which the poverty of the many has to derive from the privileges of the few. Said one Cape Verdean political thinker in 1986: “we had to carry our people with us.... in an enormous effort at self-realization and common purpose. It was completely obvious that any policy at the cost of the majority - a terribly impoverished majority in 1975 - would bring failure. There could be no case for trying to adopt - as Europe adopted for its own self-development - the policies of Capitalism: policies to benefit the few on the argument that later on they would benefit the many. We couldn’t have accepted that. We were bound to look to the interests of the vast majority of our people.” Cape Verde is small but can fight poverty. Did David not overthrow Goliath? (Davidson, 1990).v) A deepening crisis: the 1990s inherited many problems. After years of bad governments, failed experiments and world recession were leading to a more serious crisis of poverty and hunger. In April 1981, the Nigerian Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Adebayo Adedeji, warned that: “with deteriorating economic prospects and a generally bleak outlook for growth, no continent has been worse hit than Africa. In the poorest or 245
  • 246. least-developed countries, people are as badly off as they were in the 1970s.... with drought in the Sahel countries, and escalating drought situations in East and Central Africa, many countries face imminent economic collapse.” It was clear that poverty, now as of never before, would be very hard to National planning and infrastructure: the new African nations were now required to develop. For that, they needed information on the size of their populations and natural resources. Next, they were to plan for their economies, like how much money to be spent on daily needs, and how much for development, and in what manner? One major priority of national planning was to grow more food at home, for two reasons, to feed growing populations, and to cut down on expensive foreign food. However, communications were poor, and rural labor was scarce. Besides, more cash crops were to be grown in exchange for imported goods and luxuries. This meant less food produced locally. It was understood that Africa had many economic problems, but it was rich in economic resources, which were to be utilized for the nation’s benefit. This was sometimes been done, and sometimes not.vii) Big dams: could make provision for new fishing industries, but many would have to leave their homes, and farmers and their families had to be re-habilitated on irrigated land in other places. Dams were definitely a source of more power and more water for irrigation, but at the cost of the environment. 246
  • 247. viii) Farmers are not fools: productive farming could not be achieved for two reasons - too much reliance was placed on the advice of experts from abroad who did not understand the actual problems, and African farmers were not consulted on how best to increase output. The countries of the Sahel (like Niger) were hit by severe famine during 1968-74 and people died. The main causes were drought and poor policy. Both people and cattle in Niger perished when both land and labor were being utilized for growing cash crops instead of food. There was felt a need to shift policies in rural development, to turn away from previous experiments (e.g. the large-scale use of tractors in Sierra Leone) to the knowledge and skills of Africa’s farming communities, and their opinions and self-solutions. Experts from abroad? Were recommending?? Solutions??? To (African) farmers???? In its difficult ecology-irregular or tumultuous rainfall, thin soils, differing climates????? It was gradually realized that the key solutions to food shortage lay in the hands of the farmers, and that farming output would increase if governments and their agencies paid better prices to peasants for their produce. In Zimbabwe, for example, the new government paid much attention to small peasant farmers’ needs as it believed “that the rural population is the backbone of a country’s agriculture...” President Robert Mugabe said: “... to give an example, prior to 1980, peasant farmers had virtually no access to farm credit. By the end of the 1984-85 farming season, the number of loans extended to small farmers had risen to 70,000. (At the 247
  • 248. same time) we reduced costs to the peasant farmer by making sure he is within a maximum radius of 20 kms from a marketing depot....” New varieties of seed also yielded successes. The use of “hybrid- maize” seed in Kenya yielded a larger harvest. One major conclusion from these experiments is that an intelligent use of Science with close co-operation of farmers can result in more food. Cape Verde, which was very poor at the time of freedom, built stone dykes and retaining walls to conserve rain and store water, planted drought-resistant trees over their bare hillsides in a process called “afforestation”, thereby improving upon their rocky conditions. These were some “success-stories” to learn from.ix) Foreign aid: is given in cash or kind (in goods as food) by the ‘rich’ industrialized countries to the ‘poor’ countries. It may be provided free of charge, or, paid for by the recipients as debt with interest (on loans). The USA started giving or lending a lot of money to Africa. This was strongly supported by the American people. The main drawbacks of aid are: a) how to utilize aid towards development (and social welfare); and, b) how to pay off loans with interest. Changes in policy are required, changes in the “international economic order”: in the relations between the industrialized countries and the former colonies. Africa was already suffering from “underdevelopment” and the crisis worsened when the time came to pay back loans taken. 248
  • 249. x) Conclusions: the “Black Continent” was suffering from worst crises of poverty, famine and hunger by the mid-80s, and yet, injustice continued to be part of the “world economic order”. Africa must find its own way out of poverty…as Kwame Nkrumah, Africa’s “Prophet of Modern Unity” wrote “Africa must unite…”xi) Experiments and lessons: the 1980s saw Africa facing a crisis of poverty and conflict, human famine; and by 1985, AIDS was spreading fast. Africa’s “get-rich-quick” policies took it nowhere; great forests lay destroyed for ever, wide grassland plains had been over-grazed, and Africa was now facing poverty, hunger, violence and conflict. The world is divided into very different parts, the “developed” North and the “poor” South, of which Africa was and is still a part. The major problems facing Africa in the 1970s and 1980s were a choice between scarce resources and death by famine by the rural peoples, urban poverty, and militarism and dictatorship. In such a situation, everyone but the privileged few suffer. War causes wastage of big resources while buying arms and paying the armed forces; resources which could be diverted to overcome poverty. This happened in the case of Ethiopia. How can Africa hope to put an end to its poverty with so much spending on war paraphernalia? Africa is very rich naturally, including big tropical forests. In recent years, these forests were being destroyed. In 1985, 30 per cent of Nairobi (Kenya) were facing serious poverty. But, about a century earlier, London was facing the same problem. 249
  • 250. And, are there not any hungry people today in the middle of America’s opulence? What Africa needed, said King Mosheshoe of Lesotho in 1985: “was to develop open and participatory forms of economic and political planning: forms within which people can take part in public debate about the main production and development issues, and then have a direct say in the final decision.” A decolonization of minds, a change in attitude and a new vision are needed to shape Africa’s future. May God bless Africa. May God bless the world.(ii) Health: - Working together against TB and HIV: TB kills. And AIDS kills. 1 in 5 people are HIV-positive in Lusaka, Zambia. AIDS is the major cause of death of women in their 20s in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In Odessa (the CIS), a large number of injecting drug users are HIV-positive. A number of female users have started selling their bodies, but their clients, who are not drug users, are getting affected. In Calcutta, India, only 3% of men visiting sex workers use condoms. More than 1 million Americans are HIV-positive. 14 million people (reportedly) have died of AIDS. The most disheartening aspect is that the world’s youth are indulging in irresponsible behavior (casual sex with multiple partners; needles; or refusing to wear condoms). AIDS is (still) incurable. Most people are unaware of the enormous and deadly role TB plays in the AIDS epidemic. TB is the leading killer of HIV-positive people. In a study of prime causes of death in HIV-positive patients (Abidjan, 1991), it was found that TB alone killed 32% of patients, with 250
  • 251. septicemia killing 11%, cerebral toxoplasmosis (10%), pneumonia (8%), malignancies (6%), meningitis (5%), and other infections (10%). unaccounted causes killed 18% of people. It is to be noted that HIV destroys a person’s immune system, leaving the HIV-positive individual highly susceptible to TB (and other) germs. WHO had predicted that by 2001, the spread of HIV will cause more than 3 million new TB cases. Ill-prepared health care systems would suffer the most. Until 1995-96, the worst danger zone was Sub- Saharan Africa. But Asia, home to two-thirds of the world’s active TB cases, will increasingly come under vicious attack. It is a stark fact that in Asia, HIV is spreading more rapidly than anywhere else in the world. With proper attention, techniques and resources, the doors can be slammed on the TB/HIV epidemic before it worsens.(iii) Bangladesh - which is the land of three rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Ganges and the Meghna, has rich and fertile land. Crops (like rice) are grown all the year in subtropical climate. Agriculture was abundant in the past. The Moroccan Adventurer Ibn Battuta described Bengal (which consists of Bangladesh and a province in India today) as “a country of great extent and one in which rice grows abundantly... indeed, I have seen no region of the earth in which provisions are so plentiful.” As of now, circumstances have forced Bangladesh to become one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has failed to provide the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, health care and education to 251
  • 252. its population. However, Bangladeshis are working harder to extractlatent and neglected resources of the country - its “fertile land, water,manpower and natural gas for fertilizer not only to be able to feed itsown population, but to export food as well...”Bangladesh is recovering from under-development and stagnation.Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has gone up since 1990. The primaryschool enrolment of females went up from 31 in 1960 to 71 during1986-93.By 2025, Bangladesh is projected to have 175 million people, anincrease of 56 million from 1996 level. The people of Bangladesh willcontinue to suffer from unemployment and shortage of housing,school and medical facilities.What Bangladesh needs today is more intensive local participationthrough “decentralization”, optimum utilization of local resources,development of human resources, especially in the fields of systems,program planning, MIS, PM and IR, and an expanded “technology(both computer and indigenous) movement” at the grass- roots level.More rural extension projects, community mobilization, appliedoperations research projects, applied logistics, IEC (information,education and communication) campaigns, and government-NGOcollaborations in the fields of family planning, health, credit andeducation, are the needs of the hour.Some NGOs are actually doing some very good work, notable amongthem being Proshika, BRAC (the Bangladesh Rural AdvancementCommittee) and the Grameen Bank (a world-famous pioneer in thefield of micro-credit). 252
  • 253. Poor Bangladeshi women, millions of them, have greatly benefitedfrom activities rendered by NGOs such as the Grameen Bank andBRAC. They are earning cash income either by employment or bystarting income-generating activities. Many women are enjoyingbetter lives. Many women are now going to the polls.Pregnancy and childbirth are quite dangerous in (rural) Bangladeshbecause of insufficient health services, mother’s poor nutrition andhealth. Women must start taking good care of themselves. (Do womenin the developing world have the resources?) It is time we taught theyounger generation to respect their sisters, mothers, wives and womenclassmates and friends.As of now, people in Bangladesh get to see such messages ontelevision as “have a polio injection”. Bangladesh is working hardertowards progress....The main barriers to progress in the case of Bangladesh are high rateof illiteracy, natural calamities such as floods, high infant mortality,high fertility levels and a traditional society with unfavorableeconomic conditions.Most of Bangladesh’s burgeoning urban population is living inunhealthy and crowded conditions. And a large proportion of peoplestill remains poor and illiterate. Child - bearing is concentrated atyoung ages, with most first-births taking place during adolescence,leading to high risk of maternal and infant mortality, and maternalmorbidity. A major proportion of births in rural areas is still assistedby traditional birth attendants (TBAS), relatives and friends, etc., andat home under unhygienic conditions. Bangladeshi women are rarely 253
  • 254. healthy. They suffer from much non-reproductive ailments-generalweakness, anemia, dizziness/vertigo, nausea, anorexia, abdominalproblems; etc. We do hope women in Bangladesh will be stronglyempowered to nation building in the 21st Century and beyond....through education, skills training, employment opportunities and user-friendly information and services in health (particularly, reproductivehealth)... like oral rehydration therapy, immunization, pregnancy care,contraception; etc..... Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the worldexcluding city states such as Hong Kong and Singapore. Floods andcyclones occur every year. There is tremendous resource scarcity andpeople live at subsistence level. Majority of the people lives below thepoverty line. The per capita income is as low as $320. Agriculture isthe mainstay of the economy, but per acre yield is still among thelowest in the world, though adoption of high yielding variety (HYV)technology in paddy production has been continuously increasing thelevel (of per acre level). The country continues to suffer from chronicfood deficits.The social and health situation is deplorable - worse than that in mostcountries in South Central Asia. Most adults are illiterate. Around 78percent of females are illiterate. Life expectancy is among the lowestin the region (with Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal being worse off).Access to health and sanitation is inadequate. The median age at firstmarriage for females is low. In the rural areas, maternal, infant andchild mortality remain quite high and fertility level still remainshigh.... besides, Bangladesh still remains very traditional… 254
  • 255. Bangladesh has to focus on literacy, functional education, family planning, environmental sanitation, skills training, small credit, income generation and reduction of maternal and child mortality, and malnutrition, and, basic human needs of shelter, clothing, housing, safe drinking water, health care, etc. Bangladesh needs local inputs to make its development programs “sustainable” in future. It is tragic that too many Bangladeshi women die of preventable complications resulting from pregnancy and child birth, too many Bangladeshi children die in large numbers of malnutrition, too many girl-children in Bangladesh do not go to school.... Dear Bangladesh, may the good Lord bless you in future...iv Creating new job opportunities through promotion of silk-culture: - the birthplace of silkworms covers Nepal, Bhutan, Indochina including Vietnam, and parts of China. This region is very underdeveloped owing to geographic limitations, and many people live in poverty. The status of women is low. The author suggests that to enhance the status of women and improve the standard of living in such traditional and poor societies, it becomes necessary to create job opportunities for women, for which the author recommends ‘sericulture’. He tells us that, first, women are suited to work in raising silkworms, second, those engaged in sericulture can earn income as side jobs. Third, silk-raising farmers can earn a lot through modernization. Some people may assert that not much can be raised particularly in the initial stage (compared to farming). The author argues that the level of 255
