goes crazy over slimming centres, weight loss gadgets and obesity-curing wonders ... the future of the country stays hungry and malnourished, helplessly looking at the present for help as it dies everyday... India
One-year-old Harinder, who is suffering from severe malnutrition cries in his mother's lap.
Finally, I get down to updating my blog, which has been lying stale for a few weeks now…This is a very special story to me…
A few weeks back I packed my bags again and traveled into the interiors of the country with my Chief Photographer Reinhard Krause. The intention was to look for stories that stay neglected by the media; stories that don’t get the ‘numbers’ because the audiences responsible for the latter, are too busy with their own lives to bother about such matters. These stories, however, give me the strength and confidence to pursue many more such subjects relentlessly.
For our latest excursion, Reinhard and I traveled to remote villages in the state of Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur and Shivpuri districts and Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region. The subject was the pathetic condition of children suffering from extreme malnutrition.
Our first stop was Sheopur. All four villages that we visited here had one thing in common - hungry and malnourished children in almost every household. It was shocking to see the state that these children were living in.
Our second day’s visit to Shivpuri was no less dreadful. The district’s child malnutrition levels have been compared to that of countries like
Ethiopia and by international agencies. Chad
In this district, we met Harinder --- just one year old and weighing only 3 kilos (6.6 pounds). But what was disturbing was that Harinder had cure lying at his doorstep but with no access to it. Tonnes of grains lay outside the toddler’s hut but he couldn’t eat it, as it belonged to the upper caste. Harinder’s family is from the lower caste and work as laborers on the fields owned by the upper caste.
One-year-old Harinder, who is suffering from severe malnutrition lies on the food grains 'owned' by the upper caste.
20 months old Rinku, who weighs just 4 kg and suffers from severe malnutrition, lies in his mother's lap while his another malnourished brother sleeps in the background.
Rinku is weighed by his mother as the local health worker looks.
18-month-old Urmila, who is suffering from severe malnutrition, in Bundelkhand region cries in her mother's arms.
26-month-old Ranbir, who weighs just 5 kgs and suffers from severe malnutrition, with his mother Munni in the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre of Shivpuri.
A rare smile.
A malnourished child waits for food in Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre of Shivpuri.
A mother feeds her malnourished child in the centre.
A severely malnourished child sits in his mother's lap in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The ‘caste factor’ plays a major role in the deteriorating health of these children. A health worker who was from the upper caste was not willing to attend to Harinder because the boy was from a lower caste. We went to the village where this health worker lived and took her to Hirender’s house so that she can weigh him and give him some nutritional supplement. This was the least we could do.
A malnourished child in one of the villages in Bundelkhand region.
Before landing in Madhya Pradesh, we’d thought of malnutrition as a simplistic problem with an obvious solution – sufficient food. But we soon learnt otherwise; the problem, we realized, has socio-economic dimensions too.
What seems to be suffering in the bargain is
’s future ... as it grows weaker everyday, crawling helplessly towards a slow but persistent death. India
A severely malnourished child lies on a bed in the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre.