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Somebody should feed George Bush a morsel of plain rice with red chilli powder. This should act as a substitute for his ordinary diet of beef, pork, potato chips, beacon, bread and numerous sauces. He should know that 200 million people in India still have that as their staple food and 200 million more are forced to remain hungry. He dare accuse us of eating a lot of calories while he sits in the Oval Office, away from the reality in the average Indian household.

TOI reported;

An average American consumes 1012 Kg of food in a year.

An Average Indian; merely 172 Kg in a year.

More than a third of the world’s poor live in India and 40% of our population lives below the internationally recognised poverty benchmark of 1$ a day. If we are eating a little more food on an average, then more than the growing middle class and their tastes; its to stop the starvation deaths, farmer suicides and people from going hungry everyday.

I was reading Gurcharan Das’s India unbound where he wrote that the poor seem to be at the forefront of every economic policy, election manifesto in India; but they just don’t seem to be coming up and being uplifted. Other than on paper, the poor in our country just don’t seem to matter; neither to the Indian bureaucrats or George W Bush.  We all live such shallow, superficial lives that we seem to ignore the existence of those few who should matter. And there are times when we must care.

If the above picture is the cause of inflation and the world food shortage, then its good. Because in India, below is how most of the people generally live;

So I think George Bush should retract his statement and P Chidambaram shouldn’t Tact worse and attribute it to the use of bio-fuels. There is a limit to stupidity and both of them are crossing it.

There is an apparent irony in today’s paper. On the front page you have a half page story talking about India’s investment and how Mukesh Ambani is the world’s richest man (63 billion $ is a lot). On how the sensex has risen 1000 points in 14 days and the top 5 companies have contributed to it.

A few pages afterwards we have a story about 25,000 people marching to the capital to demand land rights and stressing that they have been betrayed by corporates, rich landlords and the likes of them. I was aware that this march was being organised during my stay in the Gandhi Peace Foundation. This march is no joke and I have witnessed the people at ekta parishad planning out everything to the detail.

The above above two instances tell us the story of the Indian Nation. Those who get rich do so at the cost of thousands of others. The Planning commission has released a document stating that the issue of naxalism is directly linked to land rights of the poor. Helloo!!!!! “did you take that long to realise it?”. The Prime Minister says that he shall form a committee to look into this land issue. Now that he’s made the statement the poor will be ‘packed off’. That’s how diplomacy works in this country. Give them an assurance, a ray of hope and there shall be no issue in the future. The same was with the Gujjars too. Ah well! nobody seems to realise the gravity of the situation. I can just imagine 25000 people coming from gwalior to Delhi on foot just to hear this statement without understanding that 7 Race Course Road might hardly do anything. They have bigger things to do; remember the Nuclear deal and saving the coalition!

That is the irony of India Shining. We see it, we know it, but most of us don’t raise a voice about it.

In the last post I had displayed this cartoon from the Times of India,

xntricpundits  commented the following on it,

Brilliant cartoon.Look at the way the cartoonist sketched it.You can see convoy of cars to your top left,ropes hanging to trees to your top right.Politician wearing goggles..mota golmatol babu in sharp contrast with lean thin frames of farmers and the dog by the side of cot.Politicians PA holding a file named SEZ.
The irony in the carton hits the solar plexus.
Truly India is shining.

Some more facts and figures to add to the previous post,

$ 41.2 billion is the total money earned by the top 5 rich people, India’s budget for the health sector is only 4.2% of the GDP.. i.e. around $17 billion.

47% of the population of the city of Mumbai still lives in slums. Plans are underway to make Mumbai Shanghai. Wonder what would happen to the slum dwellers.

Only 7% of the Indian population holds a graduate degree.

In as much as more than $ 40 billion have been poured in the various poverty schemes since 1982, none of them have been successfully implemented.

PS: readers may also see my post on ‘ How the Other India Lives’  

The Times of India cartoon below aptly describes the title of my post.

Truly we are shining. Newspapers report that the ten richest people in the Country have increased their net worth by 51% in the past seven months. That amounts to roughly $ 41.2 Billion. And yes, people still die.

Capitalism seems to have taken a new course in this Country. the rich become richer and the poor don’t seem to be a priority anymore. The left seems to have become a shadow party and the Congress’s AAM AADMI seems to be the rich man who wants to make his millions.

Traffic jams still occur; the cities still have bad infrastructure. I still hate Bombay because of the traveling hassles. So the question is; Where does all the money go? Surely not only into the pockets of the top 10. 🙂

Novartis has finally lost. The High Court of Madras in a landmark ruling upheld the validity of Section 3 (d) of the Patents Amendment Act, 2005. Novartis had challenged the validity of the Section stating that it was not compliant with the TRIPS. If Novartis would have won, then subsequently its drug patent application would have been held valid.

For a lay person, this is what is important from he case;
• For the developing countries, the prices of drugs will ever remain low and no monopoly can be acquired on such drugs.
• The Courts ruling invalidated Novartis’s patent application for a certain drug that would have raised the prices considerably and been a bane to the poor people in our country.

YK Sapru of the Cancer Patients Aids Association states,

“The issue is not merely of providing affordable drugs to patients in India, but also to patients in other countries, as India is the source of generic drugs to over hundred countries. This landmark victory will help avoid many deaths from life-threatening diseases in India and other countries.”

The issue also revolved around patents for generic drugs. The Court took into account that India is at the centre of the production of such drugs and upholding Novartis’s claim would mean putting at harms way the interests of the poor in other developing and under developed countries too. In a sense what it did was to endorse the interest of the patients and not the patent. These are times when you just love the judicial system in the Country. When it protects justice and not secure a multinational interest. A landmark judgment indeed!
The text of the judgment may be downloaded here.