ಸಸ್ಯಾಧಾರಿತ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರವೇ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಮಾಡುವ ದಿ ಈಟ್ ಲ್ಯಾನ್ಸೆಟ್ ಆಯೋಗದ ವರದಿ ಅಥವಾ ಈ ಕುರಿತ ಇನ್ನಿತರ ಗುಂಪುಗಳ ವರದಿಗಳನ್ನು ಭಾರತವು ತಿರಸ್ಕರಿಸಬೇಕು

Image Source: Eat Lancet launch

ಸಸ್ಯಾಧಾರಿತ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರವೇ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಮಾಡುವ ದಿ ಈಟ್ ಲ್ಯಾನ್ಸೆಟ್ ಆಯೋಗದ ವರದಿ ಅಥವಾ ಈ ಕುರಿತ ಇನ್ನಿತರ ಗುಂಪುಗಳ ವರದಿಗಳನ್ನು ಭಾರತವು ತಿರಸ್ಕರಿಸಬೇಕು

ಡಾ. ಸಿಲ್ವಿಯಾ ಕರ್ಪಗಂ

“10 ಬಿಲಿಯನ್ ಜನರ ಭವಿಷ್ಯದ ಜನಸಂಖ್ಯೆಗೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಗ್ರಹದ ಸರಹದ್ದಿನೊಳಗೆಯೇ ಆರೋಗ್ಯಕರ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ನಾವು ಒದಗಿಸಬಹುದೇ?” ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯ ಜೊತೆಗೆ, ಭಾರತದ ರಾಜಧಾನಿ ದೆಹಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಭಾರತದ ಆಹಾರ ಸುರಕ್ಷತೆ ಮತ್ತು ಗುಣಮಟ್ಟ ಪ್ರಾಧಿಕಾರ (ಎಫ್‍ಎಸ್‍ಎಸ್‍ಎಐ) ದ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಕಚೇರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 04, 2019 ರಂದು ಆಹಾರ, ಗ್ರಹ ಮತ್ತು ಆರೋಗ್ಯದ ಕುರಿತ ದಿ ಈಟ್ ಲ್ಯಾನ್ಸೆಟ್ ಆಯೋಗವನ್ನು ಸ್ಥಾಪಿಸಲಾಯಿತು. ಇಎಟಿ (ಈಟ್) ವೇದಿಕೆಯ ಡಾ. ಬ್ರೆಂಟ್ ಲೋಕೆನ್ ಇದಕ್ಕೆ “ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆಯನ್ನು ಗೊತ್ತುಮಾಡಿ” ಈ ವರದಿಯ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಿದರು ಹಾಗೂ ಗ್ಲೋಬಲ್ ಅಲಯಾನ್ಸ್ ಫಾರ್‍ಇಂಪ್ರೂವ್ಡ್ ನ್ಯೂಟ್ರಿಷನ್ (ಜಿಎಐಎನ್) ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯ ಕಾರ್ಯಕಾರಿ ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕರಾದ ಡಾ. ಲಾರೆನ್ಸ್ ಹಡ್ಡಾಡ್ ತಮ್ಮ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷೀಯ ಭಾಷಣವನ್ನು ನೆರವೇರಿಸಿದರು. 37 ಸದಸ್ಯ ಬಲದ ದಿ ಈಟ್ ಲ್ಯಾನ್ಸೆಟ್ ಆಯೋಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಪಬ್ಲಿಕ್ ಹೆಲ್ತ್ ಫೌಂಡೇಶನ್ ಆಫ್ ಇಂಡಿಯಾ (ಪಿಎಚ್‍ಎಫ್‍ಐ) ದ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷ ಡಾ. ಕೆ. ಶ್ರೀನಾಥ್ ರೆಡ್ಡಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಸೆಂಟರ್ ಫಾರ್ ಸೈನ್ಸ್ ಆಂಡ್ ಎನ್‍ವಿರಾನ್ಮೆಂಟ್ (ಸಿಎಸ್‍ಇ) ನ ಡಾ. ಸುನಿತಾ ನರೈನ್ ಅವರು ಮಾತ್ರವೇ ಇದರಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗವಹಿಸಿದ ಭಾರತದ ಇಬ್ಬರು ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಗಳಾಗಿದ್ದರು……ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಓದಿ

India should reject the Eat Lancet Commission report and any other groups that push for predominantly plant-based foods

Source: Eatforum.org

Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

The Eat Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health was launched on April 4, 2019  at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) headquarters, New Delhi, India with the question “Can we feed a future population of 10 billion people a healthy diet within planetary boundaries?’. Dr. Brent Loken from the EAT forum “set the context’ and introduced the key findings of the report and Dr. Lawrence Haddad, Executive director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) delivered the keynote address. Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Dr. Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) are the two Indian representatives on the 37 member Eat Lancet Commission.

The report is filled with untruths, half-truths and unscientific jargon. It is shocking that no objections have been raised either by Dr. Srinath Reddy or Sunita Narain who have lent legitimacy as official representatives of India to a report that can only push India into further malnutrition than it is already reeling under. Some overtly problematic aspects of the report are highlighted here.

Testing of food samples inadequate, Karnataka needs to ‘rectify gaps in food safety’

Image source: News Nine

Highlights

Number of tests conducted at food labs for adulteration is worryingly low

Food safety strategies have to be applied at every stage of food supply chain

As of 2019, there were only 49 full-time, and 114 part-time FSOs

As of July 2021, Karnataka had 44,501 registered food business units, but testing for food safety is inadequate in the State. Of the 7,324 samples tested in four government labs in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Belagavi and Kalaburagi between April 2019 and December 2020, 553 were found to be adulterated while 153 of the 6,549 samples tested between February 2020 and January 2021 in two FSSAI (Food Safety Standards Authority of India) approved private laboratories had been found adulterated. In December 2020, the licenses of these four government laboratories had been canceled by the FSSAI for not having obtained NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accreditation. The Food Safety Commissionerate of Karnataka has also requested an inquiry committee to check qualifications of 55 Food safety officers as they weren’t even meeting the requirements of a minimum of 985 samples a month. As of 2019, there were only 49 full-time Food Safety Officers (FSOs), and 114 part-time ones with 210 recruitments pending.

Food safety means controlling and limiting hazardous substances in food that can be injurious to the health of the consumer and includes production, handling, storage, packing, packaging, transport and preparation of food. Karnataka has been ranked 9th on the Food safety index for 2020 -21 based on five parameters -human resources and institutional data, compliance, food testing facility, training and capacity building and consumer empowerment

Read more here

Halal vs jhatka debate: Food as a tool of discrimination

Image courtesy: News Nine

Highlights

The imposition of dietary restrictions on communities is violative of the Constitutional rights

Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (2018-19) prescribes meat as an iron-rich food

Consumption of any kind of meat is the need to address alarming stunting among children

The call by right wing outfits for boycott of ‘halal’ meat sold by Muslims in Karnataka is one among the many issues that have led to a vitiated communal environment in the state. The saffron outfits are leading the campaign against halal meat insisting that Hindus should consume only ‘jhatka’ meat. Politics of social discrimination is not new to India. But what we are witnessing now is intolerance towards citizens’ food choices which could lead to cultural, social and economic divides. If a person practising discriminatory behaviour shares one’s own identity, then one can choose to respond in one of several ways.

Ignore the discriminatory behaviour

This is all too common. A teacher may be openly bullying a student because of her religion/caste/gender/parent’s occupation/geographic region/sexual orientation/physical ability etc. and the rest of the students, maybe even other faculty and the principal go about their daily lives as though they are unaware of what is happening. This is so common that it is concerning and even the so-called civil society or human rights organisations are not above indulging in this ‘ostrich’ behaviour.

Join hands with the bully

The macabre participation of mobs in lynching, sexual harassment, and violence against (often poor) men and women from vulnerable communities is numbing and chilling. Often these active participants have no rational explanation for why they participated. Rationalise the discrimination This kind of response to discrimination is becoming all too common. If a person from one community is facing harassment, violence, abuse etc. then one often hears social media influencers, shrill media houses, politicians and even ‘respectable people’ in society saying that the victim’s behaviour or culture or often his or her very existence justified the violence they are subjected to.

Read more here

ತಾರತಮ್ಯದ ಸಾಧನವಾಗಿ ಆಹಾರ

Image Source: News Nine

| ಡಾ. ಸಿಲ್ವಿಯಾ ಕರ್ಪಗಂ

ತಾರತಮ್ಯ ಎನ್ನುವುದು ಇತ್ತೀಚೆಗೆ ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಸರ್ವೇಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಸಂಗತಿಯಾಗಿದೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕವಂತೂ “ಹಿಜಾಬ್ ಬ್ಯಾನ್”, “ಆಜಾನ್ ಬ್ಯಾನ್”, “ಮಾವಿನ ಹಣ್ಣು ಮಾರಾಟ ಬ್ಯಾನ್”, “ಲವ್ ಬ್ಯಾನ್”, ಹಾಗೂ “ಪ್ರೆಯರ್ ಬ್ಯಾನ್” ನಂತಹ ಅನೇಕ ನಿಷೇದಗಳ ಆಗರವಾಗಿ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಉನ್ನತ ಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ಈ ನಿಟ್ಟಿನಲ್ಲಿ, ತಾರತಮ್ಯ ಸ್ವಭಾವವನ್ನು ಪಸರಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ಅಥವಾ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗಳ ಗುಂಪು ತಮ್ಮ ಗುರುತನ್ನು ಬಹಿರಂಗಪಡಿಸಿದರೆ, ನಾವು ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ತಕ್ಕಂತೆ ಈ ಕೆಳಗಿನ ಯಾವುದಾದರೂ ಒಂದು ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯಿಸಬಹುದು.