  • 256. income from silk raising could be raised higher with the increase inproductivity. It should be emphasized that securing fixed jobs is moreimportant than receiving higher income from short-term work fromthe viewpoint of the strategy to fight against poverty.There are some problems, however. First, there is lack of appropriatetechnology. Second, local experts do not have the satisfactory level ofexpertise as yet. Very often, quality eggs cannot be secured. Lastly,expensive technology on silk-culture has to be imported fromdeveloped countries.It is possible to raise the silkworm in many parts of the world.However, raw silk production concentrates on Asia, with China beingthe largest producer, followed by India.The author adds that promotion of silk-culture also leads to“conservation” of existing forests and tree planting.An increasing number of forests are being destroyed in manydeveloping countries. There are a number of reasons for deforestation:first, trees are being cut down to be used as fuels for daily cooking andbaking bricks for building materials. Second, forests are needed forfactories. Third, forests are being increasingly converted into farmland, in countries where population grows annually at about 2 - 2.5 percent and there is greater demand for grain (for food, for fatteningpoultry and domestic cattle for meat, and for alcoholic drinks).More efforts should be made to protect our forests, which are anessential part of our ecology. It also becomes important to reforestbare mountains. 256
  • 257. Mangroves on lagoons (which are parts of diversified ecosystemswhere various life - forms like birds, fish and shellfish live) are alsodisappearing in many countries.Under circumstances in which trees are being destroyed atunimaginable speed, afforestation becomes urgent.Planting of trees is not easy. Reforestation requires time and funds.What is crucial for tree-planting is active participation of thecommunity. However, poor people often are not willing to participatein reforestation because they get no immediate benefits. Their majorpriority is to support their families today. Hence, it becomes necessaryto give them good incentives like cash (as daily wage, medicine, food,etc).The author has said that silk-culture can help in sustainableafforestation. Silk-spinning worms of wild species feed on variouslocal trees and leaves of mangroves. Thus, local people will benefitfrom preservation and plantation of indigenous trees. Also, unlike“monoculture” (in which foreign ‘cash’ crops like rubber, coffee,sugar, pepper, etc. disturb the ecosystem) reforestation of indigenoustrees will cause no harm.Diffusion of silk-raising will contribute to afforestation as well asforest preservation. Silk raising is a very promising economic activityin rural areas. Moreover, it can provide employment opportunities towomen. It also leads to development of spinning and textile industries.In developing countries, silkworms of wild species should be used(according to the author). Silk-raising is expected to bring aboutimprovement in the social status. The greatest advantage is that one 257
  • 258. employed person will be able to support ten persons including his/her family members: ten persons will be saved from poverty.... a very interesting fact, this one....v The family planning program in Indonesia has in the past extensively involved women. Family planning has been perceived in sociological than in medical terms. The “Family Welfare Movement” (a national women’s organization), family planning acceptor groups and female volunteers have, in the past, formed the very core of the program: they plan, implement, evaluate as well as form the ‘recipients’ of services.... This has been (as of 1997-98), the experience of To reduce poverty, we must shift our attention away from the traditional goal of creating jobs, and focus on “sustainable livelihoods” (the capabilities, assets and activities required for a means of living) and people’s everyday economics -Some reflections on reproductive health and youth: as of 1995: -i) “reproductive health in china is a ‘new term’ and.... although we have started broadening the scope of our family planning/mother and child health activities to include general health care, community development and poverty alleviation, the topic of reproductive health services to youth is still a sensitive one. So, not much is done for youth in this area....”- Ms. Zhang Zhi Rong (China)ii) “modernization and economic development in many parts of Asia has put a lot of pressure on young people, creating situations or 258
  • 259. conditions, that have aggravated certain social ‘problems’ such as teen sex, drugs and rebellion against parents.... As a result of this, there are now many countries with active programs for youth that focus on leadership training, drug abuse prevention, reproductive health, and so on. They may have different names but the concern is the same....”- Mr. Shiv Khare (India)iii) “we have been doing work with STD referrals, sexual health, and cancer screening and so on.... within the Penang (Malaysia) FPA, youth programmes were first discussed and proposed in 1978. A recreational, social youth centre was set up in 1982.... We are also trying to reach out to the factory workers in Penang. Reaching out to youths is important because of their emerging sexual awareness. They should be given the right information in a way that is non-threatening or judgmental....”- Ms. Engie Ng, FPA, Penang (Malaysia)iv) “Reproductive health services for youth is an important area for Vietnam because young people comprise almost 40% of the country’s population. The government has been aware of this situation from the late 1970s when sex education first started. Since 1989, there are new activities like the premarital club and AIDS prevention education for youths, now the focus is on ‘family happiness and good life’ as an integrated concept that includes young people. The ‘Vietnam Youth Union’ is a 259
  • 260. mass movement that works to change community behaviour so that RH services can be provided to young people without any obstacles. Activities also include income-generating projects for youth. We also wish to see more experience sharing on the problems of youth at the regional level....”- Mr. Nguyen Ba Binh (Vietnam)v) “.... young people in different countries act and think differently.... in South Asia, the culture is more conservative than, for example, in South East Asia. Young men and women in South Asia have fewer opportunities to interact socially. They also tend to marry early due to the custom of arranged marriages, hence they have a longer period of child bearing....”- Ms. Malicca Ratne (UNFPA)vi) “we are concerned with reproductive rights especially with respect to domestic violence and incest.... I find that there is no attempt at gender analysis in many youth programmes.... we must realise that... a young woman has different perceptions and needs on sexual and social matters. This must be taken into account when designing programmes for the youth….”- Ms. Azucena Pestano (Philippines)Creating employment (Source: Human Development Report, 1994,UNDP): -The creation of sufficient opportunities for productive employment andsustainable livelihoods is one of the most important and most difficult - 260
  • 261. tasks in any society. Experiences have shown that the following strategymay be effective:• to compete in a fast-changing global economy, every country must invest heavily in the education, training and skills of its people;• the private sector is likely to generate employment. but markets can work effectively only when governments create an enabling environment, including sufficient physical infrastructure and incentives for private investment;• a more equitable distribution of physical assets (land) and better access - to means of production (credit and information) can ensure sustainable livelihoods;• developing countries must make the most efficient use of their factors of production - like (abundant) labor. tax and price policies should try to encourage “labor-intensive technologies”;• where private markets consistently fail to produce sufficient jobs, in certain areas or at certain times of the year, the state would do good to offer employment through public works programs to help people survive;• the state needs to consider targeted interventions at disadvantaged groups; and,• it becomes necessary to rethink “work” and to consider new and flexible methods - like “job-sharing”.“Poverty”, in my own analysis: - imagine a situation in which a landlesslaborer (or, farmer) owned land. Imagine, also, that he or she had the power 261
  • 262. to consume most of his (own) produce (because he would need other basicslike shelter, clothing, health care and education) without subjecting it to thevagaries of the market. The point in contention is “power”, as I would callit, not just purchasing power as laid down in poverty studies. Land andtenancy reforms can give the poor this power. The ‘poor’ would no longerremain “poor” if they had things their way. What would be, is that, worsestill, as soon as food entered the market, the “purchasing - power principle”would begin to operate. The poor would start to have very low purchasingpower, and very obviously, in comparison to the ruling “elite”. Accordingto me, poverty arises when food has to pass through a complex maze(including “corruption”) of wholesale, retail, import, export, and, above all,middlemen, with much of those who are part of this vicious triangle,remaining cold to the needs of the tillers of land and the producers of food!Weren’t famines in the past a result of “man-made-factors”?When Adam Smith showed his concern that economic development shouldhelp a person mix freely without being “ashamed to appear in publick” hewas saying that poverty should go beyond counting calories to integrate thepoor into the mainstream of the community.There is ‘real’ tension between wealth maximization and humandevelopment... Many countries have a high GNP per capita, but low HDI’s(Human Development Indices): life expectancy, adult literacy, and highinfant mortality rates. Similarly, opulence is not necessary for fulfillinghuman choices – democracy, human rights, and gender equality. Second,peace of mind, fresh air and long lives may go beyond economic well-being.Poverty is a “vicious circle”. Fortunately or unfortunately (most)developing countries grow “cash crops” e.g. cotton, for export and what 262
  • 263. comes to them are expensive foreign products like Peter England and AllenSolly. And, offcourse, foreign exchange circulates among the ‘elite’.For the poor, what hardly matter are the vagaries of global trade andexchange, for they have a number of mouths to feed. What is of concern tothem is that they have to survive today, or, in other words, remain alive tillthe next day. The needs of the world’s poor women and children are to bemet. What we need is an efficient and effective distribution of food,housing, health care, education and other essential services. More foodshould be grown locally. Very often, land lying fallow can be used to growmore food. I still fail to understand as to why so much stress is laid on cashcrops. Poverty is poverty of many basics - beginning with lack of“entitlement” to food.As part of the backlash of globalization (in every village), the poor havebeen badly hit. Commodity prices remain very high. Land reforms shouldbe undertaken. I would suggest that fallow land be offered to the poor atsubsidized prices by the government. The government should set up a‘support price system’ for farmers. The facilities of “fair-price shops”(offering basic amenities) and schools be provided to the poor. Let uscreate a “dream village”!!!The elitist are always feeling threatened. They might wonder: who will fixour bulbs? Who will drive our cars? Who will cook our food? Attitudestowards the poor should change.We live in highly specialized societies. There is division of labor, and,mechanization may, in certain societies, render labor unemployed. There isa need to create jobs through more “labor-intensive” (not capital-intensive)technology. 263
  • 264. Corruption is eating away our moral fabric. Corruption should beinvestigated.An expert should be brought in who will examine the “price(wholesale/retail) - export - import - grid” and give suggestions. There is noscarcity of food and yet millions are starving? (Actually, food grains arebeing diverted to the black market through the use of fake ration-cards, thisis happening in India!) Efforts should be made to build strong, weather-resistant (food) storage facilities.Urban poverty can arise out of man’s greed or compulsion, and can be acause of much hardship-misery, deprivation, homelessness, crime andconflict. By the middle of the 21st Century, much of the world’s poor willlive? (or, die?) in the world’s cities.People should be placed at the center of development, and due respectshould be accorded to our natural systems. The livelihoods of the poordepend on forests, fishing, flora and fauna (i.e. our forests, rivers, seas,etc). There is a need to enhance human capabilities to the full, carry out amajor restructuring of the world’s income distribution, production andconsumption patterns. “Sustainable (Human) Development” is all aboutbringing human needs into balance with the coping capacities of societiesand the carrying capacities of nature.The world must pay attention to the status of women - without which notmuch can be achieved. “Empowering” people is all about enabling them todesign and participate in the decisions, processes and events that shapetheir lives.Agriculture is the basic foundation, curd or cheese cannot be producedwithout milk, in turn a cow, a farm or ranch, a farmer. There is a need to 264
  • 265. develop agriculture/farming. The establishment of “co-operatives” wouldbe a positive step in this direction. Food is a basic essential, and everyfood-industry product consists of ingredients from agriculture.Economic growth does matter in improving the quality of life. A lotdepends on how the fruits of economic growth are shared - especially onwhat the poor get, and to what extent the additional resources are used tosupport public services – particularly, primary health care and basiceducation. What is important is what use is made of the extra income. Asociety can spend its income on arms or on education. An individual canchoose to spend his or her income on drugs, alcohol, or music systemsinstead of on essential food.We often confuse ends and means. Once we start concentrating on peopleas “human capital”, forced child labor and the exploitation of workers canresult. Improving human capital has offcourse resulted in enhancedproduction and material prosperity, as in Japan. But we must rememberKant’s injunction, to treat humanity as an end withal, never as means only.The quality of human life is an end.The very poor, struggling for their daily survival, often cannot avoiddegrading the environment. After all, in poor societies, what is at risk is not(just) the quality of life - but life itself.From ‘The Telegraph’, 25/2/2001: Betul, MP, India - “a woman holdsforward her baby, as a blacksmith or a “doctor” raises a red hot iron sickle.As the iron touches the baby, she screams so loud her lungs might burst.She throws about her arms, her legs, fights her mother’s iron grip as theglowing sickle touches her again and again, the sickle journeying downslowly from her neck downwards. 265
  • 266. As the air is filled with the pungent smell of charred flesh, the mother tellsher eight-months-old: ‘just a little bit more, this will make you strong andhealthy....’The tribals know of only one ‘cure’ for all diseases, be it goitre orstomachache, fever or cancer - branding with a hot iron sickle.In Chhattisgarh (Madhya Pradesh, India), they call this ‘Damhah’, anancient practice of treating all diseases. It was initially prevalent among theKorku tribe of central India, but now it has become popular with even theGonds and the Banjaras. It thrives in the remote tribal villages of Bastar,Dantewara in Chattisgarh, Jhabua and Betul in south Madhya Pradesh,India....What about more conventional cures? Tablets and capsules - how can theybe any good, ask the tribals. Their message is clear: ‘you have to suffer torid your body of an ailment....’ ‘Damhah’ does.” 266
  • 267. CHAPTER 16B POVERTY IS A STIFF BILL OF GOODS“The greatest poverty in the world is not the want of food but the want oflove. The poverty of the heart is often more difficult to relieve and todefeat.” – anonymous“Work among the poor, suffering people, give whole hearted free service tothe poorest of the poor. Try to bring tender love and compassion to theunwanted, to the unloved. Our works of love reveal to the suffering poorthe love of God for them.” – anonymousIt is only in the Twentieth Century that poverty and the poor have come tobe matters of our concern and obligation. Just why are people so hungry?Why is it that so many in our world go without adequate food? How doproblems such as deforestation, over – population and desertificationcontribute to poverty, in say, Africa? (Africa needs a new direction:development in Africa must arise out of famine relief and rehabilitation toend the vicious cycle). Good development must be people-centered. Itrequires time, sensitivity and culturally - appropriate planning andtechnology. Credit for all with education may be a good alternative.Sustainable livelihoods may be good too as an approach to poverty.However, we are working in a world where quick fixes don’t exist. It takesyears to address the root causes of poverty. But impart love to a poor man,and he starts responding to you. Therefore, it is said lasting change dependson firstly love, then long-term relationships and authentic partnership with 267
