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!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

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