  1. ತಾರತಮ್ಯ ಸ್ವಭಾವವನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುವುದು: ಇದೊಂಥರಾ ಸರ್ವೇ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿರುವ “ಆಸ್ಟ್ರಿಚ್” ಸ್ವಭಾವವಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಕಳವಳಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿದೆ. ಒಬ್ಬ ಶಿಕ್ಷಕ ಅಥವಾ ಶಿಕ್ಷಕಿ ಒಬ್ಬ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಯನ್ನು ಆತನ ಅಥವಾ ಆಕೆಯ ಧರ್ಮ/ಜಾತಿ/ಲಿಂಗ/ಪೋಷಕರ ವೃತ್ತಿ/ವಾಸಿಸುವ ಪ್ರದೇಶ/ಲೈಂಗಿಕ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಕೋನ/ದೈಹಿಕ ಸಾಮಥ್ರ್ಯ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಸ್ತಾಪಿಸಿ ಅವಮಾನಿಸಬಹುದು. ಇಂತಹ ಒಂದು ಘಟನೆ ನಡೆಯುವಾಗ ಇತರೆ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳು, ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಯಾಕೆ, ಇತರೆ ಶಿಕ್ಷಕರೂ ಸಹ ಈ ಘಟನೆ ನಡೆದೇ ಇಲ್ಲವೇನೋ ಎಂಬಂತೆ ಭಾವಿಸಿ, ಎಂದಿನಂತೆ ತಮ್ಮ ಪಾಡಿಗೆ ತಾವಿದ್ದುಬಿಡಬಹುದು.
  2. ಅವಮಾನಿಸುವವನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಕೈಜೋಡಿಸುವುದು: ಬಲಹೀನ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳ ಪುರುಷ ಹಾಗೂ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರ (ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಬಡವರ) ಮೇಲೆ ನಡೆಯುವ ಭೀಕರ ಗುಂಪು ಥಳಿತಗಳು, ಲೈಂಗಿಕ ದೌರ್ಜನ್ಯ, ನಿಂದನೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಹಿಂಸೆಯ ಪ್ರಕರಣಗಳು ಹೆಚ್ಚುತ್ತಿದ್ದು, ಕಳವಳಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿವೆ. ಈ ಘಟನೆ ಅಥವಾ ಕೃತ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಮೊಬೈಲುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಡಿಯೋ ಚಿತ್ರೀಕರಣವನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿ, ಯಾವುದೋ ಸಮುದಾಯದ ಹಬ್ಬದಾಚರಣೆಯಂತೆ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.
  3. ತಾರತಮ್ಯವನ್ನು ತರ್ಕಬದ್ಧಗೊಳಿಸುವುದು: ಒಂದು ಸಮುದಾಯದ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯೋರ್ವ ದೌರ್ಜನ್ಯ, ಹಿಂಸೆ, ನಿಂದನೆ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳನ್ನು ಎದುರಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರೆ, ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಜಾಲತಾಣ ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಗಳು, ಮಾಧ್ಯಮಗಳು, ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿಗಳು ಹಾಗೂ ಸಮಾಜದ “ಗೌರವಾನ್ವಿತ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗಳು” ಸಹ ಸಂತ್ರಸ್ಥ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯ ಸ್ವಭಾವ, ಸಂಸ್ಕøತಿ ಅಥವಾ ಆಕೆ/ಆತನ ಇರುವಿಕೆಯೇ ಎದುರಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಹಿಂಸೆಗೆ ಕಾರಣ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವುದನ್ನು ಪದೇ ಪದೇ ಕೇಳಬಹುದು. ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ, ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳ ಕಾರ್ಯಕರ್ತರು ಮಾಂಸಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳನ್ನು ಕೊಲ್ಲುವ ಮನುಷ್ಯರನ್ನು ಕೊಲ್ಲುವುದನ್ನು ಸಮರ್ಥಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದು. “ಅನ್ಯ ದೇವರುಗಳಿಗೆ” ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥನೆಯನ್ನು ಸಲ್ಲಿಸುವವರ ಮಸೀದಿ ಅಥವಾ ಚರ್ಚುಗಳನ್ನು ಒಡೆಯುವುದು ಅಥವಾ ವಿರೂಪಗೊಳಿಸುವುದು ಸ್ವೀಕಾರಾರ್ಹವಾಗುವುದನ್ನು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು.
  4. ಸಂತ್ರಸ್ಥ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯ ಪಾತ್ರವನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು: ಇದು ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಿಂಸೆ, ದೌರ್ಜನ್ಯ ಹಾಗೂ ತಾರತಮ್ಯವನ್ನು ಎಸಗುತ್ತಿರುವ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯೇ ತಾನೇ ಸಂತ್ರಸ್ಥ ಎಂದು ಬಿಂಬಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಕುತೂಹಲಕಾರಿ ಸನ್ನಿವೇಷ. ಇದನ್ನು ಉತ್ಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷೆಯ ತರ್ಕ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯಬಹುದಾದರೂ, ನಿಜದಲ್ಲಿ ಇದೊಂದು ಅತಾರ್ಕಿಕ ವಾದ. ಆದರೂ ಇದನ್ನು ನಂಬುವ, ನಿಜವೆಂದು ಪ್ರತಿಪಾದಿಸುವವರು ಗಣನೀಯ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ, ಸರ್ಕಾರಿ ಪ್ರಾಯೋಜಿತ ತಾರತಮ್ಯ ಹಾಗೂ ಆಕ್ರಮಶೀಲತೆ ದೈನಂದಿನ ಶಾಲಾ ಕಾಲೇಜುಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುವ ಹಿಜಾಬ್‍ಧಾರಿ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳು ಶಾಲೆಗೆ/ಕಾಲೇಜಿಗೆ ಹೋಗದಂತೆ ತಡೆದಾಗ, ಬಹುಸಂಖ್ಯಾತ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಗಳು ಈ ತಾರತಮ್ಯವನ್ನು ತಾರ್ಕಿಕಗೊಳಿಸಿ, ಯಾವುದೋ ನೆಪಗಳನ್ನು ಒಡ್ಡಿ, ತಾವೇ ಇದರ ಸಂತ್ರಸ್ಥರು ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಬಿಂಬಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದು.
  5. ತಾರತಮ್ಯದ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ನಿಲ್ಲುವುದು: ಈ ಆಯ್ಕೆ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ನ್ಯಾಯ, ಸಂವಿಧಾನ ಹಾಗೂ ಮಾನವ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಪರವಾಗಿ ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ಇದು ತಾರತಮ್ಯವನ್ನು ತಾರತಮ್ಯವನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮಾತ್ರ ನೋಡಿ, ಅದನ್ನು ಎದುರಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದು ಸಂತ್ರಸ್ಥರಿಂದ ಚಾರಿತ್ರ್ಯ ಪ್ರಮಾಣ ಪತ್ರವನ್ನು ಬಯಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದೇ ರೀತಿ ಅನವಶ್ಯಕ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಚರ್ಚಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಕಾಲಹರಣ ಮಾಡುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಈ ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ, ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತ ಹಲಾಲ್ ಮತ್ತು ಜಟ್ಕಾ ವಿವಾದವನ್ನು ಅವಲೋಕಿಸೋಣ. ಮುಸ್ಲಿಂ ಸಮುದಾಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲಾಲ್ ಆಚರಣೆ ಎಂದರೆ ತಾವು ಸೇವಿಸಲಿರುವ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಯ ಕುತ್ತಿಗೆಯ ರಕ್ತನಾಳವನ್ನು, ಕರೋಟಿಡ್ ಅಪಧಮನಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಶ್ವಾಸನಾಳವನ್ನು ಒಂದು ಮೊನಚಾದ ಆಯುಧದಿಂದ ಕೊಯ್ಯುವುದಾಗಿದೆ. ಜಟ್ಕಾ ವಿಧ ಎಂದರೆ, ಸೇವಿಸಲಿರುವ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಯ ಕುತ್ತಿಗೆಯನ್ನು ಒಂದೇ ಏಟಿಗೆ ತುಂಡರಿಸುವುದರ ಮೂಲಕ, ಅದನ್ನು ಕೊಲ್ಲುವುದಾಗಿದೆ. ಯುಗಾದಿ ಹಬ್ಬಕ್ಕೂ ಮುಂಚಿತವಾಗಿ, ದೇವರಿಗೆ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ನೈವೇದ್ಯವನ್ನಾಗಿ ಅರ್ಪಿಸುವ ವರ್ಷತೊಡಕಿನ ದಿನದಂದು, ಹಲವು ಬಲಪಂಥೀಯ ಹಿಂದೂ ಸಂಘಟನೆಗಳು ಹಾಗೂ ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿಗಳು ಹಲಾಲ್ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಬಹಿಷ್ಕರಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ಕರೆ ನೀಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಹಲಾಲ್ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ತಾರತಮ್ಯದ ಆಚರಣೆ, ಒಂದು ರೀತಿಯ ಆಹಾರ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಹಾಗೂ ‘ಮುಗ್ದ ಹಿಂದೂಗಳ’ ಮೇಲಿನ ಸಂಚು ಎಂಬಂತೆ ಬಿಂಬಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು.