  • 268. communities. Corporate intervention helps. Before we discuss what causespoverty, let us quote Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore: -“I sleptAnd dreamt that life was all joyI awokeAnd saw life was but serviceI servedAnd understood that service wasGod, was joy.”What causes poverty?David Elesh (1973) has given three causes of poverty: –I) Individual: – if one ends up in poverty, it is his own fault, because he is lazy, dull, and inefficient or lacks initiative. This ideology maintains that poverty is good for society because the fittest will survive.II) Culture or subculture of poverty: – this concept suggests that despite economic changes, the poor have remained so because of their culture or subculture, which fosters behavior and values, associated with poverty. It has kept the poor out of the mainstream of industrial society. The first cause ignores the humanity aspect. How can we ignore a group of people simply because they do not fit into Darwin’s theory. 268
  • 269. Besides, it is not their fault that they have remained poor, they have not chosen to remain poor.III) Social structure: – sociologists link poverty to social structure or to “miserable and unjust social conditions”- our social institutions, our economy, low educational attainment, lack of employable skills, long-term unemployment or under- employment. Over - population causes an additional burden on society and perpetuates poverty.• Economic causes: – we have to understand the difference between people engaged in work and those not engaged in work. This may be examined in terms of the following five factors: inadequate development, inflationary pressures, lack of capital, lack of skill in workers and unemployment.• Demographic causes: – population growth is the most important factor in poverty. India is all set to become the most populated country in the world. (At present, China is the most populated country in the world). According to one estimate, the per capita consumption expenditure (PCCE), i.e. the minimum amount required per person per year for food, shelter, health, education or to maintain a minimum standard at the 1981 price level in 2001 would be Rs. 1032 and the per capita income (PCI) per year at 6% annual growth rate would be Rs. 3,285.• More mouths to feed: – if the present inequality of income in developing countries perpetuates, the lowest percentage of people will be below the poverty line. It is therefore, essential, that all efforts towards population control must continue. It has been observed that poverty, age structure and health are inter-related and interdependent. 269
  • 270. If a person is healthy, he is not only able to earn but he spends less on his sickness. If a large number of people in the country suffer from chronic malnutrition or live in an unclean environment, they suffer from many diseases, which make them incapable of working and earning. Poverty is correlated to ‘increase in family size’ as well. The larger the family, the lower the standard of living. Business families are exceptions. Lastly, the “educational level” of the people in the country also contributes to poverty.• Social causes: – discrimination, prejudices, casteism, communalism (in India) and parochialism also affect employment opportunities and the gross income.• Climate is another reason for poverty. Hot climates reduce the capacity to work hard. No wonder, cool, hilly regions are more prosperous, though not necessarily.• One thing worth noting: – the “wars” and “threats of wars” force countries to divert their minds towards defence instead of development.Are there no problems of the poor???Are there no pains of poverty???Can anybody deny this???The stark truth is…And no one can deny it…Poverty is very painful!!!!!How???? 270
  • 271. We want an answer!!!!!!We want an answer to all of the following:I) Social discrimination and social condemnation: – in the Third World, employers, the rich, the officials and even the government look down upon the poor. They are considered a burden on society. They are harassed, humiliated and discriminated against at every level. Now efforts are coming in, but still they have to face the challenges of illiteracy and social prejudice. the hostile attitudes of society at every stage lowers their self-image, creates in them a feeling of inferiority, and curbs their efforts of gaining means to help themselves.II) Housing: – houselessness, overcrowding, slums and rental laws are serious problems in urban areas. The houses of the poor are not only overcrowded but lack privacy. Their children are driven out into the streets. Family tensions affect their personality and behavior.III) Subculture of poverty: – poverty is a vicious circle. “When poverty is transmitted over generations, it becomes a culture”, according to Oscar Lewis. Their children inherit a subculture of violence, which becomes a part of their lifestyle. This in turn becomes a medium for solving petty and / or difficult problems. Purchasing power of the poor is very low.Working innovatively to combat poverty (largely rural): there is noultimate panacea for poverty.I) Population crisis management (intervention): – “man’s fate, like that of all living creatures, depends on a planet with limited resources. His environment will ultimately control his numbers. If he does not 271
  • 272. use his powers of reason to curb population growth, nature will do the job for him. No species can endure if it exceeds its resources.” -AnonymousWhat has accentuated poverty in the Third World is the lack of modernoutlook in the people wherein they go on producing children. The primarytask, therefore, should be to control population by persuasion, if we can,and by coercion, if it comes to that. (However, this runs contrary to ourprinciple that “no change should be forced but implemented”). It is also thetime to build a political consensus all over the world on population control.Making education free and compulsory will also help in changing theoutlook of the people, which in turn is necessary for control overpopulation.“Family planning”??????“Family welfare” ???????It means having children by choice. This makes it possible not to havechildren when parents do not want them. The need of the hour is totransform any population program into a gigantic people’s movement.In this great task, the following have to play an important role:The corporate sectorThe unions / workersIncentives and disincentivesWomen’s organizationsNGOs / voluntary organizationsCooperatives and 272
  • 273. IEC (information education communication) - mass media, populationeducation committees and inter-personal communication committees. An effective family welfare programThe program content(a) Maternal and child health care:Through FW centers: medical checkup of pregnant mothers, treatmentfacilities, labor care, child care clinics and immunization.Counseling: motivational work, clinical consultations, home visits,education and awareness.(b) Sterilization servicesMethods adopted a) vasectomy – urban FW planning centers, overall trend declining ; b) tubectomy – field “camps”, examinations and follow-ups.(c) Methodology for motivation towards planned family norms: these are:“extension approach”, mobile vans, field services, special motivational andpopulation education programs, the media, work done by national andinternational NGOs, “street plays”, doorstep delivery of services, monetaryincentives, literacy programs, emancipation of women, participation oflocal leaders and voluntary workers, dance/drama, charts / hoardings /banners / population theme songs, sex education, counseling, research andtraining / therapy , “outreach” to employed youth (taxi drivers, railstationworkers ) through picture lectures and peer counseling.“In the past twenty years…man has demonstrated his skill at enabling largenumbers of people to survive, who would not have survived in the past – 273
  • 274. but to survive in poverty, in ignorance, in sickness, often in degradation.This is at heart what the population problem is about, not about numbersbut about the quality of human life throughout the world.”- AnonymousIn clarifying the interrelationships between population and many facets ofsocial and economic conditions, it has been recognized that the privatesector has an important role in social development and can be a very usefulchannel for the delivery of reproductive health care / family planningservices and the provision of education and information relevant topopulation and development programs.Let us explore innovative approaches to strengthen the partnership betweengovernments, international and non-governmental organizations and thecorporate sector with the aim of increasing the overall impact of populationand development activities through corporate consultative meetingsincluding business sessions and field visits. A corporate sector entity canachieve so much in promoting social development. The role and potentialof the corporate sector in reproductive health and family planning does notneed any elaboration, keeping in view the fact that it employs millions ofpeople in every country. When the most intelligent and the top brass ofcorporate giants decide to take initiatives at the national level as partners innational action plans with government, international agencies and NGOsfor launching innovative approaches in harmony with local social andeconomic needs, any venture is bound to succeed.A corporate enterprise has certain social responsibilities (good corporatecitizenship) to its customers, shareholders, employees and the communitieswithin which it functions. 274
  • 275. Social investments can result in human happiness. Programs for populationand family planning are no more a social responsibility undertaken on avoluntary basis by the corporate sector, but a social imperative. Socialfactors are as important as, and as integral to economic growth as economicfactors. In order to promote sustainable development, both social andeconomic issues should be taken together and not compartmentalized. Welldevised family planning programs, reproductive and sexual health, literacyand education for both boys and girls, women’s empowerment anddevelopment, population, youth concerns and employment, for instance,come to my mind.ii) Education: –“If you are thinking one year ahead, plant rice,If you are thinking 10 years ahead, plant trees, andIf you are thinking 100 years ahead, educate people.”- A Chinese proverb“I will sign myself.... the joy of learning”“The unbearable, wretched condition of the poor worldwide can only berelieved through education. Education will arouse in them self-consciousness, making them aware of their helpless conditions and instill inthem self-help and perseverance. Education is the only vehicle thatestablishes communication between man and the outer world where helooks upon himself as a living entity. Consciousness is the true identity ofman and it is stimulated only through education.”(Anonymous)Programs on literacy have been going on for quite sometime. The degree ofsuccess is dependent on several factors, one of the important ones being the 275
  • 276. methodology adopted. We can promote free distance learning programs forthe poor. We can have a common room with a television set, whereeducation can be imparted in the vernacular. Literacy programs for womenneed a different approach and strategy. A normal program would firstlyhave to face shyness in adults. It would require that women devote timeexclusively for classes. Such standard approach is unlikely to be successfulfor the simple reason that for the illiterate rural woman, her domestic dutiesand chores are of greater importance than studies. A more pertinentstrategy would be the implementation of the program in such a way thatstudies mix with her normal work, which makes it adaptable. We couldmotivate literate girls or boys to select 2-3 women each from their relatedfamilies and friends. They could be sitting together whenever convenientfor both sides i.e. children and women e.g. while cooking, cleaning aroundthe house etc. this can generate a lot of interest. However, this model needsto be implemented on a “pilot” basis in some villages before large-scaleimplementation.iii) The Lifeline Express: - the unique health mission with a healing touch…: -A different mission is the “lifeline express”. Is it asking for the moon tohave a “Lifeline Express” in every Third World country?Alternatively, why not have helicopters to reach inaccessible places!!Over and above this, we should also encourage more and more ‘heal theworld’ medical relief teams.Let us hope medical science wipes out disease from the face of this planet,and the benefits of medical science be taken to the poor. (An example, 276
  • 277. based on the same philosophy, is the work being done by the “Center forDisease Control and Prevention” in the United States).Now, about the “Lifeline Express”: far away from most of us in manyvillages of rural India, where our farmers reap harvest after harvest for us,modern medicine is yet to find a foothold, and for some time, this distancehad yet an indelible but preventable scar, that of physical disability:however, many of them have cause for hope, because with regard to health,crisscrossing across the country is the “Life-Line Express” – a fully staffedhospital on wheels with a unique mobile medical mission which seeks tobridge India’s remote rural areas with modern medical practices. This stepepitomises an international initiative which began over 15 years ago inEngland, to prevent and cure avoidable disablement. In 1983, the UNDP,UNICEF, WHO and governments of participating countries formalized thismovement to create an international organization called “Impact”. Indiawas chosen as the site for the global launch of this initiative. The projectbegan with a journey to Khelari in the coal belt of Eastern India in July -August 1991.It is important for the corporate sector to intervene in the health sector, as apart of its social responsibility. It could fund research into ‘tropicaldisease’, like tropical sprue, dengue, malaria, filaria, cholera, Hepatitis - Betc. the corporate sector in coalition with NGOs and governments couldalso fund inoculation and vaccination projects. The world’s big companiesin vaccines and antibiotics (e.g. Smithkline Beecham inc.) can contribute ina large way to eradicating the diseases that devastate the developing world.It need not be over emphasized that the health care industry has to play animportant role – 14.5 million people die every year from malaria, 10million from the effects of tapeworm. Billions can be invested in new 277
  • 278. medicines. It is essential that the health industry should be involved intackling the health issues that so fundamentally affect development.iv) Corporate Partnership: -The primary aim of creating jobs in developing countries is important, butinfluencing attitudes to private enterprise is equally vital. Companiesshould develop closer partnership with international agencies and NGOs.Key issues are – economic efficiency, social development, andenvironment protection. The issue of child labor in Asia (and elsewhere)should be tackled. Almost a billion adults (30% of the world’s adultpopulation) are illiterate. More effective results can be achieved by makingliteracy more relevant, through a focus on rural appraisal and development.The private sector should collaborate to scale up these small-scale pilotprograms and make a real impact. The private sector could work withNGOs, agencies, partners, governments and local communities inpromoting improved literacy standards.Business can assist, for example, by providing IT facilities. In Tilonia(Rajasthan, India), for example, rural women using solar-poweredcomputers have spent time inputting and analyzing vital health data, suchthat these women could train children attending night school.Unfortunately, there is a real danger that business and developmentagencies undermine the self-sufficiency of rural (and urban) communities.The multi - pronged principles of development are as follows:• to de-professionalize development by helping ordinary people meet their needs (sustainable development) ; 278
