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Oct 20, 2014

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He who hath, shall be given

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By Dr. B. M. Hegde, India [ Published Date: October 20, 2010 ]

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -- The Dalai Lama

India has millions starving. Our food stock has been all time high. Most of that precious food is rotting in open storage places, if already not been stolen by greedy business people because the Governments have no storage space. The godowns that they had rented had been returned to their owners. One of the MNC consultants appointed by GOI recently advised that they are not economically viable anymore! India has the largest number of Nutritional Immune Deficiency Syndromes (NIDS) among children- more than 67 million in all. This is much higher than all the Sub-Saharan countries put together-their total is about 42 million. Our children die almost daily in thousands. Hardly 50 kilometers away from India’s commercial capital city of Mumbai, in a small Adivasi village of Jamsar, children die every day of starvation. The farmers in many states are committing suicides, thanks to our Governments new economic policies, formulated by some of the top "professors" from London School and Harvard. They are slowly pushing the country to the consumer society based on the "I-owe-you" economic philosophy.

How I wish they had studied the ground realities of true Indian economy of the poor?

Our present economic policies could only be termed as richonomics-economics of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. While funds are flowing like water for building SEZs, Malls, and highways and byways, they have no resources to build food storage warehouses! That is not their priority in their economic policy which works on the principle of "He who hath, shall be given."

Thanks to their policies, the rich have become richer and they are also immune to many of the societal rules that govern the poor. While the rich have become richer, the gap between the haves and the have-nots has not only widened, the purchasing capacity of the poor segment has gone down significantly. While the new Industrial tycoons get all kinds of incentives like tax rebate, free power and water etc, the poor farmer has to pay through his nose for his daily needs with the ever decreasing market value for his produce. Poverty, in addition, is a double edged weapon. While poverty is the womb of all diseases, the poor are also robbed of their daily wage earning that keeps their pot boiling when they fall ill. The end result is that the poor pay for their poverty with their own lives.

This is so in every other sector of the richonomics. When one falls ill one has to seek the mercy of our corporate hospitals which also run on richonomics. The failed American so called "Health Insurance," which many of our powers that be think is a great solution to the problem, will only add to the woes of the hapless patients who are not in the rich bracket. When once the hospital realizes that the bakra (the patient) has insurance they use all their gadgets on the patient to get the best possible diagnosis, the latter in itself has become a disease now. The high end, mostly useless, treatments are used to palliate the problems. Scientifically, the disease era has come to an end, almost. Mary Tinnetti and her colleague, Stead, in their recent paper in the American Journal of Medicine, have shown how dangerous is the disease (diagnosis) concept: "The time has come to abandon disease as the focus of medical care. The changed spectrum of health, the complex interplay of biological and non-biological factors, the ageing population, and the inter-individual variability in health priorities render medical care that is centered on the diagnosis and treatment of individual diseases at best out of date and at worst harmful. A primary focus on disease may inadvertently lead to under-treatment, overtreatment, or mistreatment." I get to see the ravages of this system almost daily.

Be that as it may, let us confine ourselves to this insurance monster. I was once an arbitrator between a philanthrope who had insured his whole village at very hefty premium and the company. Most of the claims in the following year were rejected by the company. It was my thankless job to try and find out if the rejections were legal as well as ethical. One case will illustrate the point I am making although one sparrow does not announce the arrival of summer. A poor farmer had a small nick in his skin of the foot from the plough. When he went to the hospital, they realised that he was insured. He was promptly admitted there and all the tests that they could do were carried out on him ranging from urine analysis to ECG, echo etc. Then they took him to the theatre for skin grafting. The Insurance company branch manager, who happened to be a trained Vet in his previous avatar, rejected the whole claim saying that a skin graft is never done for a fresh small wound! Rightly so. The bill was quite big.

If the farmer had kept quiet the wound, in most cases, would have healed in a week with some conventional old granny’s methods. Maximum, he might have needed a tetanus shot. Even that is of dubious value according to the present science. This is only the tip of the ice berg as the hospital in question was rural and they did not have any other facility. In a larger corporate hospital, the patient would have ended up with a bypass surgery, as most normal (even young) people have coronary artery blocks which keep them healthy. A rare person who does not have a block is given some method to create a block to keep him alive-preconditioning the heart muscle! This is the reason why most American HMOs have gone broke! We have to repeat that here for the sake of our richonomics.

We have the best Laissez Faire global economy here, thanks to our professors. Adam Smith, the Patron Saint of Global economy had this to say. "The vile maxim of all times is to have everything for us and nothing for others. This has been so in all kinds of governments from Royalty, to aristocracy, plutocracy, dictatorship, democracy, communism" and also the type of demonocracy that we have in India. But, he cautions us in the next sentence where he says that no country could ever be happy and prosperous where a large segment of its population does not know where its next meal is coming from. We get our advisors from Oxbridge and Harvard but not from our Indian villages. We have Nobel Laureates to advise us when we have people like Manusukhbhai Prajapathi in a Gujarat Village who has innovated a refrigerator without electricity (mitti cool), pressure cooker, non-stick thava, water filter and, many other useful house hold tools in his own home laboratory after failing to make the grade at 10th class, only from clay, coming as he does from a potters family. He is being honored from all countries abroad and his tools are sold all over but not encouraged by our richonomics experts. This village boy should get his FRS, Nobel and what have you. He is the best candidate to head our CSIR. Who cares, though? None of our big laboratories has done any refutative innovative research to date. That very much applies to medical research organizations. They could effectively block good research and thinking using their powerful tool of peer review and linear thinking. Prajapathi has taken knowledge forwards in science and even in technology. Karl Popper would have been too happy to know Prajapathi as he was sure that "knowledge advances NOT by repeating known facts but by REFUTING false dogmas." The filth has spread to all other areas of human endeavour in our country where ethics has been given a go by and truth exists in its absence only. We better change our flag insignia as Anritha meva jayathe: na satyam!