ಪರ ವಿರೋಧಗಳನ್ನು ಆರಂಭಿಸುವ ಮೊದಲು, ನಾವು ನಿರ್ದಿಷ್ಟವಾಗಿ ಆಹಾರ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಎಂದರೇನು ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳೋಣ.

ಒಬ್ಬ ಹಿಂದೂ ಗೋಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಅಥವಾ ಒಬ್ಬ ಮುಸಲ್ಮಾನ ಹಂದಿ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ತಿನ್ನುವುದು ತನ್ನ ಧರ್ಮದ ನಂಬಿಕೆಗೆ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಎಂದು ಭಾವಿಸಿ, ಗೋಮಾಂಸ ಅಥವಾ ಹಂದಿಯನ್ನು ತಿನ್ನಲು ನಿರಾಕರಿಸಿದರೆ, ಈ ನಿರಾಕರಣೆಯು ಆಹಾರ ಹೇರಿಕೆಯಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ, ನಮ್ಮ ಸಂವಿಧಾನ ನಮ್ಮ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ, ನಂಬಿಕೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕ ಆಚರಣೆಯ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಇರುವ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸುವುದನ್ನು ನಿರಾಕರಿಸುವ ಹಕ್ಕನ್ನು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ನೀಡಿದೆ.

ಇದೇ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯು ತನ್ನ ಅಧಿಕಾರವನ್ನು ದುರ್ಬಳಕೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು, ತನ್ನ ನಂಬಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನು ಇತರರ ಮೇಲೆ ಬಲವಂತವಾಗಿ ಹೇರಿದರೆ ಅದನ್ನು ನಾವು ಆಹಾರ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯಬಹುದು. ಒಬ್ಬ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕ ನಾಯಕ ಸರ್ಕಾರವು ಬಡ ಹಾಗೂ ಅಪೌಷ್ಟಿಕಾಂಶದಿಂದ ಬಳಲುತ್ತಿರುವ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ಮೊಟ್ಟೆ ನೀಡುವುದನ್ನು ವಿರೋಧಿ, ಅದನ್ನು ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿದರೆ, ಅದನ್ನು ಆಹಾರ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯಬಹುದು. ಅಧಿಕಾರದಲ್ಲಿರುವ “ಗೋರಕ್ಷಕರ” ಗುಂಪೊಂದು ಸಾವಿರಾರು ಜನರ ಜೀವನೋಪಾಯ ಹಾಗೂ ಆಹಾರ ಕ್ರಮವನ್ನು ಒಮ್ಮೆಲೆಗೆ ಕಸಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ “ಗೋಹತ್ಯಾ ನಿಷೇಧ” ಕಾಯ್ದೆಯನ್ನು ತರುವುದೂ ಸಹ ಆಹಾರದ ಹೇರಿಕೆಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.
ಹೋಟೇಲುಗಳು, ರೆಸ್ಟೋರೆಂಟುಗಳು ಹಾಗೂ ಬೀದಿ ಬದಿ ವ್ಯಾಪರಗಳ ವಿಷಯಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುವುದಾದರೆ, ಭಾರತ ಮನಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ಮುದ ನೀಡುವ, ಜನರಿಗೆ ಉದರ-ಮಾನಸಿಕ-ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಅಗತ್ಯತೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪೂರೈಸುವ ನೂರಾರು ಬಗೆಯ ಪಾಕ ವೈವಿಧ್ಯತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ಹೆಗ್ಗಳಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ಒಂದು ಹೋಟೇಲ್ ಹೆಮ್ಮೆಯಿಂದ ತಾನು “ಸಸ್ಯಹಾರಿ” ಮಾತ್ರ ಎಂಬ ಬೋರ್ಡು ಹಾಕಿಕೊಂಡರೆ, ಅದು ತನ್ನ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳ ಪರಿಧಿಯಲ್ಲಿದೆ ಎಂತಲೇ ಅರ್ಥ. ಅದೇ ರೀತಿ, ಬೀದಿಯ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಕಡೆ ಯಾವುದೋ ಒಂದು ಹೊಟೇಲು “ಹಲಾಲ್ ಆಹಾರ” ಎಂದು ಬೋರ್ಡು ಹಾಕಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಹಕ್ಕನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ಆಹಾರ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯಲಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಗ್ರಾಹಕರಿಗೆ ತಮಗೆ ಇಷ್ಟವಾದುದನ್ನು ತಿನ್ನುವ ಹಾಗೂ ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಇಷ್ಟವಾಗದೆ ಇರುವುದನ್ನು ತಿನ್ನದಿರುವ ಆಯ್ಕೆಯನ್ನು ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಈ ಹೋಟೆಲುಗಳ ಮಾಲೀಕರು ಗ್ರಾಹಕರನ್ನು ಬಲವಂತವಾಗಿ ಎಳೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗಿ, ಅವರ ಕೈಕಾಲುಗಳನ್ನು ಕಟ್ಟಿ, ತಮ್ಮ ಹೋಟೇಲಿನ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಇವರ ಗಂಟಲುಗಳಿಗೆ ಒತ್ತಾಯಪೂರ್ವಕವಾಗಿ ತುರುಕಿದರೆ, ಅದು ನಿಸ್ಸಂಶಯವಾಗಿ ಆಹಾರದ ಹೇರಿಕೆಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ, ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಸ್ಯಹಾರಿಗೆ ಗೋಬಿ ಮಂಚೂರಿ ಎಂಬ ಹೆಸರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಚಿಕನ್ ಮಂಚೂರಿ ನೀಡಿದರೆ, ಅಥವಾ ಹಲಾಲ್ ಆಚರಿಸುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ಮುಸಲ್ಮಾನನಿಗೆ ಸುಳ್ಳು ಹೇಳಿ ಹಲಾಲ್ ಮಾಡದ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ನೀಡಿದರೆ ಅದು ಆಹಾರದ ಹೇರಿಕೆಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.

ಜನರಿಗೆ ತಮಗೆ ಇಷ್ಟವಾಗದ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸದಿರುವ ಆಯ್ಕೆ ಇರುವಂತೆ ತಮಗೆ ಇಷ್ಟವಾದ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸುವ ಹಕ್ಕೂ ಸಹ ಇದೆ. (ಕಾನೂನಿನಿಂದ ರಕ್ಷಿತವಾಗಿರುವ ಆಹಾರ ಅಥವಾ ಕಾನೂನುಬಾಹಿರ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಹೊರತುಪಡಿಸಿ). ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ, ಹಂದಿ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ತನ್ನದಿರುವ ಸಮುದಾಯವೊಂದು, ತಾವು ಹಂದಿ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸದಿರುವುದರಿಂದ, ಇಡೀ ದೇಶವೇ ಹಂದಿ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸಬಾರದು ಎಂದು ಫತ್ವಾ ಹೊರಡಿಸಿದರೆ, ಅಥವಾ ಕೋಳಿಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸದಿರುವ ಸಮುದಾಯವು ತಮಗೆ ಕೋಳಿಮಾಂಸ ಇಷ್ಟವಾಗದ ಕಾರಣ ಇಡೀ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಕೋಳಿಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ನಿಷೇಧಿಸುವುದು ಆಹಾರದ ಹೇರಿಕೆಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಬೇರೆ ಜನರು ಕಾನೂನಾತ್ಮಕ ಹಾಗೂ ಸಾಂಸ್ಕøತಿಕವಾಗಿ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸಲು ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ಹಕ್ಕನ್ನು ನಿಷೇದಿಸುವುದು ಅಧಿಕಾರದ ದುರ್ಬಳಕೆಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.

