MID-DAY MEAL KILLS CHILDREN, RICKSHAW-PULLER KILLS PATIENT –WHY THIS ‘OCCASIONAL’ CRY WHEN SUCH ‘REGULAR’ CRIMES NEED SUSTAINED ATTENTION

Isn’t it a conspiracy that the kids who lost their lives after consuming the poisoned mid-day meal in a government school of Bihar become the subjects of the political blame game that soon crosses all the limits of sanity?

And what about this characterized uproar every time whenever many of us, sometimes in thousands, become victims of a man-made systemic political apathy?

Why is it that we look to care for what caused the disaster whenever a disaster takes place and then forget it conveniently until next one happens?

This silence, or to say more aptly, this ignorance, is a criminal negligence on part of all of us who are capable enough to raise the voice.

It was not a long ago, in fact it was in last July only when the nation had seen huge outrage over ward boys and sweepers performing minor surgery, dressing and autopsy, potentially threatening lives of the patients in Bulandshahr, Meerut and Balia cities of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous but India’s most digressive state.

For media outfits, it was a potboiler generating uninterrupted coverage of many valuable TRP hours spread across several days. There were high-pitched debates and rhetorical campaigns to cleanse the society of this malaise. The insensitive and shameless politicians and higher level government employees, who were initially, as usual, in denial mode, were forced to come forward. Yes, they did come forward after their characteristic delay but they didn’t own the responsibility, something that always happens, something that we recently saw in the course of the aftermath of the massive Uttarakhand flash floods. They just passed the buck.

In fact, they always believe that ‘we, the creatures, the voters, the ordinary Indians’ should get such treatment as it would keep us dependent on them.

And so they create such situations that force us to be in miserable condition and characteristically, whenever these ‘miserable’ conditions become fatal or epidemic, they first try to play down the scale or shift the responsibility and if not successful, they put a shameless face of concern promising the matter is being looked into and appropriate action would be taken.

Appropriation action! An alternative political catchphrase for it is ‘the toughest possible action’!

Now, see the toughness! In the very same Uttar Pradesh, where a sweeper was performing autopsy last July, a rickshaw-puller is filmed on camera this July, in a government hospital, giving an injection to a kid that takes the kid’s life. And it happens in one of the cities, Balia, that was in the eye of the storm last July for a similar medical negligence case.

See! This is how politicians see us – valueless, soulless creatures who exist only to serve the political masters and their cohorts.

Also, where were the media carriers, the activists and the aligned advocates throughout this period where they could easily see (and they have been witnessing it) that the rot was so deep and was getting deeper owing to the political callousness. In fact, they too, act vague it can be said. Whatever be the reasons and the considerations but the fact remains.

Why does it take lives of over 20 children to make a war cry on such a poor status of mid-day meal scheme in India?

Why this flood of reports now only?

Why not a sustained socially responsible campaign to put effective check on the system?

The rotten meal! It is an open fact that most of us know very well. Just step in any government run primary or middle (class 6-8) school where the mid-day meal is served and the first reaction, if you are from those of the metro middle class families, would be that you cannot eat it. Search for reports and one will come across regular reports of mid-day meal poisoning even from the metro cities like Delhi or Mumbai. The condition is horrible in small town India and hinterlands and the Chhapra incident in Bihar where 23 students of a primary school lost their lives after eating the mid-day meal represents that horror.

And most of them (excluding the political opponents here-they are the natural party to this crime) who are crying foul are aware of this open fact. Why not then a sustained campaign to pressurize the political class to act responsibly?

Like the horror of the mid-day meal, the ground reality of the government-run hospitals and health-centers is also an open fact. Anyone who can afford private treatment would never go to a government-run health unit. Government doctors, busy in private practice, using ward boys or sweepers as their replacement, is a commonplace thing and all of us and the groups crying over the Balia hospital incident are well aware of it.

Why don’t the groups looking and acting concerned at the moment run a sustained campaign against the politicians and their administrative bedfellows to pressurize them to take responsibility?

Acting only in spurts when the problem has already become chronic – the attitude is worrying. It is senseless.

It sounds more of the elitist concern of acting as and when it suits the tastes and needs of those who can raise the voice and not based on the needs of those who have been reduced by the politicians and their various colleagues as the silent majority at the receiving end of their every deed and misdeed.

It sounds like a sham! This façade has to be removed.

Chronic problems like the systemic political apathy and the political corruption need sustained efforts.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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