  • 279. • to use an integrated approach in meeting social and environmental needs, emphasizing basic education and appropriate technology such as solar power, pumps and machinery which villages could maintain themselves.v) Creating employment: –Certain kinds of economic activities do not create sustainable jobs, in thelight of poverty alleviation. To this group belong all large industries, usinga lot of capital or requiring import of machinery, components and rawmaterials. As such, small and cottage industries and agriculture inneglected areas, as employment generating sources, now need to beidentified, and credit and tax incentives need to be channelized moreintensely to these areas.VI) Distributive justice :–The problem of poverty is a problem of distribution. Atleast, theInternational Court of Justice at The Hague, should intervene in such amanner that laws in developing countries are so enacted and implementedthat the rich do not escape the paying of taxes.VII) Man-land ownership :–While land is limited, productivity can be increased to a large extent by theusage of high technology. Even small holdings can be made profitable byproper irrigation facilities, use of modern techniques and by diversification.Land reforms should be undertaken.VIII) Decentralizing planning and its execution :– 279
  • 280. The village “panchayats” and the municipal councils based on localresources and the skills of the population (e.g. villagers, slum dwellers),should necessarily plan programs in rural areas (and those in urban areas).IX) Affordable housing :–Yes, the governments of developing countries in coalition with thecorporate sector can provide subsidized housing and electricity to the poor.Actually, we should look for more integrated solutions to the problem.The new millennium should be the millennium of the farmer (actually thepoor, how can we ignore the city poor??? ) and the role of the corporatesector is very important. Farmers may revolt if liberalization (in anydeveloping country) ignores agriculture. The new millennium should be theera of ‘people-isation’. For instance, in New Zealand, every dairy is ownedby the farmer. Approximately, 70% of the dairying in the United States iswith co-operatives. These are experiences that are progressively gainingmomentum across the world.These are the experiences we should learn from…These are poverty related prescriptions, which can bring the poor closer… 280
  • 281. CHAPTER 17AFollowing the Great Depression, shantytowns, “Hoovervilles”, sprang up inthe great cities of the United States, as unemployed and homeless familiesstruggled for their very survival.- from Eleanor Roosevelt by David Winner.The Missionaries of Charity have inspired a music cassette: ‘Flame in theSlum’ featuring songs by the Assembly of God Church choir. The lyrics aswell as the music have been composed by Fr. I.C. Jacob, Children’s Aid,Calcutta, India.“And, Eleanor (Roosevelt) would be going into the hovels alongside‘Scotts Run’, one of the worst slums in the US at that time!”As it is, men, women and children in the Third World are no better off than“guinea pigs” (they are facing the brunt of poverty, illiteracy and disease).Can we not try out innovative experiments on them? Let us strengthen localinnovation, create opportunities for the poor to learn of successful practicesin other parts of the world, promote their replication and foster new formsof social experimentation, which may lead to social changes on a widerscale.The flight of people from the country to the cities in search of work is aproblem in most developing countries. Families leave their homes andfarms in a desperate attempt to find food and work, and often can findneither. The result is that cities become overcrowded and the new arrivalshave to build their homes where they can, out of whatever they can find.Poor living conditions in the “big” cities of the world lead inevitably to 281
  • 282. extremely bad health, poverty, crowded housing, poor sanitation, crime,and other social problems... and much suffering....“Locally rooted development programs in slums can encourage theinhabitants’ commitment to improving the quality of life....’-To city dwellers, slums are embarrassing and most people show resignationin their approach. Slums or ‘unintended cities’ have always been neglected,despite so much environmental degradation...Marked by poor sanitation, clogged drains, and encroachments, garbage(litter) and during the rainy season, hellish conditions... also, poverty,illiteracy, unemployment, sometimes high infant mortality... lack ofhygiene, of clean water, and alcoholism is a major problem...Only education can improve the lot of the slum-dwellers (including socialand health education)... Let us collect funds from the public and startprimary schools in slum areas.... But large numbers of children still do notattend school even today.... Let us build organizations of women fromamong the poor, train them for income generation and help give voice totheir concerns.... Common courtyards surrounded by hutments can beturned into classrooms and voluntary help can be enlisted... Adult literacyclasses should be started... Illiterate women have been known to take upcooking and cleaning jobs to support their children through school... Otherwomen are engaged in labor-intensive work or at odd jobs like makingpaper bags, toys, etc. Let us form an inter-household community networkto raise (some) finance and form ‘co-operative(s)’ or ‘societies’...Given the acute nature of social and economic problems of slums, the onlyhope for a sustainable long-term solution lies in a dweller-led movement.... 282
  • 283. A locally rooted, systematically undertaken community developmentprogram is what is needed.”- Source: Piloted Towards New Horizons, The Telegraph, India, 26 Mar,’98.Migration from rural to urban areas, from small towns to larger ones, haspushed up the rate of urbanization in cities and towns throughout theworld... Solutions to such questions may require some constitutionalchanges in the context of accountability on the part of public servants...Science and technology need to be rationally applied by town planners.Already an improved communication system has played a great role indispersed urban developments in developed countries... There is an unequal distribution of resources and services between rural and urban areas... Some kind of equity is to be brought about in the standards of living in rural and urban areas (through the provision of basics like fair-price shops, education, health care and clean drinking water)... Only a strong commitment to development would solve unplanned urbanization.- A former Chief town planner, West Bengal, India.Slums are the areas of poverty and decadence, described by Nehru as theareas of “the utmost form of human degradation, characterized bystarvation, malnutrition, disease, neglect, exploitation, abuse, torture,crime, vice and delinquency, illiteracy and depression. The worst slums ofthe world are devoid of food, sanitation, passage, water, electricity, light,ventilation, privacy, protection against disease, health, medical care, andabove all, hope. Mostly rural migrants inhabit these areas. They are either 283
  • 284. in the middle of or at the periphery of a big city and are filled with filth. Inone or a couple of rooms, over a dozen human beings live and cook,cohabitate and breed....Growth of slums, overcrowding and pollution are some of the “gifts” of ourmodern civilization and can be attributed to factors like a) migration of rural masses b) low income c) high cost of living in cities d) shortages of houses e) unplanned growth f) illiteracy and unbridled breeding g) exploitation and h) lack of political will....The slum environment is conducive to the spread of several ailments viz.communicable diseases, malnutrition, mental and physical retardation andbehavioral problems and is a slow poisoning process and it does not causeripples in political circles....An expert committee of the UN included nine factors in living-health,nutrition, housing, education, employment and working conditions,clothing, social security, recreation and human rights and most of these areinadequate in slums...“Community-based distribution” (CBD) of services, and nutritioneducation can be of great help.... 284
  • 285. The ICDS or “Integrated Child Development Services” involve an“Anganwadi” - literally, the “courtyard” - which is given or cheaply rentedas a center for information and help with childcare. When the scheme doesfinally reach all the poor families of India, it will still cost less than onepercent of the nation’s GDP (James Grant, “The State of the World’sChildren”, 1987)What can we do? To improve the health and welfare of slum dwellers, thestate, voluntary agencies (e.g. rotary clubs) and community workers need tocommit themselves. An “Integrated Minimum Needs Program”, to ensureatleast two square meals a day, clothing, sanitary housing, clean water andlatrines, free vaccines and doorstep medical treatment, family planning,iron and vitamin tablets and health education, needs to be formulated....Let us realize that slum dwellers can become a resource rather than anuisance or an encroachment on beautiful cities of our “beloved” planet! 285
  • 286. CHAPTER 17B THE POOR ARE CLOSER TO YOU THAN YOU THINK“To know the problem of poverty intellectually is not to understand it. It isnot by reading, taking a walk in the slums, admiring and regretting that wecome to understand it and to discover what it has of bad and good. We haveto dive into it, live it, share it.” – Mother Teresa (Source of the following extract: an article by a Reader at the LSE, England)All around us is the grim face of urban poverty. Yet, developing countriesacross the world tend to associate poverty with rural areas. Therefore, thereis a need to analyze ways of understanding and responding to urbanpoverty.Globally, patterns of poverty are changing. In 1980, there were twice asmany poor rural households as poor urban ones, but in the new millennium,more than half the absolute poor are living in urban areas. The burden ofpoverty is being borne increasingly by the world’s cities, particularly thoseof developing countries. Cities and towns are blatantly ill equipped to dealwith the impact of rapid urbanization. This makes cities dysfunction and itputs at risk the stability of urban populations.It is now acknowledged that the extent and depth of urban poverty is on theincrease. It is also being increasingly recognized that urban poverty has 286
  • 287. very particular characteristics, forms and consequences. And yet, for many,poverty is still seen as a rural problem.The development of sustainable responses to urban poverty depends on adeeper understanding, not only of the extent of urban poverty, but of theprocesses by which it is created, perpetuated as also ways in which it maybe ameliorated. Urban poverty alleviation should remain firmly on thepolicy agenda.Proximity of the urban poor to hospitals and clinics, in no way guaranteestheir admission to care, or alters the fact that they are intimidated by thealien environment and often haughty or hostile treatment they receive whilewaiting for attention. For instance, it came out in the newspapers in Indiathat a slum-woman was thrown out of a city hospital when she was inlabor, simply because she could not furnish her husband’s name. She wasnot literate enough.“Urban Participatory Appraisal” (I have spoken of it much earlier, inchapter 2) will prove to be an effective means of understanding povertythrough the perceptions of the poor themselves. People in urban low-income communities and slums emphasize not only material deprivationbut also exposure to risk, vulnerability and insecurity. Ill health may be amajor fear, while death of a breadwinner is the factor that most commonlymay propel people into poverty. We are able also to focus attention on theparticular interests and needs of different groups amongst the urban poor,such as the single-headed households, women-maintained families, theelderly, children in difficult circumstances, and those that are vulnerable inthe face of violence and issues of public safety, such as young women andyouth. 287
  • 288. Rural poverty is more widespread and intense. But simply to conclude, thatin urban areas, the poor have greater material and human resources, incomeearning opportunities and life chances than their counterparts in thecountryside, can lead to policy outcomes which penalize the urban poor fortheir very resourcefulness, while ignoring the particular problems they face.Probably the worst off are children in difficult circumstances, like street-children.Urban poverty has particular causes, characteristics and consequences,which need to be understood in their own right. The increasingconcentration of poverty in cities derives from both demographic andeconomic factors, including the fact that the negative impact of economicreform measures has fallen on the urban poor.Economic factors are obviously important in understanding urban poverty.However, a focus on income and consumption provides only half thepicture. It is important also to be alert to other sources of deprivation andvulnerability. The urban poor are subject to additional stress factors such asinsecurity of tenure or residence, physical danger and violence, harassmentby urban mafia, officialdom and the police.Social status: – the urban poor also suffer by overcrowding, lack of privacyand health hazards. And are the first in line as victims of environmentaldegradation. Their social status as “unnotified” slum dwellers or aslinguistic, ethnic or religious minority groups, can increase theirvulnerability, particularly in cities that are violently contested politicalterrains. Ironically, the big sprawling slums have deplorable social andecological conditions but exercise voting power through their numbers.Smaller settlements and slums located in the vicinity of upper and middle- 288
  • 289. income neighborhoods are of little interest to politicians and of greataggravation to more powerful citizens.Urban poverty is heterogeneous: – it is important to understand theheterogeneity of urban poverty, not only from the region of city to another,but within cities, neighborhoods and even households themselves.The focus on the urban household, while an important step forward makesinvisible the contribution to household well-being of different householdmembers.The primary focus has been on women. This is partly because of thesuccess of the “women in development” lobby in keeping gender issuesalive and in focus, and partly because of a growing recognition that theindividual, household and collective survival strategies of women, havebeen vital for the sustainability of poor urban households and communitiesin times of economic and social stress. Women and more particularlywomen-headed households, have also been identified as being among thepoorest of the poor, and have become important targets for compensatorymeasures and poverty alleviation programs.Age is also an important variable in understanding urban poverty processes.Cities are facing the problem of aging populations while at the same timebecoming increasingly youthful: – greater attention is being paid toproblems faced by street children, children in difficult circumstances andmore recently urban youth, but our understanding of the particularexperiences of the elderly poor in urban areas is extremely limited.Social conflict: – before we discuss social conflict in the cities, let usobserve a minute of silence: – 289
  • 290. !! Om shanti!!!! A salutation to peace!!Social conflict in cities derives from poverty. Here we can equally refer todomestic violence in households when frustrated unemployed males resortto alcohol; to outbreaks of communal or inter-ethnic conflict underconditions of competition for scarce resources within overcrowdedneighborhoods; to violence associated with the influx of refugees or ruralmigrants; or to organized violence stemming from authoritarian regimes,poorly trained police forces, private armies, urban warlords and the mafia.In all such cases, the poor suffer the brunt of conflict, experienceddifferently on the basis of sex, age and status, and poverty seems to feedsuch differences.Urban poverty and public action: – the last decade has seen theinternational donor community deliver a “new urban agenda” whichderives from demographic and environmental concerns about urban areas,and an acceptance of the crucial economic and political role of cities innational development. Poverty alleviation is considered a priority area foraction. A key opportunity is presented by the “new urban agenda” to focuson poverty at the level of the city and to fostering an integrated approach tourban poverty reduction (In fact, my view on a “holistic” approach shouldbe “eradication”).Actions to address urban poverty have been consistently constrained by theinadequacy of resources both at the national and the metro level, by fears ofalienating the urban elite and by poor management of poverty alleviationprograms and projects, leading to frequent failures to reach the targetedpoor. 290