ಹಲಾಲ್ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಇಷ್ಟಪಡದಿರುವವರ ಅಗತ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಪೂರೈಸಲು ಏಕೆ ಸಾಕಷ್ಟು ಜಟ್ಕಾ ಮಾಂಸದಂಗಡಿಗಳಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯನ್ನು ಕೇಳಬೇಕಾದ ಅವಶ್ಯಕತೆ ಇದೆ. ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಂಸದೊಂದಿಗೆ, ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಗೋಮಾಂಸ ಅಥವಾ ಬೀಫ್‍ನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಗುರುತಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಅಸ್ಪøಶ್ಯ ಹಾಗೂ ಜಾತಿವಾದದ ಬಣ್ಣವನ್ನು ಬಳಿಯಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಬಹುಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ, ಗೋಮಾಂಶವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸುವ ಹಾಗೂ ಆ ಕುರಿತು ತೊಡಗಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವವರೂ ಸಹ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಅಸ್ಪøಶ್ಯ ಹಾಗೂ ಜಾತಿವಾದದಿಂದ ನೊಂದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಆಸಕ್ತಿದಾಯಕ ವಿಚಾರವೆಂದರೆ, ಗೋಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ದೊಡ್ಡ ಮಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ರಫ್ತು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಹಾಗೂ ರಫ್ತು ಮಾಡುವ ವ್ಯವಹಾರವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುವವರು ಮಾತ್ರ ಈ ಹಣೆಪಟ್ಟಿಗಳಿಂದ ಹೊರತಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

ಕಾಂಪ್ರಹೆನ್ಸಿವ್ ನ್ಯಾಷನಲ್ ನ್ಯೂಟ್ರಿಷನ್ ಸಮೀಕ್ಷೆ (2018-19) ರ ಪ್ರಕಾರ, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ 3.26% ಮಕ್ಕಳು (6-23 ವರ್ಷ) ಮಾತ್ರ ಕನಿಷ್ಟ ಸ್ವೀಕಾರಾರ್ಹ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಪಡೆದುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ, 18.3% ಕನಿಷ್ಟ ಆಹಾರ ವೈವಿಧ್ಯತೆಯನ್ನು, 31.6% ಕನಿಷ್ಟ ಊಟದ ಆವರ್ತನವನ್ನು, ಹಾಗೂ 8.7% ಮಾತ್ರ ಹಿಂದಿನ ದಿನ ಕಬ್ಬಿಣಾಂಶ ಸಮೃದ್ಧ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎಂದು ವರದಿಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಕಬ್ಬಿಣಾಂಶ ಸಮೃದ್ಧ ಆಹಾರ ಯಾವುದೇ ಆಹಾರಯೋಗ್ಯ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಯ “ಲಿವರ್, ಕಿಡ್ನಿ, ಹೃದಯ” ಅಥವಾ ದೇಹದ ಇತರೆ ಭಾಗದ ಮಾಂಸ; ಕೋಳಿ, ಬಾತುಕೋಳಿ ಅಥವಾ ಮೀನು, ಒಣಮೀನು, ಅಥವಾ ಚಿಪ್ಪುಮೀನು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳನ್ನು ಹಿಂದಿನ ದಿನ ಸೇವಿಸುವುದನ್ನು ಸಿಎನ್‍ಎನ್‍ಎಸ್ ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟವಾಗಿ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. 21.9% ಮತ್ತು 19.1% ಮಾತ್ರ ಮಕ್ಕಳು (2-4 ವರ್ಷ) ಹಿಂದಿನ 24 ಗಂಟೆಗಳ ಅವಧಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕ್ರಮವಾಗಿ ಮಾಂಸ ಅಥವಾ ಮೊಟ್ಟೆಯನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಗಮನಿಸಿದೆ. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ 32.5% ಮಕ್ಕಳು ಸ್ಟಂಟಿಂಗ್ ಅಂದರೆ ವಯಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ತಕ್ಕುದಲ್ಲದ ಎತ್ತರವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅನೇಕ ಪೌಷ್ಟಿಕಾಂಶ ಕೊರತೆಗಳು ಮಗುವಿನ ಆರೋಗ್ಯದ ಮೇಲೆ ಕ್ಷಣಿಕ ಹಾಗೂ ಧೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಹೊಟ್ಟೆಗೆ ಸಂಬಂದಿಸಿದ ಕಾಯಿಲೆಗಳು, ಉಸಿರಾಟ, ಚರ್ಮಕ್ಕೆ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಸಿದ ಕಾಯಿಲೆಗಳು, ಮಧುಮೇಹ, ಹೈಪರ್‍ಟೆನ್ಷನ್ ಹಾಗೂ ಬೆಳೆಯುತ್ತಾ ಹೋದಂತೆ ಹೃದಯಸಂಬಂಧಿ ಕಾಯಿಲೆಗಳನ್ನು ಉಂಟುಮಾಡುತ್ತವೆ.

ಈ ಪೌಷ್ಟಿಕಾಂಶ ಸೂಚಕಗಳನ್ನು ಗಮನಿಸಿ ಹೇಳುವುದಾದರೆ, ಈ ಕಾಯಿಲೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಾಣಿ ಜನ್ಯ (ಎಎಸ್‍ಎಫ್) ಆಹಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಅಂದರೆ ಹಂದಿಮಾಂಸ, ಬೀಫ್, ಮೊಟ್ಟೆ, ಕೋಳಿಮಾಂಸ, ಮೀನು, ಹಾಲು ಹಾಗೂ ಮುಂತಾದ ಡೈರಿ ಉತ್ಪನ್ನಗಳ ಸೇವನೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸುವುದರ (ಕಡಿಮೆಮಡುವುದಲ್ಲ) ಮೂಲಕ ತಡೆಗಟ್ಟಬಹುದು. (ಹೌದು, ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಲು ಹಾಗೂ ಡೈರಿ ಉತ್ಪನ್ನಗಳು ಪ್ರಾಣಿಜನ್ಯವಾದ ಕಾರಣ, ಅವುಗಳನ್ನು ಎಎಸ್‍ಎಫ್ ಎಂದು ಪರಿಗಣಿಸಬಹುದು). ಇವುಗಳನ್ನು ಮನಗಂಡರೆ, ಒಂದೇ ಒಂದು ಚೂರು ಕಾಳಜಿಯನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ಯಾವುದೇ ನಾಗರೀಕನೂ ಸಹ ಹಲಾಲೋ ಅಥವಾ ಜಟ್ಕಾವೋ, ಮಾಂಸ ಸೇವಿಸುವ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಬೆಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಗುವ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಮಾಂಸದಂಗಡಿಗಳನ್ನು ತೆರೆಯಲು ಬೇಡಿಕೆ ಇಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಹಾಗೂ ನಮ್ಮ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿನ ಪೌಷ್ಟಿಕಾಂಶ ಅಗತ್ಯತೆಗಳು ಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗುವವರೆಗೂ, ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಇತರೆ ದೇಶಗಳಿಗೆ ರಫ್ತು ಮಾಡುವುದನ್ನು ನಿಷೇದಿಸಲು ಕರೆ ನೀಡುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಜಾನುವಾರುಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ರೈತರ ಜೀವನೋಪಾಯವನ್ನು ಹಾಳುಮಾಡುವಂತಹ ಹಾಗೂ ಎಎಸ್‍ಎಫ್ ಅನ್ನು ಬಡವರಿಗೆ ದಕ್ಕದಂತೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಕಾರ್ಪೊರೇಟ್‍ಗಳ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ದ್ವನಿಯೆತ್ತುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅದೇ ರೀತಿ, ಇದು ದೇಶದ ಮೂಲೆ ಮೂಲೆಗೆ ತಲುಪಲು ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಶೇಖರಿಸುವುದರ ಹಾಗೂ ಸಾಗಿಸುವುದರ ಕುರಿತು ಆಧುನಿಕ ಅವಿಷ್ಕಾರಗಳಿಗೆ ಇಂಬು ನೀಡುವ ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಗೆ ಹೂಡಿಕೆ ಮಾಡುವಂತೆ ಕರೆನೀಡುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಮೊಟ್ಟೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಮಾಂಸದ ಕುರಿತು ತಪ್ಪು ಮಾಹಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಹರಡುವ ಅಕ್ಷಯಪಾತ್ರೆ ಯಂತಹ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗಳ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಧ್ವನಿಯೆತ್ತುತ್ತಾನೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಮಾಂಸದ ಹಾಗೂ ಮಾಂಸ ತಿನ್ನುವವರ ಕುರಿತು ಕಳಂಕವನ್ನು ಹೊರಿಸುವ ಅತಾರ್ಕಿಕತೆಯ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಮಾತನಾಡಿ, ಈ ಎಎಸ್‍ಎಫ್‍ನಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಸಮೃದ್ಧ ಪೌಷ್ಟಿಕಾಂಶದ ಕುರಿತು ಜಾಗೃತಿ (ವಾಟ್ಸಾಪ್ ಮುಖಾಂತರ) ಮೂಡಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ.

ಸಮುದಾಯದ ಹಂತದಲ್ಲಿ, ವಿವಿಧ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕ ಪಂಗಡಗಳ ಜನರು ತಮ್ಮ ನಡುವೆ ವಿವಿಧ ಜೈವಿಕ, ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಹಾಗೂ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಸಂಬಂಧಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವುಗಳು ಒಮ್ಮೊಮ್ಮೆ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಅಥವಾ ಸೈದ್ಧಾಂತಿಕ ಕಾರ್ಯಸೂಚಿಗಳ ಕಾರಣಗಳಿಂದ ಹಾಳಾಗುತ್ತವೆ. ಬಿಜೆಪಿ ಸರ್ಕಾರವು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಜಾನುವಾರುಗಳ ಸಂರಕ್ಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಹತ್ಯೆ ತಡೆಗಟ್ಟುವಿಕೆ ಕಾಯ್ದೆ, 2020 ಅನ್ನು ಬಹಳ ಅವಸರದಿಂದ ಹಾಗೂ ಪೂರ್ವಯೋಜನೆಯಿಲ್ಲದೆ ಜಾರಿಗೆ ತಂದಿತು. ಇದು ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕ ಗಡಿಗಳ ಹೊರತಾಗಿಯೂ ಸಮಾಜದ ಮೇಲೆ ಗಂಭೀರ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಹಾಗೂ ಪೌಷ್ಟಿಕಾಂಶಿಕ ಪರಿಣಾಮಗಳನ್ನು ಬೀರಿದೆ.