Our time honored economic policies of yester years would suffice to take India forwards.  Competing with the west to send man to moon can wait till we are able to feed all our mouths with three square meals a day, a roof on top in place of the star-lit sky, a toilet with sanitary facilities, drinking water and education for their kids and economic empowerment of village women. Rest of the progress will follow in their wake. India will not progress with missiles and rockets. It will progress with healthy and happy Indians who are able to go to their neighbour’s house with a smile in their face instead trying to go to the moon. Healthy India will be strong India and happy India. This kind of freakonomics will only make us poorer by the day while making the rich super rich! May God save the country.

"Character and personal force are the only investments that are worth anything." -- Walt Whitman

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A.S.Mathew, USA :
Mr. Shiva Shetty: I don't remember where I read the story of Mr. Narayanan Krishnan, but when I read it again, it inspired me more.

Even if India is going to be richest country, the government can't make the slums, even 50% of the slums as model villages of healthy people with three meals every day.

If God won't put the burden in the hearts of people like Narayanan Krishnan, when they witnessed horrible hopelessness and pitiful predicament of human beings, nothing can will be changed.

If everybody will try to help one person at a time/day to feed them by simply sacrificing a little bit, miracles will take place all across India.

How many times, we look at a hungry person in the street with a compassionate heart, and try to imagine by putting ourselves in
their shoes? If we practice that habit a few times, then one day, we will be forced to get a packet of food in donating to the hungry. At first, change the mindset from selfishness to compassion and caring, then action will automatically follow.

Whenever I got a chance to feed some poor people India, or to give them medical care, indeed that was the most inspiring and delightful times of life. Until we personally experience that joy and peace of life through
serving the poor, no other way to experience that divine phenomenon.
Shiva Shetty, UAE:
Guys,

If you had not heard of Narayanan Krishnan, as I had not, it is a collective failure. This is one of the most incredible stories of personal commitment.

Narayanan Krishnan, all of 29 years old now, does what he was professionally trained to do as a chef. Feed people. Only Krishnan does not do this in the swanky confines of a 5-star hotel. Every day, he wakes up at 4 am, cooks a simple hot meal and then, along with his team, loads it in a van and travels about 200 km feeding the homeless in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Krishnan feeds, often with his hands, almost 400 destitute people every day. And for those who need it, he provides a free haircut too.

According to CNN, eight years ago, this award-winning chef with a five-star hotel chain was all set to go to Switzerland for a high-profile posting. On a visit to a Madurai temple, he came across a homeless, old man eating his own human waste. That stark sight changed Krishnan's life.

Much to the dismay of his parents, CNN says, Krishnan abandoned his career plans and decided to spend his life and his professional training in looking after those who could not care for themselves. He has provided more than 1.2 million hot meals through his nonprofit organization Akshaya Trust, and now hopes to extend this to shelter for the homeless too.

Krishnan is the only Indian in a list of 10 heroes that CNN has picked worldwide to honor. One of them will be chosen CNN Hero of the Year, selected by the public through an online poll. If many Indians get together to vote for this inspiring man, he can win by a long mile.

If Krishnan wins he will get $100,000 in addition to the $25,000 that he gets for being shortlisted for the Top 10. Akshaya Trust needs all the monetary support it can get to build on Krishnan's dream. Let's help him get there.

Vote for Krishnan on http://heroes.cnn.com/vote.aspx. The poll continues through November 18 at 6 a.m. ET.
a.naik, India :
universal healthcare like canada, france and some other countries is a good example as far serving the average citizen, we know that we have a health care by govt, now but wenlock hospitaland lady goschen, really do not set out a good example but things can be improved. the private hospitals are really fleecing the general public. so the govt has to do something about it. ration system on food has to be better and can be improved. keep the common man happy..otherwise see whats happening in france now and in greece ..the gap worlwide is increasing between the haves n nots ..may lead to a bad situation..
Shaikh Mohd. Rizwan, Turkey:
Dear reads,

The only cause to remain India's backwardness is the corrupt politics. Otherwise our nation is rich in all means. I strongly believe if properly utilized no Indian need to work outside our country and nobody will go hungry ever.

In a democratic India corruption is so rampant that its wings are spread from fodder scam to Defense. Unfortunately corrupt officials are still ruling the common people. The strict death penalty as stringent law like our neighboring country China will solve the problem to some extent.
Otherwise the ratio between poor and rich will hamper the countries growth. The poor group will remain only as a vote bank for every elections.
Mohan Shenoy, India :
Thought provoking article, well articulated as usual.
A.S.Mathew, USA :
You have opened a chapter which is not
hidden to anybody, but it is a prolonged question to be answered by every Indian.

The most expensive 12 crore cars are flying in the Indian roads. The rich are getting richer, some of the most richest people in the world living in the most expensive home, but just across the palace, people are living in mud and filth, also many are dying
daily without food or medical care.

Until the kindhearted people from all religions and walks of life dare to walk to the huts of the poor people to make their life a little bit better, there is no solution to this mammoth poverty problem.
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