  • 291. Globally, the balance of responsibility for urban areas has started shiftingamong the public, private and community sectors. Current thinking hasaccepted that the public sector alone cannot meet the needs and aspirationsof urban populations and that new forms of cooperation and partnershiphave to muster a broad complement of material and human resources toaddress urban problems.What the corporate sector can do:With most third-world companies situated in urban areas, there isn’t too farin order to find out how one can be useful. management skills andresources, which the corporate sector is so thoroughly equipped with, couldbe applied for urban poverty management – in collaboration with thegovernment, NGOs or even individually.The term “community development” connotes the process by which theefforts of the people themselves are united with those of governmentauthorities, NGOs and companies to improve the economic and socialconditions of slum communities. The philosophy behind the urbancommunity development project is, that any neighborhood, no matter howpoor, can do something to improve itself by its own efforts, and that anyapproach for outside help should be resorted to, only after it has exhaustedits own resources fully. The aim and objective of these projects is to changethe attitudes and motivation of the people and community rather than toaffect social welfare. The object is not so much to take social service to theunderprivileged as to evoke in them a desire for self-reliance. Also,achievements in the field of organization of physical improvement, healthand sanitation, education and economic programs would be beneficial.Here again, the corporate sector would be helpful. 291
  • 292. I do not remember who had said this, but it is worthwhile noting the basictheme:“The problem is not merely of old slums but of the creation of new slums.It is obvious that we shall never solve it unless we stop completely theformation of slums.”Before we do that, we have to think of the slum dwellers and those withouta home. The worst off are children in difficult circumstances like streetchildren. 292
  • 293. CHAPTER 18A“Loafers” and “Wasters”, were bored, often delinquent boys who roamedthe streets smoking and getting into trouble.... But it was not the fault of theboys - they were going wrong, only for want of hands to guide them theright way towards being useful.- from Robert Baden - Powell by Julia Courtney.1. ‘I was 12 years old when I ran away from home and reached New Delhi railway station. It was strange and frightening. People were using needles on each other and older boys were sodomising the younger ones. It was so open....’This is the voice of a child huddled in the shadows of the Indian Capital’srailway stations next to the glitz and glitter of Connaught Place (themarket)... Such children stumble through their childhood and adolescencescratching out a living at the stations, sitting on the grimy tracks… Chasingheroin, raping and sodomising the young and the vulnerable amongthemselves.They spend violent nights month after month, year after year, on theplatforms, in the dingy hovels next to the tracks.Pallab Das’s documentary film “The Unseen” made for the UNICEFuncovers the dark underbelly of the Indian Capital - the hidden violencethat devastates hundreds of street children, trapping them in a dungeon ofdrugs, sex and AIDS....And so they say, these are ‘platforms of plundered innocence....’ 293
  • 294. from “Time” Magazine - Jan 15, 2001:“I’d rather stay down here than at the shelter. No one pays attention to methere. I’ll stay here with my friend until my baby comes.”-Altanchimeg, 17 and eight months pregnant.“My father cannot work so I dropped out of school and carry heavy sacksof flour at the train station to pay for food.”- Enkhmunkh, 12.“Kids at the mines collect the coal dropped by the bulldozers. What theydon’t need to keep themselves warm, they sell them.”- Oyun, UNICEF project officer in Ulan Bator, Cambodia.When the temperature plummets to - 30 °c, the warmest place in UlanBator is the sewer. For the nearly 4,000 homeless children in the Capital ofMongolia, it is a choice between going underground and ‘death’. Kidssleep, cook and play beneath the manhole covers.... Families in postCommunist Mongolia suffer economic despair, alcoholism, domesticviolence and sexual abuse, driving a large number of children to the streets.And after a severe drought and the loss of cattle to exposure last year,Mongolia is going through yet another difficult winter... Local sheltersoffer day schooling and day meals, but during the nights, the children gointo the tunnels, staying close to the hot-water pipes for warmth.... Duringwarmer times, these street-kids do odd jobs: portering at the train station,gathering loose coal at the mines or scrap metal at the dump.... for food.... 294
  • 295. And, so Ulan Bator’s army of homeless children struggles to surviveanother frigid winter. By begging, stealing, scavenging and seeking warmthin the sewers....From The Telegraph, 26 Feb., 2001: villages of health and hope:Irishwoman plans twin centers for street-children to grow amid security,love and a family atmosphere: “she is the locality’s universal ‘mom’providing education, shelter, healthcare and protection to street childrennear Triangular Park, for well over a decade now. But Edith Wilkins, bornin Cork, Ireland (yes, she deserves attention!)...wants to “give Calcuttamore”.Edith…now wants to fulfil her ultimate dream, in Calcutta - setting up twinvillages for kids, to give them, a total family atmosphere with surrogateparents.The ‘health village’ and ‘Asha’ will cost around £400,000 each. The healthvillage will have a mini-hospital for street children, a hospice ...a specialunit for malnourished children and a child - orientation center.Edith feels children are on the streets for various reasons - dysfunctionalfamilies, poverty, alcoholism, abuse.... and our aim is to give them security,love and a family atmosphere.” 295
  • 296. CHAPTER 18B WE GROW UP ON THE STREETSTo children: –“The direction that society will take tomorrow depends mainly on theminds and hearts of today’s children. You are called to build up humansociety. As children, you have at your disposal, abundant means that youmust learn to know and appreciate fully.”– Mother TeresaTo society: –“Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without leaving betterand happier. Be a living expression of God’s kindness, kindness in yourface, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness to your warmgreeting. To children, to the poor, to all who suffer and are lonely, givealways a happy smile. Give them not only your care, but also your heart.”-Anonymous“Street-children’, as they call themselves, are children in difficultcircumstances, are children who have run away from home, the slums,often from violence, and become part of a vast community of ragpickers,shoe-shine boys, hawkers and ‘odd jobbers’, living a rough life on citystreets. They live in a complex world of sorrows and joys. They have theirvisions of life and work in the streets.”As they grow up on the streets, street children become increasinglyvulnerable to drug peddlers, alcoholism and crime. Further, these childrenare exploited as child labor. Child labor and child abuse are very common 296
  • 297. in developing countries. It has also been estimated that a vast majority of“juvenile delinquents” are homeless, urban children, who eventually landup on the streets.Despite hectic planning, welfare programs, legislation and administrativeaction in the developing countries, a majority of third world childrencontinue to remain in distress and turmoil. In most cases, parents neglectthem and employers sexually abuse them. Millions of children from amongthe urban poor are compelled by economic considerations to join the laborforce. India has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of theworld’s working children. (One-fourth of the world’s child labor force).The major cause of child abuse is “adaptational failure” or maladjustmentin the environment (both in the family and in the work place) mostly on thepart of the adult perpetrators (parents, employers) but to some extent on thepart of adults responsible for family socialization as well. The types ofabuse on children are physical, sexual and emotional. Bolton and Bolton(1987) have identified eight possible effects of abuse on children, namely,self-evaluation (the loss of self-esteem), dependency, mistrust,revictimization, withdrawal from people, emotional trauma, deviantbehavior, and inter-personal problems.One beautiful overtureStreet children in one part of India are now an organized group, thanks tosensitive intervention by SPARC, the NSDF, and the Mahila Milan(women’s group). These children now interact with city officials butmanage their own lives and make their own decisions. They voice theirconcerns and articulate their problems and needs. The “night shelter” is onesuch initiative that developed through this interaction. The children 297
  • 298. themselves manage the shelters with support from the tri-NGO alliance andthe only decisions left to professionals are those that concern health andsafety issues. Let us have “sponsored townships” with caretakers for allunfortunate children.We shall now devote a prayer to a highly deprived category called“beggars”. 298
  • 299. CHAPTER 19AWe do not know just how many people die alone on the streets. How manywash, eat, live and die on the road-sides of major cities of the world. Justhow many line the gateways to temples, shrines, etc., begging for alms?Let us pursue projects that can rebuild communities e.g. street repairs... andpublic works like cleanliness and sanitation... to tackle poverty andunemployment.... High time we begun....The benefits of globalization are not being fully realized for all our people,especially in the developing world where income distribution has becomemore unequal. Globalization must help the poor (by creating more jobs for“the poor”, for instance, in a restaurant or hotel, replacing dishwashers withhuman hands, although it may not actually be a very practicable solution).“Until she (Mother Teresa) could accommodate her lepers in propersettlements.... they would still go out to beg in the streets of Calcutta if theywanted to ... If she happened to see them when they had come back, shewould ask them how they had done.”- Malcolm Muggeridge, from “Something Beautiful for God”. 299
  • 300. CHAPTER 19B I MAKE MY LIVING BY BEGGING“When I pick up a hungry person from the street, I give him a plate of rice,a piece of bread. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted,unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out of society – thatspiritual poverty is much harder to overcome.”– Anonymous“Charity begins today,Today somebody is suffering,To day somebody is in the street,Today somebody is hungryOur work is for today, yesterday has gone,Tomorrow has not yet come, we have only today to makeJesus known, loved, served,Fed, clothed, sheltered.Do not wait for tomorrow.Tomorrow we will not have themIf we do not feed them today.” – Anonymous 300
  • 301. “None of us, I am sure knows what is the pain of hunger, but one day, Ilearned it from a little child. I found the child in the street and I saw in herface that terrible hunger that I have seen in many eyes.” – Mother TeresaThe personality of the beggar is one of complete dependence and constantexpectation. It is well said that by begging, a person lets loose from his selffive of his presiding deities: shame, lustre, confidence, intelligence andself-esteem. Such demoralized persons do not hesitate to lie, impersonate,adopt any trick or even take to crime. Rehabilitation of beggars can takeplace if there are well-managed beggar homes. But in India, these are fewand far between. There are still thousands of beggars roaming in the streetsand lining approaches to temples and shrines. Although officials aresympathetic, the rehabilitation of beggars is a daunting task ahead of all ofus.As per a particular press report in India, although a few beggars arerelatively well off, the conditions of a majority of the dying, the destitute,the lonely, the homeless and the elderly remain pathetic. 301
  • 302. CHAPTER 20AI believe that the best wayTo serveThe poor and the underprivilegedIs toWalk hand in hand with themAnd allow God to show you the way.People all over the world could identify with Charles Spencer Chaplin(Charlie Chaplin)... who looked forlorn and lonely in his films - one oflife’s losers. But, despite life’s difficulties, he always won in the end -somehow becoming a symbol to the poor, the failures and the losers of theworld.- Source: David Robinson: Chaplin: His Life and Art.Poverty gave Charlie Chaplin a passionate desire to see the underdogsucceed and to fight against the injustices of the world. His courage gave alot of people hope and laughter in the face of their own problems.Do we have “homes” for the people who wash, clean, eat, live and perishon the roadsides of India??? And for that matter, (of) the world???Let us start our work by picking up one dying person from the street... toMother Teresa, the important thing was that each person died with thefeeling of being loved.“In these twenty years of work amongst the people, I have come more andmore to realize that it is being unwanted that is the worst disease that any 302
  • 303. human being can ever experience. Nowadays we have found medicine forleprosy and lepers can be cured.... For all kinds of diseases there aremedicines and cures. But for being unwanted, except that there are willinghands to serve and there’s a loving heart to love, I don’t think this terribledisease can ever be cured.”- Mother Teresa.Loneliness is a disease, a “poverty” worse than lack of food, warmth orshelter... whether in London or in New York: people relegated to “cold”rooms or boxes in the street, by a wealthy society...To combat destitution, let us set up welfare systems to protect the weakestmembers of society....‘.... We reached a cluster of huts.... The well outside was filled over withsand and inside we found Sabhayi, 80 plus, nearly blind and all alone. Hersons and their families had all left due to dearth of food. She (Sabhayi) didnot have the energy to travel with them. So, they left her alone. She had notime to be asked questions about what she ate and how she would survive...this poor, elderly woman was trapped in solitude...’- ‘Sands of Solitude’, The Telegraph, India, April 2000. 303
  • 304. CHAPTER 20B LET US CARE FOR THE DYING, THE DESTITUTE, THE LONELY, THE HOMELESS, THE ELDERLY AND THE INFIRM“Where is God? He has made himself the hungry one, the naked one, thehomeless one, the lonely one and he says:“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.” – Mother Teresa“He who serves the poor serves God.” – Mahatma Gandhi“In our home for the dying,It is so beautiful to see,People who are joyful,People who are lovable,People who are at peace,In spite of terrible suffering.” – Mother Teresa“Pray, who will look after the senior citizens of the world. They have raisedthe present generation. They deserve company.” 304
  • 305. – Anonymous”There are about 100 million homeless in the world, of whom 3 million arein America.”“Help age world: the less privileged elderly need your love, care andcompassion.” – Anonymous“Help age world: let us build more old-age homes, let us donate in charityto old age homes.” – Anonymous“We have homes for the sick and dying,Destitutes,And it is so beautiful to see how these people,Who have lived such difficult lives,Die with such contentment,With such peace –It really is unbelievable.We picked one of them out of a drain once,And brought him to the home for the dying,I remember him saying:‘I have lived like an animal in the street,But I am going to die like an angel-loved and cared for…’He had no fear,We fear only when our conscience is not clear, 305
  • 306. When we are afraid to face ourselves.That is why so many people are afraid of death –They are afraid of facing reality,Of facing self,By looking at God.A pure heart sees God,And I think the poor people,Live very much in the presence of God,That is why they have no fear,That is why they meet death with happiness,I find that our people in the homes for the dying,Our lepers and so on,Their happiness at death,Is not due to their being released from suffering,It is because they are truly at peace – a peace which shines through in theirfaces,Although thousands of people die in our homes each year,I have never yet seen anybody die in distress,Or in despair,Or restless...They simply go home to God.” 306
  • 307. – Mother TeresaGod has given a special kind of suffering to refugees and indigenouspeoples. 307