ಹಲಾಲ್ ಮಾಂಸವನ್ನು ಬಹಿಷ್ಕರಿಸುವ ಅತಾರ್ಕಿಕ ಹಾಗೂ ಪ್ರತಿಗಾಮಿತ್ವ ಕರೆಗಳು ಇದೇ ರೀತಿಯ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಹಾಗೂ ಪೌಷ್ಟಿಕಾಂಶಿಕ ದುಷ್ಪರಿಣಾಮಗಳನ್ನು, ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಶಕ್ತಿಹೀನ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳ ಮೇಲೆ ಬೀರುತ್ತದೆ.

ಬದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ನಿಂತು ನೋಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಜನರಿಗೆ ನಿರ್ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುವ, ಗುಂಪನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ, ಈ ಬಹಿಷ್ಕಾರಗಳನ್ನು ತಾರ್ಕಿಕಗೊಳಿಸುವ ಅಥವಾ ನೀವೆ ಇದರ ಸಂತ್ರಸ್ಥರು ಎಂದು ಬಿಂಬಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಆಯ್ಕೆ ಇದೆ. ಪರ್ಯಾಯವಾಗಿ ನೀವು ಈ ತಾರತಮ್ಯದ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ದನಿಯೆತ್ತಬಹುದು. ಗಾದೆ ಮಾತಿನಂತೆ “ಸಂವಿಧಾನ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಪರವಾಗಿದ್ದರೆ, ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ನ್ಯಾಯ ನಿಮ್ಮಿಂದ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ದೂರವಿರಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಈಗಲೂ ಇದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಆಯ್ಕೆ.


ಲೇಖಕರು ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ವೈದ್ಯರು ಮತ್ತು ಆಹಾರ ಹಕ್ಕು ಹಾಗೂ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಹಕ್ಕು ಚಳುವಳಿಯ ಭಾಗವಾಗಿರುವ ಸಂಶೋಧಕರು

(ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ನಿಂದ ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ ಅನುವಾದ: ಅಜಯ್ ಕುಮಾರ್)

Published on Ahara Namma hakku and Roundtable India-For an informed Ambedkar age

First published in English on News Nine Halal vs jhatka debate: Food as a tool of discrimination

Malnutrion is not the solution to climate control

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Emissions by livestock are not the same as greenhouse gas (GHG) emission because the former are recycled (over ten years) especially through carbon sinks unlike GHGs which remain in the atmosphere for(ever) and thus affect climate adversely.

Industrial emissions and automobile emissions (also from using digital technology) is the biggest polluter but these are often not spoken about.

As we saw with the Eat Lancet commission, they push countries like India as primarily plant based (factually wrong) and also a model (with its stunting and other numerous nutrient deficiencies) for a ‘planetary diet’. Most of the people on the commission are billionaires/vegan or vegetarian (and of course our very own Srinath Reddy and Sunita Narrain who decided for the whole country about what our diet should be!!)

Even if methane emitted by cattle contributes to GHG, which as mentioned in point one is not on the scale of automobiles and industry, cattle slaughter bans are not at all a solution because these cattle provide milk and then the unproductive cattle roam around emitting more and more methane. So if one wants to do ‘something’ about climate change, then one cannot just demand giving up meat, but must also give up milk.

A diet devoid of meat and milk/dairy is going to push the country and also individuals to several nutrient deficiencies. Even hard-core vegans do not advice pregnant women or infants to consume food sans meat sans eggs sans dairy and this is even illegal in some countries and is classified as negligence. So this is telling. Vegans, even inspite of almond milk, tend to have several nutritional supplements such as zinc, B12 etc etc and this is surely not the way forward for sound nutritional science.

Also important to remember that the proponents of plant based diets offer factory manufactured foods as alternatives. Why don’t they use the word vegetables or fruits?? That is because their plant-based recommendations have a base of soya/corn/pea extract with a host of additives and preservatives. No points for guessing who is going to be counting the dollars/pounds for this.

Almond or cashew milk production has risen exponentially since the vegan fad, and local crops are being replaced by these plants in many countries. Women in poor countries (including India) are paid peanuts (not almonds) to shell these. Cashew, especially causes burns due to the cardol and anacardic acid.

Now that we have malnutrition in the country and also feel morally obligated to give up animal source foods, the PM comes up with the solution of fortified foods. Ironically the pre-mixes for this completely useless fortification process are not available in India so they are flown in from countries such as Germany , Switzerland, France, Netherlands at a whopping estimate of 3000 crores. What would this do to our food sovereignty and of course climate??

Finally climate control or love for animals cannot be a reason to impose nutritionally inferior diets. Sick and malnourished people cannot be the price one pays for climate change when one can as well push industries to reduce air/water/land pollution. Vegan diets are necessarily nutritionally deficient and corporate/pharma dependent.

So………….

L

Testing of food samples inadequate, Karnataka needs to ‘rectify gaps in food safety’

As of July 2021, Karnataka had 44,501 registered food business units, but testing for food safety is inadequate in the State. Of the 7,324 samples tested in four government labs in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Belagavi and Kalaburagi between April 2019 and December 2020, 553 were found to be adulterated while 153 of the 6,549 samples tested between February 2020 and January 2021 in two FSSAI (Food Safety Standards Authority of India) approved private laboratories had been found adulterated. In December 2020, the licenses of these four government laboratories had been canceled by the FSSAI for not having obtained NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accreditation.

The Food Safety Commissionerate of Karnataka has also requested an inquiry committee to check qualifications of 55 Food safety officers as they weren’t even meeting the requirements of a minimum of 985 samples a month. As of 2019, there were only 49 full-time Food Safety Officers (FSOs), and 114 part-time ones with 210 recruitments pending.

Food safety means controlling and limiting hazardous substances in food that can be injurious to the health of the consumer and includes production, handling, storage, packing, packaging, transport and preparation of food. Karnataka has been ranked 9th on the Food safety index for 2020 -21 based on five parameters -human resources and institutional data, compliance, food testing facility, training and capacity building and consumer empowerment.

A systematic review of public health risks related to food safety issues in the food market by Gizaw (2019) identified seven common public health risks related to microbial contamination of foods, chemical contamination, food adulteration, misuse of food additives, mislabeling, genetically modified (GM) foods and outdated foods or those past their use by dates. Food contamination is the unintentional addition of toxic, infectious or hazardous substances to foods during any of the process of production, manufacture, processing, preparation, packing transport, storage etc. This can be microbial or chemical. Read more here

ತೂಕವನ್ನು ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡಲು/ ಸಕ್ಕರೆ ಕಾಯಿಲೆಯನ್ನು ನಿಯಂತ್ರಿಸಲು ಆಹಾರ ಸಲಹೆಗಳು Diet to lose weight/control sugars

ತೂಕವನ್ನು ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡಲು/ ಸಕ್ಕರೆ ಕಾಯಿಲೆಯನ್ನು ನಿಯಂತ್ರಿಸಲು ಆಹಾರ ಸಲಹೆಗಳು

• ತುಪ್ಪ/ಬೆಣ್ಣೆ/ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳ ಕೊಬ್ಬು ಸೇವನೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿ

• ಬೆಲ್ಲ/ಸಕ್ಕರೆಯನ್ನು ಆದಷ್ಟು ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸಿ

• ಅಕ್ಕಿ, ರಾಗಿ, ಜೋಳ, ಗೋಧಿ (ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಧಾನ್ಯಗಳು) ಕಾರ್ಬೋಹೈಡ್ರೇಟ್‌ಗಳನ್ನು ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡಿ

• ಕೆಂಪು ಮಾಂಸ/ಕೋಳಿ (ಚರ್ಮದೊಂದಿಗೆ), ಮೀನು, ಮೊಟ್ಟೆ, ಹಾಲು/ಡೈರಿ (ಪೂರ್ಣ ಕೊಬ್ಬು) ಸೇವನೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿ

• ತರಕಾರಿಗಳು/ ಮೊಳಕೆ ಕಾಳುಗಳು ಬಳಕೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿ
• ದಿನಕ್ಕೆ ಒಂದಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಹಣ್ಣು ತಿನ್ನಬೇಡಿ

• ಊಟಕ್ಕೆ ಒಂದು ಗಂಟೆ ಮೊದಲು ಮತ್ತು
ಒಂದು ಗಂಟೆಯವರೆಗೆ  ಚಹಾ/ಕಾಫಿ/ಹಾಲನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸಬೇಡಿ

• ಆಹಾರದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಮತ್ತು ಇತರ ಸಮಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂಬೆ ರಸವನ್ನು ಸೇವಿಸಿ

• ಹಸಿವಾದಾಗ ತಿನ್ನಿರಿ. ಊಟದ ನಡುವೆ ದೀರ್ಘ ಅಂತರವನ್ನು ನೀಡಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸಿ (ಊಟದ ನಡುವೆ ಜಂಕ್ ಫುಡ್ ಮತ್ತು ಸಣ್ಣ ತಿಂಡಿಗಳನ್ನು ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿ)
• ವಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಕನಿಷ್ಠ 4-5 ಬಾರಿ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾದರೆ ದಿನಕ್ಕೆ ಎರಡು ಮೊಟ್ಟೆಗಳನ್ನು ತಿನ್ನಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸಿ
• ಸಂಸ್ಕರಿಸಿದ ರಿಫೈನ್ಡ್ ಸನ್ ಫ್ಲವರ್  ಅಥವಾ ಸ್ಫಫ್ಲವರ್ ಅಥವಾ ರೈಸ್ ಬ್ರಾನ್ ಎಣ್ಣೆ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳನ್ನು ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡಿ ಮತ್ತು ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸಿ
ಆಲಿವ್ ಎಣ್ಣೆಯನ್ನು ಸಲಾಡ್‌ಗಳಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಬಳಸಿ, ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಉರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ/ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ತಾಪಮಾನದ ಅಡುಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲ. ಅಡುಗೆಗೆ ತೆಂಗಿನೆಣ್ಣೆ/ ಬೆಣ್ಣೆ/ ತುಪ್ಪ/ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳ ಕೊಬ್ಬು  ಬಳಸಿ.

