Happy Diwali, Obama, and India’s Malnutrition Dilemma

First off, wanted to wish you all a Happy Diwali.  Was pretty stoked to hear President Obama deliver his Diwali Message.

One Journalist too, was pleased to see Obama at the ceremony:

”Thank you Mr President for being the first president to come to the Diwali ceremony,” a gadabout journalist called out to Obama. ”Yes, how about that,’’ the President shot back.

I kinda liked hearing Obama deliver mini Hinduism/Jainism/Sikhism lessons in this short message.

What i appreciated about Obama’s message was how he marked this period as not just a time of celebration but of contemplation.  “We think about those who may not be eating as heartily or celebrating as festively…”

I was thinking about that when I read David Reiff’s article last week in the NYT Magazine India’s Malnutrition Dilemma.

Despite India’s recent economic boom, and burgeoning middle class, there are still some startling statistics about hunger and malnutrition:

Today only 7 percent of Chinese children under age 5 are underweight, whereas the figure for India is 43 percent. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, which most people assume to have the direst poverty statistics, the average child-malnutrition rate is 28 percent.

The youthfulness that leaders like Ambani claim as the country’s great competitive advantage could turn out to be the greatest stumbling block to Indian development and make it an also-ran to China. The science is disturbingly clear: if you are malnourished until age 3, your neural formation suffers, and most of that underdevelopment is fixed for life.

There is a lot to contemplate indieed!


~ by sangamithra on October 17, 2009.

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