  • 308. CHAPTER 21ADay by day, by building big dams, by destroying forests and foliage, bybuilding big missiles, big bombs - we are breaking ourselves.In a speech given before the 29th annual meeting of the Central Board ofIrrigation and Power (17th Nov’, 58) Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (Ex. PM,India) said, “For some time past, however, I have been beginning to thinkthat we are suffering from what we may call ‘the disease of gigantism’. Wewant to show that we can build big dams and do big things. This is adangerous outlook developing in India... the idea of big - having bigundertakings and doing big things for the sake of showing that we can dobig things (the country plans a space launch while innocent people arestarving???) - is not a good outlook at all. And ... it is... the small irrigationprojects, the small industries and the small plants for electric power, whichwill change the face of the country for more than half a dozen big projectsin half a dozen places.”Dams provide irrigation and also power for domestic use andmanufacturing industry... and yet.... most of these dams displace people....and the cost in terms of human lives is enormous........ A large number of indigenous groups all over the world are adverselyaffected by government projects in the name of development in the form of‘displacement’ with low rehabilitation... The tribals’ illiteracy, ignorance,gullibility and lack of knowledge make them prone to suffering ...anddemocracy stands defeated.Already many displaced people are awaiting rehabilitation... Can thegovernment show how land is available in actual for resettlement of all 308
  • 309. these displaced persons?? ...The tribals are looted to the core andrehabilitation lies in the lifeless official machinery papers....Is the government not disturbing habitats and later harassing the tribalsover development and meager rehabilitation measures?Call it, “pinching the child in the cradle and rocking the cradle when itcries...???”People everywhere, often without realization, have been influenced by thecultures of indigenous peoples through the foods on our tables, the words inour languages and our daily medicines.Many of the world’s staple foods, such as potatoes, lentils, peas, sugarcane, garlic and tomatoes, were first cultivated by indigenous peoples.Indigenous languages of the Americas are the source of familiar words likecanoe, barbecue, squash and moccasin. Truly, indigenous peoples havemade a long-lasting contribution to modern civilization.Indigenous peoples are descendants of the original inhabitants of manylands. They are of a variety of cultures, religions, societies and economicorganization. Some are hunters and gatherers, while others live in cities.But common to all is a strong sense of their distinct cultures, the mostsalient feature being a special relationship to the land.Millions of the world’s indigenous peoples live across more than 70countries. Among them are the Indians of the Americas, the Inuit and theAleutians of the Poles, the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders ofAustralia and the Maori of New Zealand. There are also large numbers ofindigenous people in Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, China, India and Myanmar(Burma).Indigenous peoples are some of the most disadvantaged groups on earth. 309
  • 310. • most of India’s tribal people live below the poverty line;• the life expectancy of indigenous Northern Russians is much less than the national average;• unemployment among Australia’s Aborigines is five times the national average;• those indigenous people who are integrated into a national society have to face discrimination and exploitation in housing, education, language as well as religion. Those living in their natural (traditional) territories have to put up with disruption of their cultures and forced displacement as their lands and natural resources are claimed in the name of national development. I am not exaggerating when I am saying that some indigenous peoples actually live under the threat of extinction. So, just what is the status of indigenous peoples? The growing awareness about human rights in the post-war era has not been matched by parallel progress in enhancing the rights of indigenous groups.• in 1979, the Parliament of Denmark granted self-government to Greenland and jurisdiction over education, health care, social welfare and economic development;• Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico have adopted far-reaching laws on the rights of indigenous people;• the government of New Zealand and the National Maori Congress have been engaged in a number of constructive dialogues; 310
  • 311. • in Canada, indigenous groups have enhanced their visibility to create greater protection of their lands and carve out new social and economic gains. Despite their successes, indigenous peoples continue to lose their lands, resources and identities. Among the issues that concern indigenous peoples are:• land and resources;• human rights;• internal colonization;• self-government;• self-development;• environment;• discrimination;• health;• education;• language;• cultural survival;• intellectual property rights;• social and economic conditions.Indigenous peoples consider control over local economy, social planning,land use and their natural resources essential to their existence. They areseeking greater degrees of autonomy and self-rule. 311
  • 312. The lives of the millions of indigenous people who inhabit the world’stropical rainforests are threatened by deforestation. It is true that indigenouspeople are finding their environments being degraded, but it is also true thatthey have a vital role to play in environmental protection. For centuries,they have engaged in sustainable land management and land use in theareas in which they live.Indigenous artwork and cultural artifacts are of high quality, and in greatdemand, but very often, they are sold illegally. Thus, indigenous peoplesare looking to secure the right to their cultural property.They (indigenous peoples) are keen on maintaining their distinct culturesand transmitting their cultural heritage to subsequent generations.These peoples have been demanding justice from the internationalcommunity for many years. They are now active locally, regionally,nationally and internationally, seeking respect for their cultures, ways oflife and full participation in decisions affecting them.The indigenous people everywhere, spread over some 70 countries - havebeen suffering inhumanities in the process of industrialization andcolonialism.... But today, they are no longer crying for charities andsympathy, but are claiming their rights to their own lands and forests, toconduct their own affairs, form their own councils, to gain full jurisdictionover such natural resources as minerals and forests, to run their own localor regional administration, shape their own justice and education systems,and to administer much of the national funds that would continue to flow tothem.When, oh! When, would, justice, for so long denied, be restored to themthat they may have the opportunity to shape their own destiny? 312
  • 313. Dams and mines operated in the tribal region contribute to theestablishment of industries in these areas - dams to supply water andhydroelectricity. As major projects begin and expand, and many subsidiaryindustries emerge to support them, the tribals get evacuated away fromindustrial areas to abject poverty and gross neglect into the outskirts.Will those who are evacuated from the project areas receive priority inemployment with the industries established?Development at whose cost? - the irony of the development process inIndia is that the inhabitants of the areas where industries, mines and damsare undertaken, have never been consulted about them, nor are the benefitsof these projects shared with them.Private businessmen or entrepreneurs are not really the cause of the misery,distress, environmental deterioration or uprooting of a people from theirsocial and moral milieu. More often than not, most planners and engineers,rooted in urban areas of India, are far removed from realities. Hence thelack of sensitivity to the distress of the displaced.The rapid economic and industrial development of the country has made“internal refugees” of the tribals in their own homeland. The weakersections are not only dispossessed of their traditional lands, they are alsoalmost always deprived of the benefits of the development process-theirrigated land, electricity and the products and profits of factories. Thedevelopment technology that independent India adopted from the Westcontinues to serve the interests of the rich who want luxury goods, whereasthe poor and their means of sustenance are looked upon only as cheap laborand raw material for industrial production, for the rich to enjoy all thebenefits. The worst affected are the tribal people of this country. 313
  • 314. What we need today is a people’s solution: it becomes imperative toincorporate development schemes into the tribal ethos. The traditionalsocial structures of indigenous society need to be strengthened; traditionalleadership needs to be respected; lands and forests earlier belonging totribal communities, should be restored and placed under the management oftribal communities. And people encouraged to come up with plans for theirown development.1993 - A landmark for human rights struggle: In 1982, the Human RightsCommission had constituted a working group on the Universal Declarationon the Rights of Indigenous People, which, in October 1992 had stated:“Indigenous people have collective and individual right to own, control anduse the lands and the territories they have traditionally occupied orotherwise used. This includes the right to full recognition of their own lawsand customs, land tenure systems and institutions for the management ofresources, and the right to effective measures by states to prevent anyinterference with or encroachment of these rights.”- quoted from Worldwatch, Dec. 1992, Washington D.C., USA.A .T. Durning in “Guardians of the Land, Indigenous People and the Healthof the Earth” stated: “it is important to note that virtually all the nuclearweapon tests ever conducted.... have been on the ancestral lands of theindigenous people” (Durning 1992). Tribals and tribal cultures have beendisappearing at unprecedented rates in the Twentieth Century. Brazil, forexample, has lost over 85 tribes. One-third of North American and two-thirds of Australian tribal languages have disappeared. It is estimated thatthere are about 6000 cultures in the world and many, many distinctlanguages. About 4000 to 5000 are tribal languages. Out of these, 3000 will 314
  • 315. soon disappear because they are not passed on to sufficient number ofchildren.Talking about our tribals: even after so many years of independence, theyare “overwhelmingly illiterate, abjectly poor and depressinglymalnourished and unhealthy” (1987, “The Myth of the Healthy Tribal”,Social Change). “The tribals are, in a way, born in debt, live in debt andtheir children are born in debt...”An average tribal lives in nearly sub-human and unhygienic physicalconditions. He lives in a small mud-house room; alongwith his cattle anddomestic pets, and cooks in the corner of the room which has noventilation. He bathes in a dirty pond, and drinks water from a well infestedwith shrubs and dirt... he is addicted to drinking “Haria”, a liquor made inhis home from rice. The children are not immunized. Tribals are very lowon the health, nutrition and education indices....The powerful minority elite is playing the “development game” against thepowerless majority of the poor of which the tribals constitute the largestethnic group. Many of our development projects, despite huge investmentsand displacement of large numbers of people... have dismally failed toachieve their targets... The poor tribals have lost their land, and the nationhas gained nothing.... 315
  • 316. CHAPTER 21B WE, THE INDUSTRIAL REFUGEES AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE CONSTANTLY SUFFERING“The tide of human suffering grows even greater especially in the case ofrefugees. Theirs is a special kind of suffering. Not only are they forced tosuffer famine, persecution, war and natural disaster, but also the horrificplight of being forced to keep on the move. They have nowhere which theycan call home and often no one is prepared to listen to their cry for help.”- Anonymous“All works of love are works of peace. We do not need bombs and guns tobring peace, we need love and compassion. But we also need that deepunion with God, prayer.”- AnonymousSerious situations of unrest are developing in many of the areas selected forthe location of super-thermal power projects, chemical and industrialundertakings and large dams. All these projects result in the displacementor uprooting of thousands of families who live in the forest-areas chosenfor the location of such projects. Thousands who are uprooted not only losetheir ancestral lands, but also their very means of livelihood and theidentity that they had in their traditional geographical locations. Their tribalculture and personality are virtually extinguished, and they are thrown intoa society with an eco and legal system with which they are unfamiliar. 316
  • 317. They do not receive adequate compensation or secured homestead sites oremployment. The same displaced families face successive waves ofdisplacement when land is allotted for new ventures in the same region.They are thus turned into permanent refugees in the name of development.Financial compensation should be backed with the provision of skills andresources so that the compensation can be converted into a base for theacquisition of a new means of livelihood. Every scheme that involvesdisplacement of large numbers of people must provide full and effectivefinancial and supportive compensation through the allotment of land,homestead sites, programs of training in new skills, and employment in thenew industries with full access to the legal rights of permanent employees,and opportunities for mobility to ancillaries that can develop around them.Ethnic conflict and indigenous peoples: there has been a rise in the numberof ethnic conflicts. The situation of indigenous peoples all over the world isprecarious, especially in circumstances where their habitat is threatened byregional economic development programs. Many NGOs are working forthe protection of the rights of indigenous people. “Survival International”(note the name of the organization) is an example of such a group.The rights of indigenous peoples: what is the plight of the indigenous tribalpeople in the forests and hills? Their rights and livelihood in the face ofseriously encroaching large development projects? The issue is one, whichhas come to the fore of international attention on the part of aid agenciesand environmentally sensitive NGOs. Most issues involve conflictinginterests between tribal people and broader national developmentobjectives, including those of special commercial interests. Too often, therights of local people have been ignored. They need to be part of thedecision for programs affecting them. And their right to sustained 317
  • 318. livelihood should be protected. At the same time, there are often broaderinterests in development and environment protection, which also must beconsidered. It is a question of appropriate due process and balance.“The forest is our home, our laboratory, our hospital, our university. It isthe source of the knowledge we need to survive.”Jose Gonzalvez, Coordinator, Federation of Indigenous People of the Stateof Bolivar, Venezuela.Much of South American country is swathed in tropical rainforests e.g. theAmazon rainforests. The Imataca forest reserve of Venezuela is home tofive Indian tribes and a huge variety of wildlife. For over 30 years, inrecognition of its fragility and environmental importance, Imataca has beena protected reserve.But once upon a time, Imataca was under threat (including the indigenouspeople who live there) from the very government that had been chargedwith protecting it for future generations.The forest, and all the life that depended upon it, was about to be sacrificedfor the potential wealth that lay below the ground-enormous reserves ofgold and diamonds.That is when Earth Action, a global network for the environment, peaceand social justice intervened to create a vast global action on Imataca. I donot know the results of such intervention, yet we can safely assert thatglobal action is very often futile, when natural factors intervene. 318