Diet to lose weight/control sugars
•	Increase consumption of ghee/butter/lard
•	Stop jaggery/sugar as much as possible
•	Reduce carbohydrates from rice, ragi, jowar, wheat (including all millets)
•	Increase consumption of red meats/poultry (with skin), fish, eggs, milk/dairy (full fat)
•	Increase consumption of vegetables/sprouts
•	Not more than one fruit a day
•	Avoid tea/coffee/milk one hour before and after food
•	Have lime juice with food and also at other times
•	Eat when hungry. Try to give longer fasting gaps between meals (Avoid snacks)
•	Eggs two a day if possible at least 4-5 times a week
•	Cut down to stop refined safflower/sunflower/bran oil etc. Use olive oil only for salads, not in high flame/high temperature cooking. Use coconunt oil/  butter/ ghee/lard for cooking.

What is food imposition?

Photo courtesy: Indian Express

Muslim –“I don’t eat pork for religious reasons”

Is that food imposition?

NO – because he or she is making his or her choice about eating and that’s his or her COMPLETE RIGHT.

Brahmin – “I don’t eat beef because meat is impure”

Is that food imposition?
NO – because he or she is making his or her choice about his/her food and that is COMPLETELY his/her right

Person – “I don’t eat meat or eggs so no one else should and I will use my caste and other privilege to make sure no one else eats. I will bring in cattle slaughter bans. I will make sure children are not given eggs or meat in school “

Is that food imposition?

Well, anyone with a bit of rational thinking will agree that this is indeed food imposition.

Hotel owner – “I make only vegetarian food here. If you want some good veg food, do come to our hotel”

Is that food imposition?

NO……because you have a choice whether to eat there or not

Another hotel owner – “I make only halal food. Today is thalapakattu biriyani. Please come and eat”

Is that food imposition?
NO……unless he ties your hands and feet and forcibly pushes the food down your throat.

One person: I don’t eat pork but I will force you to eat it by banning all other foods.

Is that food imposition?
YES because he is forcing his food choices on others

Another person :  You don’t like pork but I will force you to eat it

Is that food imposition?
Yes because she is forcing someone to eat what they don’t want to eat

First ask these questions before you jump in to give irrational comments about halal and jhatka

Also remember…….

Meat business is related to caste. The caste system treats meat eaters/ those handling meat as untouchable. If you want to open jhatka shops please do, no one stopped anyone from working with meat apart from  caste prejudices.

Farmers are going to be hit BADLY by these calls to boycott halal meat. With the cattle slaughter ban, farmers of all groups – gowda, Muslim, Lingayat and other OBC have already been hit badly. Read our report on this here to understand more.

Understand the impact of political propaganda on ordinary people of all religions. Muslim and Hindu communities have very organic and economic relationships. Those who call for these bans care about neither community and certainly not how it will impact them economically or socially. Social cohesions and community interactions/goodwill are damaged by these political interests.

The caste nature of meat also has these consequences.

  • Criminalisation/lynching/discrimination of and against meat and meat eaters
  • You will find neither halal nor jhatka shops in brahmin or Lingayat localities so stop blaming Muslims for that
  • All animal source foods (ASF) – pork, beef, eggs, milk, dairy, chicken, fish are nutrient dense foods with good amount of good quality protein, vitamins, minerals, fats. They help the body to grow, fight infection, avoid non communicable disease. Not having access to these is the biggest cause of preventable malnutrition in India.  Caste and corporate nexus is the primary cause for this.
  • Children are stigmatized for eating meat. Check who stigmatizes them. This leads to low self esteem and sometimes rejection of their traditional foods. This affects them physically and psychologically.
  • There is very little research on animal foods because of caste(ist) prejudices
  • There is very little investment on meat/poultry industry because of caste(ist) prejudices. Therefore these sectors are under-developed, do not have access to modern technology. They are ‘dirty’ because there is not investment into their development.
  • Exports of meat continue unlimited. The real beneficiaries of all these decisions are corporates and big businesses.

    Think……don’t become a pawn in the Hindu Muslim scapegoating. Both communities are victims here.

Malnutrition is about social consciousness

Addressing malnutrition in the country isn’t about fortifying cheap cereals by giving lucrative contracts to companies. It’s about understanding and addressing what causes malnutrition.

Why do families have lower incomes? When income drops, families compromise on their food – eat less, more watery, less frequent, less diverse meals. Sudden lower income makes vulnerable family members more vulnerable – to receiving less food, to violence, to neglect, to abuse.

With Covid (and further malnutrition) families get pushed into more poverty, more expenditure on healthcare. All this means more loans, more risk taking behaviour, more exploitation. Parents are anxious. When parents are anxious, there is a possibility that they may not even be good parents. Poor parenting means children are more anxious, concentrate less in schools, perform poorly, have lesser self esteem. People may move to cheaper shelters – more mosquitos, worse sanitation, rodents, less quality of water, increased cost of travel, losing out on social security schemes, more sickness…

When children don’t have good quality or quantity of food, their body starts breaking down their muscle protein for energy……..finally even their heart muscle proteins…children are known to drop dead when starved. Their blood pressure drops, their organs shrink, their temperature drops, their activity ceases, their fats get converted to energy, their immunity drops, their skin/mucosal barrier to infection drops.

Malnutrition is a social evil. It needs a social consciousness and awakening.

Fortifying rice isn’t the solution to malnutrition.

Cosy alliance of vegans and vegetarians

Climate change often affects the poorest and most vulnerable communities. When there are droughts, floods or cyclones, of course everyone is affected, but very often it is the poorest who are hit the hardest. Droughts can stretch over a long period of time which means that people have less and less income and food. They live on a very subsistence diet over a long period of time and may lose on many basic entitlements. We saw during the Covid pandemic how the Public Distribution System (PDS) and mid-day meals in anganwadis and government/aided schools shut down with the government showing no urgency to restart education, leave alone the mid-day meal.

The quality of life of the victims of climate change also suffers, uncertainty levels are high and this affects mental health which is often seen as the prerogative of the rich.  Many of those people who have a precarious existence may migrate intra or inter-state and therefore spend some part of their time in cities doing daily wage jobs and moving back to villages during harvest season to work as landless labourers. Being in this constant state of mobility affects their access to rations, health care, education and social security to name a few. Anganwadis and schools are often not flexible enough to accommodate children of migrant workers. When parents migrate, they may leave children with grandparents who may not be able to offer appropriate childcare on their own. Many of these children end up with malnutrition other health issues but these don’t often get picked up or addressed by the system which is largely oblivious to the poor and vulnerable. While healthcare in cities is expensive and privatized, it is largely unavailable in rural areas. The health system cannot even offer basic facilities which was evident during the pandemic.

On top of that, the government, media and even the healthcare system readily communalized the pandemic for political gain, thus losing crucial time preparing for the pandemic.  There was discrimination in the provision of relief even during the pandemic and dalit communities faced further exclusion, violence and discrimination during the pandemic. There are instances of dominant caste groups refusing to stay with dalit communities. Instead of bureaucrats pulling up the oppressor caste groups for discriminating even during a national disaster, they mostly pander to the dominant caste whims. This behavior was well engrained even during ‘normal’ or non-Covid times. If oppressor caste groups threaten social boycott because of appointment of dalit cooks, teachers or anganwadi worker, their demands are prioritized by the bureaucracy over the labor rights and dignity of the dalit workers.

The problem with solutions to address climate change  is that many of the solutions themselves further burden these same communities. Conflict of interest of those who push for corporate or multinational led solutions to global climate change is often set aside while already vulnerable communities are further criminalized or targeted.  

Multinationals and large food corporations are using climate change as an excuse to push for problematic solutions which are unquestioningly internalized and practiced by most middle class and elite in both developing and developed countries. Now with food, we have the nexus between the vegan and the vegetarian. Already vegetarians were creating havoc with our nutrition and food security because caste operates very strongly. For example, one can look at data and just based on numbers understand that dalit and adivasi communities have worse outcomes in most health and nutrition indicators. However, even such ‘in your face’ data doesn’t influence decision making. Even if these so called decision makers express concern about what data throws up, their solutions are not at all scientific but largely based on personal prejudices – more on what their grandparents and parents tell them and less on any sound science. For instance, animal source foods are nutrient dense and, in adequate quantities, prevent people from going into different forms of malnutrition – underweight, stunting obesity etc.but the these foods are largely erased or criminalised.

