G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rat-meat, Beef, and Pork: Affordable Sources of Protein for Indian Poor

Where I live in Pune, there is an explosion of the population of pigs . I think there are more pigs on the roads here than either stray dogs or cows.

If you drive a two-wheeler, pigs are a bigger threat to you than a fellow scooterist.

Is there a reason behind this?

Times of India reported on October 15, 2008:

“India fares badly on global hunger index…India ranks 66 out of 88 countries on the 2008 Global Hunger Index (GHI), far behind comparable developing countries as well as smaller, less diverse and resource deprived nations…”

As bad as hunger is the problem of malnutrition.

“…Collating data, researchers found that India performed badly in the index primarily because of high malnutrition in children and consequent underweight children below the age of 5.

Almost 60% of the children in Madhya Pradesh below the age of 5 were underweight, the authors calculated. In Bihar, they computed 56.1% to be malnourished. Punjab might be the grain bank of north India but almost one-fourth of its children below the age of 5 were found to be underweight…”

A report in Asian Age on September 10, 2008:

“" Beef (buffalo meat) is increasingly becoming popular as a protein source compared to pulses, some of which have become more expensive than buffalo meat…Beef consumption continues to rise as it remains the cheapest of all the meats available in the domestic market…"

I remembered cartoonist Abu Abraham’s spirited article in The Sunday Observer where he argued how beef and pork were the most affordable sources of proteins for many poor in India and hence banning them was wrong headed. That article was an eye-opener for me.

Times of India reported on August 19, 2008:

“The Bihar government is encouraging people to eat rats in an effort to battle soaring food prices and save grain stocks…They even plan to offer rats on restaurant menus…”

In US however, MICHAEL SHAE says:

” These are not the happiest times for beef lovers. They have to tune out doctors’ warnings about saturated fat and stories of E. coli outbreaks, not to mention worries about mad cow disease. Raising and processing cattle on an industrial scale is an environmental catastrophe (among other things, the United Nations has accused the world’s livestock industry of being responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation fleet), and if it has made cheap beef democratically available to the many, it has also made a truly tasty steak harder to come by…”

(NYT, October 19 2008)

Artist: Mischa Richter The New Yorker 19 March 1955