  • 319. CHAPTER 22ALet us gift mattresses and blankets, for orphans in Bangladesh (following“natural” emergencies), provide eye care for kids in India, especiallyduring emergencies (e.g. floods, cyclones, earthquakes etc).P. Sainath in “Everybody Loves a Good Drought”, showed how droughtsserve vested interests. The floods in Malda and Midnapore districts of WestBengal, India, take a heavy toll every year, and yet, a callousadministration chooses to look the other way. Scores are now refugees intheir own land.Districts remain inundated for months, communication gets totally cut offas roads and highways get submerged. Corpses have to be cleared away.Towns go without electricity, clean drinking water and cooking gas.Thousands of people are affected and many perish due to enteric diseasescaused by stagnant water....The loss in terms of agriculture is great.... Normal medical services atgovernment hospitals collapse and doctors and health officials remainscarce. Hospitals become trash dumps, and quacks fleece the vulnerablepoor population....Proper preventive measures should be taken. Breaches in riverembankments could weaken by mud from their walls; therefore, upkeep ofembankments is necessary. Spurs should be erected and dredging or riverreclamation carried out. Flood management becomes essential. Solid andpermanent work should be done on various sections of the river bank.Relief work is very important. 319
  • 320. At the release of the “Human Development Report 2000” by the UNDP,Dr. Brenda Gael Mc Sweeney, UNDP’s Resident Representative in India(during the Social Summit of the Confederation of Indian Industry, CII,Jamshedpur, India, Dec 2000, I had the opportunity to speak to herinformally) had said that a decent standard of living, adequate nutrition,health care, education, proper work and protection against calamities werenot just development goals, they were human rights as well....High time we all listened to her.‘.... Recounting the horrors, day by day.... of the Gujarat (India) quake.....and after....’ (Source: “The Telegraph”, Jan/Feb 2001)26 Jan. 2001: the quake first strikes....28 Jan : “the death toll in what is seen as the worst-ever quake to hit thecountry since independence has been put at ‘around 10,000’.... the numberof seriously injured persons has been placed at 15,380.... Officials said thatthe devastation, which was centered near Bhuj, could be much more thanthe current estimates as thousands of bodies were still buried under thedebris.... especially in the Kutch region which has borne the brunt of thecatastrophe....”29 Jan.: ‘.... the toll could be 20,000. but the task of estimating the numberof dead paled into insignificance as strong after-shocks sent fresh waves ofpanic crashing into tens of thousands of hungry and thirsty people....Villagers injured in the quake were trekking or piling on to whatevervehicles they could find to get to cities in search of medical help. Somedied on the way.... hospitals were overflowing with the dead and the barelyliving....’ 320
  • 321. 30 Jan.: ‘.... Mother Nature has played a cruel joke on us but we havepeople from our region looting us in an inhuman way.’31 Jan.: ‘.... that three-hour-long journey will haunt me forever... Anjarseemed to have been wiped out, flattened by a demonic blow: we made ourway through the devastation, with the air filled with screams of despair....At night, we reached Gandhidham.... We spent the night on the streets,wounded and weary, without food or warm clothes. But we were all alive,and that’s all that mattered....’2 Feb.: Urban Development Minister Jagmohan is trying to bring in a lawmaking it mandatory for all urban constructions to be planned and certifiedby structural engineers. The engineers would have to ensure that houseshave been built according to earthquake safety norms.3 Feb.: out of work and hungry, but not eligible for aid: the forgottenvictims: ‘but they don’t give up hope, this band of urban poor, diggingdeeper into the debris, often fighting with each other over the ownership ofeven the humblest of the catch.... These are the earthquake’s unofficialvictims, those whose houses have been spared, but not their source oflivelihood.... Unlike the upscale multistorey apartments that came crashingdown, the earthquake did not raze any shanty. With construction workgrinding to a halt in the past one week, most of Ahmedabad’s slum-dwellers and migrant labourers are finding it hard to eke out even a measlydaily existence. Kishore Walji cannot sleep these days, because of hunger.He is too old to fight for the ‘treasure’ worth Rs. 3 per kg at the scrapdealer’s a few hundred yards away....’ 321
  • 322. 4 Feb.: The Centre decides to set up a permanent national disastermanagement committee comprising experts to manage natural calamities aswell as a national committee of political parties....5 Feb.: ‘amidst decomposed bodies, rubbles and overpowering stench ofrotting flesh, politicking and bureaucratic wrangles throw relief operations(even in Bhuj and fringe areas) out of fear.... post-quake fear psychosisgrips Ahmedabad with several people developing tremor phobia. They fearthat the Earth will split wide open any moment and the killer quake willstrike them once again.... Many have witnessed the deaths of their parents,sibling, relatives, friends and neighbours....This is a moment of grief and mourning for the whole nation. Thisdevastating quake has left behind a trail of death and destruction. The worstsufferers are children, seriously injured, lost and even perhaps orphaned.These are our children and they need help....’Halt for a moment!It came out recently in the newspapers that somewhere in India, children atan orphanage were being exploited. Shocking! How can the world progressif children continue to be exploited?– Drought in Orissa (news item dated 6 Feb 2001): ‘more than 3,200 villages in the three districts of Bolangir, Bargarh and Nuapara (Orissa) have been declared drought - hit by the government last month. While Bolangir has 1,772 villages affected by drought, Bargarh has 1,052 drought - hit villages. The spectre of a famine also looms large there owing to crop failure.... The villagers in Bargarh have demanded more tubewells to meet the drinking water crisis....’ 322
  • 323. – Scientists say the rising number of deaths from earthquakes around the world in recent years is the direct consequence of the “population explosion”. More and more people are moving into quake zones that are often near coasts. The next 25 years might see a few “megacities” hit hard, with 3 million lives lost, they warn. Experts say that as more people inhabit cities near coasts and quake belts, they become increasingly vulnerable to both earthquakes and hurricanes.- Courtesy: The Telegraph, The Times of India.– Quake in El Salvador: 15, 16 and 17 Jan., 2001: 15 Jan. - more than 234 people were confirmed dead and hundreds were missing in El Salvador and Guatemala on the 14 Jan., 2001, the day after an earthquake rocked Central America and Southern Mexico. The Red Cross said that 200 people were injured and 1,200 were missing in El Salvador alone. There were other scattered deaths throughout the country. A bus was buried in a landslide and about a dozen (passengers) was killed.... The US Geological Survey said that the quake’s epicenter was about 105 km southeast of San Salvador, off the Pacific Coast. The quake occurred on the 13 Jan. 2001, and was felt across El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras and as far as Mexico City. A national emergency was declared. Just days before, Candido Antonio Salinas (60), and his neighbors had lost a lawsuit to halt deforestation caused by construction activity on the hill above the quake area. Look at the consequences.... (Source: “The Telegraph”, early 2001)The rising tide of disastersAccording to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red CrescentSocieties, the main causes of deaths from natural disasters during 1967-91 323
  • 324. were droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and floods. A “disaster” may bedefined as an event that has killed at least 10 people, or affected at least100.Population growth is forcing people to live in more marginal and dangerousplaces-like low-lying flood-prone land or regions within close proximity ofactive volcanoes, or quake-prone regions. Population growth, deforestationand over-grazing have increased the number of droughts and floods.It is the poor who finally suffer. It is they who occupy steep hillsides,fragile delta islands and poorly-built slum buildings.There are many variations internationally. Droughts or floods in Africa domuch more damage than those in North America do. The obvious reason isthat poor nations are less equipped to cope with natural emergencies.The figures for economic damage have been rising. Although mostdeveloping countries have plans of coping with natural disasters (forinstance, Bangladesh has an elaborate warning system for cyclones arrivingin the Bay of Bengal), responses are slow and inadequate, and thoseparticularly vulnerable die before any help can arrive.We must realize that disasters are often a combination of nature and man-made factors. Look at what happened in El Salvador in Jan. 2001. Somesay it was caused by deforestation in turn caused by construction activity,which led to a serious quake killing over 600 people and injuring manyothers.Disasters in developing countries are an integral part of their poverty cycle.Poverty causes disasters. And disasters exacerbate poverty. Only“sustainable human development”- which increases the security of human 324
  • 325. beings and of the planet we inhabit - can reduce the frequency and impactof natural disasters.- [Source: Human Development Report, 1994, UNDP].Nothing in nature should be left to chance. From the frightening sight of anerupting volcano... to the giant Tsunami, nature’s erratic behavior startle usall… 325
  • 326. CHAPTER 22B WHEN NATURE HAS THE LAST SAY“Man cannot defeat nature,The Earth sometimes betrays our trust,No matter what we do,Nature has the last say.”1) It has been reported that due to global warming, Himalayan glaciers have melted into natural lakes, threatening the habitat of indigenous peoples. Entire communities are at risk from natural forces. We shall mention a few. Relief work becomes difficult under the circumstances.2) On one fateful morning in 1997, the slope of the French Alps collapsed. One member in a team of five expeditioners was killed.3) In Switzerland and Austria, houses and villages in the heart of the mountains fall victim to snowslides and avalanches. House after house gets buried, homes destroyed and loved ones gone. To scientifically combat avalanches, the Swiss have designed defenses. I understand that there is an institute for such research.4) In 1999, the state of Orissa in India was hit by a devastating cyclone. Thousands of poor families (who would ordinarily have survived if at all in deprivation and degradation) were killed! 326
  • 327. 5) A landslide can be terrifying. They strike when soil is loosened by rain, often in rock form. In California, there are hundreds of them every year. Coastal highways are particularly vulnerable. In November 1997, there was a big landslide in which hundreds of people were killed.6) Torrential rainfall creates mudslides. In one particular year, in California, people were rendered homeless and 120 died.7) In July 1997, in Australia, hills were eroded by ground water.8) In Latur in the state of Maharashtra in India, there was a massive earthquake in one particular year. And if I remember correct, it was 1993.9) In another year, an earthquake ravaged the state of Himachal Pradesh in India.10) Earthquakes constantly ravage Japan.11) Bangladesh is constantly ravaged by floods.There is a lot of unrest in the earth’s crust.Similarly, there is a lot of unrest in man’s mind. Terrorism, espionage,sabotages (including hijackings) and youth unrest exemplifies this. 327
  • 328. CHAPTER 23AWe have lost our ability to think for ourselves - there cannot be a greaterdisaster.Teach the young peoplehow to think,not what to think.- Sidney Sugarman 328
  • 329. CHAPTER 23B A LOT OF UNREST IN MAN’S MIND“When you want peace to pervade your life,Say, God is here.Castes and creeds mean nothing,It does not matter that they are not of my faith.”- Anonymous“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love andcompassion. Let us radiate the peace of God and so light his light andextinguish all hatred and love of power in the world and in the hearts of allmen.”- AnonymousWith regard to the recent attack on America (on the World Trade Center,the Pentagon and others, 11 September 2001) my deepest condolences arewith the American people. Let us pray for the attacks’ victims. Om shanti!Peace, peace and only peace! But is warring the answer?Youth unrest and agitations:The stereotyped image of the youth is that they are militant, rebellious,revolutionary, irrational and immature. True, the youth tend to becomeangry when they notice the widening chasm between what the leaderspreach and what they practice. Disappointed and disillusioned by this, thefrustrated youth start some agitation to lodge a social protest. Some 329
  • 330. politicians start taking an interest in these agitations, and in some cases,they use the help of anti-social elements to keep these agitations alive.When these anti-social elements indulge in loot and arson, it is the youththat come to be blamed for these destructive activities. The frustratedyouth, thus, become more frustrated and the unrest among them furtherincreases.Agitations are to bring grievance and injustice to the notice of people inpower. It is to shake up, to move, to stir-up, to cause anxiety and to disturbthe power-holders. The various forms of youth agitation aredemonstrations, slogan shouting, strikes, hunger strikes, roadblocks andboycott of examinations.The militants’ agitation for an independent Kashmir in Jammu andKashmir state of India and the tribals’ demand for a Jharkhand state inBihar in India have also to be explained in terms of the frustration of theyouth in the concerned states. The Jharkhand party has just come to power(Nov 2000), and a separate Jharkhand state has been formed in India.Terrorism:Terrorism, which is an organized system of intimidation, is more seriousand more intense. Today, terrorism is perceived as a problem capable ofdestabilizing not only national but also international politics. Terrorism inrecent times has affected both the developed and the developing countries.What has made terrorism a significant instrument for achieving desiredgoals and ends are factors like conviction in the purity of the “cause “,fanatical loyalty, desire for self-sacrifice, a sense of absolutism andfinancial and material support from abroad. 330
  • 331. The terms terrorism, insurgency, civil war, revolution, guerrilla war,intimidation and extremism are most often interchanged and used veryloosely. What is common to all is “violence”…Terrorism appears in many forms: from planting a crude, home-madebomb, hand grenade or other explosive in a shopping center, a railwaystation, a bus-stand and a bus, to kidnapping and hijacking of planes, toassassination of important personalities. The main aim of terrorists is towreak vengeance on those individuals or on those systems that they regardas obstacles or enemies or oppressors to their “fanatical” viewpoints.The goals of terrorists may vary from movement to movement but the mainobjectives are the same in all such movements. The overall objectives ofterrorism are1) to gain popular support (usually, from some strata of the society). Now, this is important in combating terrorism. The best thing to do is to hold talks with the terrorists, counsel them because they crave for attention. Most of them come from deprived backgrounds. There are exceptions though. Talk to them, discover their weaknesses. Because the terrorists will always have a faith (a firm conviction). We must try to balance their demands with the general interests. this method may work,2) to disrupt and destroy the military and psychological strength of the regime, and3) to break internal stability.The main reasons for terrorism lie in the very nature of modern civilizationitself and are inherent in the modern industrial system. 331
  • 332. Support base:The success of terrorism depends to a large extent upon its support base,which includes not only the political and social support but also support bymoney, weapons and training. Terrorists obtain money from differentsources like “donations and taxes” from people, through bank robberies, bysmuggling and selling drugs and collecting ransom for hostages andhijacked planes. Weapons are often looted from people or snatched frompolice stations or purchased from abroad.International terrorism:Terrorist activities have been found in different parts of the world. Forexample, terroristic activities of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) soughttermination of English control in Ireland and establishment of Ireland’sunification and peoples’ right to national self- determination (In 1994, thegovernments of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Englandbegan negotiations to resolve the conflict). Similarly, we have foundterrorism in Sri Lanka, Israel, Spain, Germany, Japan, the Philippines,Canada, Argentina, France, Italy, Portugal and Latin America. Some of theimportant terrorist groups are the LTTE in Sri Lanka, the Red Army inJapan, Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda, the Baque in Spain, the Red Bridgein Italy, the Kurds in Iraq, the Black Septemberists in Jordan, the Moros inthe Philippines, the Baadermeinhof in Germany, the Quebecois in Canada.Of late, international terrorism has gained currency. The support toterrorists of one country can come from individuals and groups sympatheticto their cause, or it can come from other state governments.Combating terrorism: 332