Milk, incidentally, an animal source food and technically not ‘vegetarian’. ”Vegetarians” who eat nuts, milk, paneer, dahi, ghee etc. say ‘We are healthy because we eat vegetarian food.” They also believe that their little caste bubble is the entire country and say things like “Most of India is vegetarian anyway, so let’s make vegetarian policies’. However, the food that is budgeted for the poor is mainly cereal heavy, so vegetarian led decisions actually contribute to and aggravate the nutrition crisis in the country. They are however not held accountable for bad decisions which lead to malnutrition, ill-health or disability.

Industries are mostly unregulated. A pharma company like Biocon owned by businesswoman tycoon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is often viewed as an asset, while KMS herself is seen as the spokesperson of several issues. Biocon was implicated for air pollution and ground water pollution making water unpotable. KMS as a glorified spokesperson from any topic ranging from Covid to street vendors had actually initiated a drive to evict street vendors even when they had a legal right to be there. While KMS is idolated as the star of Bengaluru, in other parts of the State, poor men transporting cattle for livelihood are attacked in public, filmed, maybe lynched and this is then publicised widely like a macabre war cry.  

Akshaya patra, in the meantime, which is an initiative of the International Society for for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), has been bagging several contracts across the country to provide mid day meals to some of the poorest children in the country in government and aided schools.  The casteist and unscientific approach to food and nutrition of this group is largely overlooked and the ones paying the price with their bodies are children who have least influence over decision making.

While on one hand, there are vegetarians pushing cheap vegetarianism on the country, on the other hand, billionaire led and funded groups like the EAT Lancet commission project India as a role model for how the rest of the world should eat.

How much of a model for the world is India’s vegetarianism then? In the Global Hunger Index 2019, the country ranks 102 out of 117, whereas data from the National Family Health Survey indicate that only 10% of the infants between 6–23 months are adequately fed. As a result, no less than 38% of the children under five years are stunted. About one on five women and men are underweight, with a similar proportion being either overweight or obese, especially in urban settings.

Anaemia affects almost 60% of the children aged 6-59 months, more than half of the women between 15-49 years, and almost one on four men in that same age group. Subclinical vitamin A deficiency in preschool children is 62% and is closely associated with malnutrition and poor protein consumption. Hardly a model to be followed!!

According to the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18 , anaemia was most prevalent among scheduled tribes, followed by scheduled castes. More than half (53%) of pre-schoolers and more than one-third of school-age children and adolescents (38% each) belonging to scheduled tribes were anaemic. The prevalence of anaemia decreased steadily with an increase in household wealth in all three age groups. Overall, only 9% of children aged 6 to 23 months received iron-rich foods and this was influenced by the mother’s diet. Only six percent of all children aged 6 to 23 months were fed a minimum acceptable diet. The percentage increased slightly with higher levels of maternal schooling and household wealth

Prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency was 18% among preschool children, 22% among school age children and 16% among adolescents. Vitamin D deficiency was 14% among pre-school children, 18% in school age children and 24% in adolescents.  Treating medically one nutrient deficiency will be soon be limited by another nutrient deficiency.       For e.g. haemoglobin synthesis requires not just iron but good quality proteins and many other micronutrients as well (Dary 2011). Apart from iron, Vitamins A,C, E, B2, B6, B12,folate,Magnesium, selenium, zinc are needed for Hemoglobin synthesis. Only a diet that contains good quality proteins, vitamins and minerals will be able to address multiple nutrient deficiencies. Isolated nutritional deficiencies are unlikely in an undernourished population.

It is evident from the current dismal indicators around nutrition in the country, that isolated deficiencies are not the problem, but the poor access of most people to nutrient dense foods in adequate quantities. Addressing individual deficiencies with mandatory fortification is not a solution but only a way of routing public funds to the corporate sector.

Smallholders still dominate production in many developing countries. Livestock can provide income, quality food, fuel, draught power, building material and fertilizer, thus contributing to household livelihood, food security and nutrition. Cattle slaughter bans impacts people in adverse ways, both economically and nutritionally. Although cattle contribute a minuscule amount to overall climate change, they are projected as the primary source while giving the real polluters – automobile and industry, a wide rope. In India, the more unproductive cattle that roam around, the more the methane they generate. Methane is biodegradable and also has a relatively short life cycle of ten years compared to fossil fuels generated greenhouse gases from industry/automobiles etc. Indian public transport is so bad that literally everyone who has the resources will at least own a scooter or motorcycle. Each rich family may own 2-3 cars which could often be large SUVs, mostly unfit for Indian roads and contributing to enormous fuel wastage everytime they obstruct traffic. These vehicles or used even for short distances that could be covered by foot or a cycle, and often kept idling at signals.

India is already importing food stuffs into the country. What does that do to the environment? . To top it, now we are also importing premixes for food fortification which is neither sustainable nor environmentally friendly.

With the growth of the vegetarian and vegan fads, the consumption of nuts went up by almost 35% from 2012 and 2016. The shelling of cashews is done by hand in India, Brazil, Mozambique and Vietnam, by mostly women and young girls have reported painful injuries caused by cardol and anacardic acids that lie between two layers of hard shell of the cashew nut.  The women are paid very little and also face many other forms of exploitation, poor wages, lack of job security, lack of access to health insurance protection etc.Cashew is promoted as a dairy free protein rich food to be used as creamy sauce on pasta dishes or as milk etc.

Very little food that is the mainstay of veganism is unprocessed. For instance, soya cannot just be grown locally and consumed locally. It requires extensive processing which again requires energy and also emits pollutants. Many of the local/indigenous crops in developing countries are being destroyed to create monocrops that make the soil less fertile. Yields continuously diminish, indigenous hardy crops are replaced by genetically modified crops that yield crop faster. The absence of nutrients in the soil and the shorter period of growth can adversely reduce the nutritional quality of foods. So you may be eating soya but it may not even have the nutrient density that soya grown in small quantities in coexistence with other plants and animals may have. To accommodate the growing demands of arable land, forests are cleared. The process of clearing forests is hugely detrimental to the environment and ecology. They are known to contribute to global warming, reduced availability of moisture/absorption of toxins from the air and water. Indigenous communities have been destroyed in thousands losing their access to the forest and its produce. They are basically dislocated and end up migrating, losing their cultural identities and social support networks. This long-term adverse impact of forced displacement has been well documented. So is that the responsibility of the vegan who provides the growing market for such foods?

The government has to increase investment into local food systems that includes animal source foods (meat, milk/dairy, eggs, poultry, fish), pulses, vegetables, legumes etc. as a way of improving sustainable food production as well as local livelihoods.

On the Maternal Mortality ratio in Karnataka (2017-19)

A special bulletin on Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) released by the Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, showed that Karnataka had declined from 92 per lakh live births in 2016-18 to 83 in 2017-19. While the quickest response of the government is self-appreciation and  self-promotion, there is a  need to look at the MMR in much more depth and with more seriousness. Basically one needs to engage with the data and also analyse it rather than just celebrating ups and downs.

All quantitative data needs to have some qualitative backing as well as checks and balances in terms of understanding how reliable (consistent) or accurate (capturing what it was meant to capture) the data is.  Some points to keep in mind when interpreting MMR.

Most deliveries in Karnataka are taking place in private hospitals which are known to under-report, so strengthening and making it mandatory for private hospitals to report mortality as well as cause of death would be a crucial step to ensure data is accurate and reliable. Along with that, a detailed analysis of non-maternity related deaths in women especially in the reproductive age group is required. This would require investment by the government into training as well as human resources to independently scrutinize all causes of deaths of women in the reproductive age. There are many groups that get left out of the data tracking system. Those who access abortion services illegally or seen as having illegitimate abortions are often not recorded as maternal deaths. Similarly, surrogacy sometimes doesn’t garner the same legitimacy as a maternal death as a ‘normal’ pregnancy.

It is also important to keep in mind that many deliveries go on to Caesarian sections. In Karnataka, as per the NFHS Caesarean sections in private hospitals have gone up from 40.3% in NFHS4 to 52.5% in NFHS-5. It would be important to look at long term complications as well as morbidity related to pregnancy and child birth along with mortality. For every woman who dies, another twenty suffer from injuries, infections or disability. The quality of life of women following pregnancy has not received the attention it deserves.

While government and other health officials may be quick to rejoice over the drop in MMR, it is crucial to understand that retrospective analysis of data is one thing, but the more important aspect is to proactively identify crucial interventions that can prevent maternal deaths and introduce them. For instance, following the Covid pandemic and associated lockdown, many, especially public, health facilities have not recovered fully and one could make an informed guess that MMR would have gone up over the last 2.5 years. For this trend to be halted, efforts have to be made to strengthen public facilities including the large tertiary maternity hospitals which had been arbitrarily converted to secondary covid facilities. Over the last two years, this anticipatory extra effort has not been visible in the planning by the government. Ante-natal, delivery and post-natal services were badly affected. Communalisation of the pandemic, which began early, had serious implications for pregnant Muslim women in Karnataka. Break up of MMR based on caste, religion and geographic location will throw up crucial gaps in essential health service delivery. The government needs to publicly place how it is going to address gaps in service delivery which essentially means that some women have better chances of survival that others. This should be considered as discrimination by the health system and the government in power which then need to be held accountable.

