I was shocked beyond words when I read that a Chief Minister who is also an aspirant to the post of Prime Minister chose to link malnutrition in his state to vegetarianism and figure-conscious girls! And I quote him: "Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state. And secondly, Gujarat is also a middle-class state. The middle-class is more beauty-conscious than health-conscious – that is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they'll have a fight. She'll tell her mother, 'I won't drink milk. I'll get fat
'. I wish this was the case Mr Chief Minister but sadly it is not.
The Human Development Report
of 2011 states that Gujarat is the worst among the high per-capita states in the country in fighting malnutrition
. The state is placed even below Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam. That the CM of such a state chooses to trivialise the issue of malnutrition is appalling, distressing and totally unacceptable. Malnutrition is not a lifestyle issue in India but a terrible failure of all concerned and something we that should make our heads hang in shame. The Gujarat statistics
are nothing to be proud of: 41% children underweight, 55% women anemic! That the CM wants the world to believe that this is due to vegetarianism or beauty consciousness is sickening.
5000 children die every day of malnutrition! They are all under 5 and in no way beauty or figure conscious. The 415 underweight children of the state do not have the luxury of refusing a glass of milk. They never get any!
No Chief Minister or any other political or administrative person has the right to pooh pooh malnutrition. Malnutrition is undoubtedly something every self respecting Indian should be ashamed of.