  • 333. Terrorism is too serious a problem to be left to politicians alone. Generalawareness among the masses and pressures on people are the only way out.The one thing we have to understand is that terrorism is like a commoncold. It runs its own course and there is need for patience. As I have alreadysaid, holding face-to-face talks with them may result in their moralimprovement.Their bases may be eliminated. The U.S. has global economic interests andis vulnerable to terrorism. The most potent weapon of America to fightterrorism has been its economic clout like cutting off trade and technologyexport. This method was adopted for Cuba in 1962 and for Libya in 1986,when its leader Col. Gaddafi supported terrorist movements like those ofthe IRA of Northern Ireland, or the terrorist gangs in Latin America.America adopted the same method when it invaded Cambodia for givingshelter to Vietnam during the Vietnam War…Very often, the terrorist menace cannot be eliminated either throughelimination of bases or invasion. Besides the police and the militarymeasures, the socio-political issues have to be tackled. Also, cutting offfinancing to terrorists may help.Nevertheless, mechanisms have to be created to prevent acts of terror.Terrorism and political violence have become the bane of modern societytoday. It is time that the prevalent frustration and a sense of deprivationamongst the people, particularly the youth, be checked. On the one hand,the government has to deal with terrorists with a very firm hand and on theother, the minorities have to be protected and the right atmosphere createdfor the functioning of a genuine democracy.(Source: a book on social problems by an Indian author) 333
  • 334. Another related aspect we need to throw light on is crime. Let us examinecrime as a separate issue. 334
  • 335. CHAPTER 24AJails and prisonsAre the complement of schools;So many less as youHave of the latter,So many more youMust have of the former. -Horace MannAll the men and women I have faced at that final moment convince me thatin what I have done I have not prevented a single murder.- executioner Albert Pierrepoint, criticizing capital crimeThe gallows is not only a machine of death but a symbol.... of terror,cruelty.... the common denominator of primitive savagery...- Arthur koestler, Hungarian-born authorAll forms of crime, ordinary violence and brutality against women areencouraged on screen and replicated in real life. India is perhaps the onlycountry where life imitates debased art. (“The Degeneration of India”)- Mr. T.N. Seshan, former Chief Election-Commissioner of IndiaConditions were often harsh for Mandela and the hundreds of otherpolitical prisoners locked up on the island of Robben (which can be seen 335
  • 336. from the table mountain in Cape Town, South Africa)... At the end of theworking day, he (Mandela) had to undergo searching of the body (I am notsure as to what extent this is correct)... They were made to.... sit on theground and repair old canvas mailbags.- from Nelson Mandela by Benjamin PogrundLet us perform health check-ups for prison inmates (for cancer, HIV,leprosy etc.), counsel convicts, take vocational training classes.... andmore.... This should be an alternative to a prison.... 336
  • 337. CHAPTER 24B FORGIVE US OUR SIN“Do not talk of the wickedness of the world and all its sins. Weep that youare bound to see wickedness yet. Weep that you are bound to see sineverywhere; and if you are bound to help the world, do not condemn it. Donot weaken it more. For what is sin, and what is misery, and what are allthese but the results of weakness? The world is made weaker and weakerevery day by such teachings.”-Swami Vivekananda“Ye are the children of god, the sharers of immortal bliss, holy and perfectbeings. Ye divinities on Earth-sinners? It is a sin to call a man so., it is astanding libel on human nature.”-Swami VivekanandaI remember having watched a film “The Accused” in which the leadingactress played by Jodie Foster was sexually assaulted in a bar whilebystanders cheered. Similarly, there was quite some amount of sexualviolence in the film “Bandit queen”. Was there a need to show sexualviolence against women? Why does cinema show violence, smuggling,drugs, extortion or sexual violence? Cinema is entertainment. How cansexual violation (rape) or drugs be entertainment? Granted, no animal isharmed or no tree is felled in the making of a film. But the effect isimportant. They do show animals being harmed and trees being felled.What I am trying to say is that watching crime encourages crime. And thatthe effect of one’s environment on crime is very important because if 337
  • 338. cinema can encourage crime, so can one’s environment. Glorification ofviolence and crimes in films and TV definitely accounts for our high crimerate and lawlessness.In India, in one hour about 175 cognizable crimes under the IPC (IndianPenal Code) and 435 crimes under local and special laws are committed.The rising waves of crime might cause alarm among the public but ourpolice and politicians remain unruffled about the deteriorating law andorder situation.Sociologists and criminologists have been broadly concerned with locatingthe causes of crime and analyzing the effectiveness of the criminal justicesystem.It is maintained that a balanced policy of liberalization and strictnessregarding the inmates in prisons should be adopted for punishing / treatingthe offenders through imprisonment. Knowing that there is no connectionbetween the severity of prison conditions and incidence of crime, toprevent future crime, why should we not try to devise programs, whichmay induce prisoners to turn over a new leaf? Let us pursue more humanetreatment of prisoners, what we need today is an alternative to a prison.Teaching yoga and meditation to the prisoners would be helpful.Why does man commit crime? The desire to commit crime may be aninherited trait. Man may commit crime for pleasure. He may commit crimewhen he faces stigma in society. Man may commit crime when he feelsbiologically inferior. A defective personality may commit crime.Associations with and social influences of criminalistic norms may result incrime. Economic conditions like poverty and richness are important factors.Crime may be the consequence of application by others of rules and 338
  • 339. sanctions to an “offender”. Geographical factors like climate, temperature,and humidity etc influence the crime rate. A very important factor isrejection of dominant values and development of delinquent values. Acriminal may also develop out of a man who has an unfavorable self-concept.The idea is to point out the weakening of motives for conformity to socialnorms and the disruption of social relationships and social bonds. Theunrest is increasing almost in all sections of every society. This unrestincreases frustrations and strains, which lead to the violation of legal andsocial norms. It is, thus, the organization and the functioning of the existingsub-systems and structures in our society that are more responsible for theincrease in crime. (Source: a book on social problems by an Indian author)It is conceivable that with adequate and valid methods, much of the crimerate may change. Change can lead to human happiness. A policy of charityin every aspect of our lives can bring about some change. Let us take afresh look. 339
  • 340. CHAPTER 25AGet all you can,without hurting your soul,your body, or your neighbor.Save all you can,cutting off every needless expense.Give all you can.- John WesleyLet us learn from the group “Doctors without Borders” (under MortenRostrup) who provided free medical care to war survivors in Bosnia andKosovo... Their humanitarian work brought them the Nobel Prize.Some novel ideas in fundraising - projects on St. Valentine’s day raisingfunds for community children, hot-air balloon festivals for communitycharities, donating a cricket bat signed by celebrity cricketers, the bat getsauctioned and proceeds go to victims of war or disease, auction of works ofart, increasing awareness of local hunger, holding meals (e.g. luncheons,dinners) for community people - proceeds going to charity, airlinesponsorship.- Courtesy “The Rotarian”, Dec.,’99. 340
  • 341. CHAPTER 25B LET US GO FUND-RAISING FOR A BETTER WORLD“We are here today because in the possibility of realizing... a better world,we are returning to the basic building blocks of our society – the energywhich wells up from the grass roots. We are realizing that in civil society –people and their deep capacity to associate and work together for thebetterment of themselves, their families and their communities – that willbe the engine to propel us into the future.” – AnonymousLet us hold innovative fund-raising events, which will offer local bands,games and rides…and more…Fundraisers should be an adventure, not a chore. Some of the most popularfund-raisers include auctions, festivals, sporting events, gala dinners,benefit concerts, lotteries and sale of various items (e.g. Art work).The UK – based “International Fundraising Group (IFRG)” was founded in1981 to establish a forum for fundraisers to meet together, exchange ideasand learn from each other. The result was the first ever internationalfundraising workshop held in the Netherlands in October 1981.TAP, a program of the Carter Center, was created by former President ofthe U.S. Jimmy Carter in October 1991 to help Atlanta’s communities gainaccess to the resources they need to solve the problems that are tearingapart families, teenage pregnancy, kid dropouts (school), juvenile 341
  • 342. delinquency, crime and violence, homelessness, drug abuse andunemployment.The “Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum (PWBLF)” is a business-funded educational charity registered in the UK and founded in 1990. Theforum’s mission is to promote good corporate citizenship and sustainabledevelopment internationally, as a natural part of its general businesspractice specifically on the emerging economies of Eastern and CentralEurope, Asia-Pacific, India, Southern Africa and Latin America.“Community Links” is an East London charity founded by local volunteersin 1977, and now, running a range of local and national projects withchildren, teenagers, parents, pensioners and disabled and elderly people.More than 320 volunteers currently work on projects in more than 40locations to tackle the problems of inner cities in the UK. It works withadults, young people, with the nation.SAGA – Southern African Grant –Makers’ Association, is an association oforganizations, a charity involved in funding development. It is independentand aims primarily, though not necessarily, to serve grant-makers inSouthern Africa.Let us learn from charity – raising and promote charity music, charityfashion, charity auctions etc. indigenous (largely, tribal) talent in music anddance coupled with modern technology can raise funds.Let us take charity – fashion for e.g. Take for instance, a small tribal villagein India. If a group of Dutch visitors to that village promoted a fashionshow or a dance in Holland (or in India) of the tribals in tribal costume, and 342
  • 343. the funds generated were poured into development of the tribal community,then the tribals would benefit.Let the leading musicians of the world come together, or the leadingsingers of the world come together and promote charity music.Let schools and colleges practice charity. By raising funds from themselvesand from local citizens, they can fulfil their objectives…Let charity auctions of celebrity clothing, celebrity gears or otherwise becarried out.Let us practice charity in every aspect of our lives. Charity will bring uscloser to those in need.It is time we examined in brief the major problems the world is facing. Weare again beginning with the year 2000. Time to take a fresh look at ourgoals. 343
  • 344. CHAPTER 26ALet us lead the battle, against hunger and malnutrition, for literacy, for thepromotion of science and technology in backward nations. Let us deployenergy practically and reap the advantages of the information age for“those in need”.1. In our country, more than half the population lives below the poverty line and there is so much social and economic backwardness, the poor are starving and innocent children are being abused, and yet, the country is spending so much on space research, and there is so much (unnecessary) expenditure on cricket, entertainment (particularly, cinema) and beauty pageants?2. I think that while talking of a country’s economy the word “social” is very important. Because all decisions have to be taken in the context of a particular society. People are important and every economic decision has to take into account the welfare of society and its people, particularly the marginalized.3. From guidelines to goals for India: In the growth of any country, there is a need for introspection as to whether all segments of society are gaining... in an effort to achieve a better quality of life.... Now, this is a very special moment for India, a new government is now in place, and all eyes are on the Indian economic and social environment.... The corporate sector seems optimistic.... Industrial output has increased... However, we are painting too “rosy” a picture, ... Orissa has experienced a cyclone.... And we find a bleak picture of agriculture.... There is a need to increase foreign direct investment and 344
  • 345. infuse foreign technology into agriculture.... Rising “debt” and an unsustainable scenario.... Pressing social needs have to be met; about 350 million people are under the poverty line.... We need a full-blown education effort especially primary education, basic literacy skills, and public health and sanitation efforts.... A “burgeoning” population, all this and more - challenges, difficulties, uncertainties and obstacles lie ahead....4. From “Hunger in a World of Plenty”, The Telegraph, India, 30 Nov. 2000: making education about poverty part of the school curriculum: World Food Day is celebrated every year on Oct. 16. It aims to heighten public awareness of the plight of the world’s hungry and malnourished and to encourage people to take action against hunger... The curriculum includes lessons for three levels: elementary, middle and high school. In the future, lessons will be translated into atleast four languages and taught to students around the globe. Topics covered would be: What is hunger and malnutrition and who are the hungry? Why are people hungry and malnourished? What can we do to help end hunger? As the World Development Report 2000 / 2001 has pointed out, the world has deep poverty amidst plenty... Of the world’s 6 billion people, 2.8 billion, almost half, live on less than two dollars a day, and 1.2 billion - a fifth, live on less than one dollar a day, with 44 percent living in South Asia.... In rich countries, fewer than one child in 100 does not reach its fifth birthday, while in the poorest countries, as many as a fifth of children do not. And while in rich countries, fewer than 5 percent of all 345
  • 346. children under five are malnourished, in poor countries, as many as 50percent are. There is obviously a need for tackling the problem on awar footing....It is the responsibility of civilization to feed hungry mouths and topull out malnourished people from a subhuman existence. As KlausVon Grebmer pointed out “The world is a global village. If somehouses in that village are hungry, it is a problem for the village as awhole.” and that is why the children of today should imbibe this ideathat fighting against poverty is not charity but a solemnresponsibility....The global market (except the segment dealing with arms) cannotgrow to its fullest potential and capacity unless hunger and absolutedeprivation are wiped out.... these factors have the potential to fomentunrest everywhere..... Destitution persists even though human conditions have improvedmore in the past century than in the rest of history - global wealth,global connections and technological capabilities have never beengreater. But the distribution of these global gains is extra-ordinarilyunequal....Inequality in income distribution, infant mortality and life expectancyare all indicators closely related to hunger and malnutrition....In Latin America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the numbersof poor people have been rising. In the countries of Europe andCentral Asia in transition to market economies, the number of peopleliving on less than one dollar a day rose more than twentyfold. 346
  • 347. There are success stories as well. In the most advanced state of India,Kerala, life expectancy is greater than in other places with many timesthe level of income. Yet in countries at the center of the HIV/AIDSepidemic, in Africa, such as Botswana and