In no way should crucial indicators of health and access to healthcare be linked to punitive measures. ASHA workers who report maternal deaths may face harassment and abuse for making the primary health centre or taluk/district hospital ‘look bad’. Suppressing/fudging data is more common than is often acknowledged. The common premise that those who show ‘good indicators’ are rewarded and those who show ‘poor indicators’ are penalized should be condemned. If an area or a community shows high MMR, there should be concerted systemic effort to address this rather than taking one or the other service provider to task.

Currently the government is proposing increasing the age of marriage of women from 18 to 21 years. Along with the numerous other adverse outcomes of this, in the context of MMR, henceforth pregnancy in any woman before  the age of 21 years will be classified as illegal and can therefore go underground with its inevitable consequence of under-reporting.

Hemorrhage due to nutritional anemia is the leading (preventable) cause of maternal deaths. In Karnataka, anemia in non-pregnant women age 15-49 years has gone up from 44.8% in NFHS-4 to 47.8% in NFHS -5. Anemia in pregnant women has gone up from 45.4% to 45.7%. This is expected to rise in Karnataka following the nutritionally/economically disastrous cattle slaughter ban as well as the lockdown related loss of livelihood, income and social security schemes. The government seems to not make a connect between this and an expected rise in MMR.

A sensitive indicator of maternal health services is the availability and distribution of skilled birth attendants, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, specialists etc. We also need to map the availability/accessibility of emergency drugs, blood banks, ambulance services etc.  Publicly run urban maternity homes in Bengaluru played a very positive role and it shows that having good quality maternity care close to where people live can be life-saving. Women cannot be expected to shell out thousands of rupees accessing healthcare.

The lifetime risk of maternal deaths and complications in a woman can be around 1 in 5400 in high income countries and almost 1 in 45 in low income countries, with the more number of pregnancies a woman goes through increasing her risk. This statistic doesn’t translate to women and communities being responsible for their own maternal health outcomes. It is documented that when women are more educated, they are likely to have better nutritional and pregnancy related outcomes, healthier babies and overall lesser mortality/morbidity in themselves and their children. They are likely to have fewer babies irrespective of their caste or religion location. While data shows that education is key, the recent hijab controversy in Karnataka shows that the government is not invested in education of girls/women. This is indeed a great cause for concern.  

Data can be misleading and also inaccurate. While Karnataka may celebrate the drop in MMR, this may not be a real cause for celebration.

Some thoughts about the health/nutrition aspect of the Karnataka budget 2022

Pt. 51 – Ksheera Samruddhi Sahakara Bank is being created for milk producers to get loans but farmers say that unless they are able to sell their unproductive cattle, they are unable to repay loans. Will the govt. waive of these loans then? Withdrawing the cattle slaughter ban will be more useful to the farmers to maintain the economics of milk production.

Pt. 52 – Mega milk dairy will be established in Haveri. Farmers say that unless the cattle slaughter ban is withdrawn, milk production will not be viable for them economically and they want to explore other options or sources of income. Milk production is expected to fall not rise in the state following the cattle slaughter ban.

Pt. 53 – Goshalas will increase from 31 to 100 and 50 crore will be provided for this. Goshalas do not take the really sick/aged cattle from farmers neither do they pay a decent price for the others. So the farmers issue wil not be resolved by bringing in more goshalas.

Pt. 54 – Punyakoti Dattu yojana to encourage public to adopt cows by paying 11,000/- annually. Nice to see that the government has got its priorities right………withdraw scholarships from dalit children but encourage cow adoption programs !!!

Pt. 60 – Poultry distributed to women farmers……….this is a GREAT IDEA !!! Pig rearing will also be encouraged which is good.

Pt 67.” Our Government has decided to re-introduce “Yashashwini” scheme with modification to fulfil a long pending demand of farmers. Under this scheme, quality medical facilities will be made available to farmer families of rural areas. For this purpose, Rs.300 crore will be provided by the State Government.”

Will this be handed to Narayana Hrudayalaya? There are several issues with the government health insurance scheme and is a process of routing taxpayers fund to private healthcare sector. Why is this not being factored into budgeting?

88 d – “Facilities for severe malnourished children will also be extended to those with moderate malnutrition” this is a good step. In fact PREVENTION rather than treatment of malnutrition should be key strategy

Pt. 100. Good that the mid day meal cooks and helpers honorarium has been raised by Rs 1000 but the other demand that school based kitchens should be brought into all government and aided schools should be implemented. Centralised contracts should be withdrawn. Also the MDM workers should be brought into formal employment rather than contractual basis.

Pt. 109 – They say “our government will take all necessary steps to reduce MMR and IMR.” But there is no mention of what actions and what the budget is. Leaving it vague is not good practice.

Pt. 110 – Why have separate Namma clinics for non communcable diseases and referal to specialists. Why not strengthen urban family welfare centres to handle NCD? This looks like a way of routing patients to private sector. Most NCD do not require separate clinics or specialist management. Why invest in separate standalone clinics? Similarly why separate women health centres? (Pt. 111)

Pt. 112 – It is good that taluka hospitals will be upgraded. This should not be handed to private players as Public private partnership (PPP) model.

Pt. 113 – Free dialysis services should be provided in public facilities. It is not clear in the budget where dialysis centres wil be set up (point 113)

Pt. 114 – Good that cardiac treatment will be provided in collaboration with Jayadeva.

Pt. 115- On converting govt hospitals to teaching hospitals – crucial question is whether the management will be private or government medical sector. If private it would be very problematic and needs to be strongly opposed.

Pt. 117 – Mental health facilities should be part of the health system at primary secondary and tertiary level. It cannot just be mental health “programs”

Pt. 118 – 76 essential life saving accident units in the State is too few. All primary centres should have basic first aid and facility to stabilise accident victims. Taluk hospitals should have blood bank and  secondary level heath facilities. District hospitals should have different super speciality facilities. Why should this be started through SAST? Does it mean private facilities will be roped in?

Pt. 120 – telemedicine is becoming a way of recruiting patients to private hospitals. It can only be a supplement to healthcare and not a replacement.

Pt. 123 – Private air ambulance are not practical. Better option would be to invest in good referral systems and health care as close to people as possible

Pt. 127- ASHA workers need formalisation and salaries. Incentive based Honorarium should be scrapped.

It is good that investments are being made into public super speciality facilities like Kidwai, Vani Vilas, Jayadeva, Bowring etc. (Pt. 129 – 132)

Pt. 139 d – Fortified rice is an unscientific approach to addressing malnutrition and investing 93 crores is a waste of resources. The govt should instead subsidise milk, meat, fish, poultry and eggs and also remove the cattle slaughter ban. Those who have lost livelihood due to the ban should be compensated. Budget should have been made for eggs on 6 days of the week in all government and aided schools in all districts.

Pt. 139 e – Good that nutrition survey will be conducted. This should be done in a transparent way and by reliable organization like CFTRI and not private entities.

Why It Is Urgent To Address Caste-Based Discrimination In Medical Institutions

In September 2017, S Anitha, a Dalit girl from Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu (TN), died by suicide after she was unable to secure admission in a medical college. The Supreme Court (SC) in the same year had ruled that admissions to medical colleges in TN will be based on marks obtained in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), conducted by the National Testing Agency for admission to undergraduate medical courses in India. Anitha, who had scored 1,176 marks out of 2,000 in her 12th board exam and 12.33 percentage in NEET while the minimum cut-off for reserved category students was 40 percent, moved the Supreme Court challenging NEET and was known to have spearheaded the movement against the all India medical entrance exam.

Since 2017, such reports of students’ suicides caused by NEET, especially in TN, have repeatedly led to protests calling for a NEET ban. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 32 cases of suicides of NEET aspirants were reported between 2018 and 2020. This year, five NEET aspirants died by suicide until October 31. The death of Anitha and many other SC, ST students have triggered discussions about the system of medical education in India being unfair towards students from marginalised communities such as the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, in terms of lack of access to resources including hefty fees for coaching classes for NEET and to study in a medical college.

According to data from the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE), of the total 2,87,776 students enrolled for the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) course, only 26,658 students (9.2 percent) belonged to the Scheduled Caste communities and 12,552 students (4.3 percent) belonged to the Scheduled Tribe communities. Similarly, for Bachelor of Dental Surgery, SCs and STs accounted for only 8.8 percent and 2.4 percent of the total enrolment. 

Among the 17 categories of courses mentioned under medical science education in AISHE, MBBS and Dentistry are two of the major courses, where representation of the SC, ST communities presents a dismal picture. While the All India Quota–provided for students who wish to study in any medical college outside their state—for SC students is 15 percent and for ST students 7.5 percent, data shows the set quota is not fulfilled.

On the occasion of World Science Day for Peace and Development, public health expert Dr Sylvia Karpagam sheds light on the barriers which discourage SC, ST students from taking up medical courses and highlights the many ways in which Indian medical institutions are caste-ridden……..read more here

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