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Hunger in India

August 30, 2008

Re "India's gnawing pain," Aug. 24

The dramatic and sorrowing problems of India's poor children are newsworthy, but the world needs more information on what to do about them. Simply blaming "soaring food prices and ineffectual government" hits only near-term causes.

As you mention, China has proportionately many fewer malnourished kids. We should credit that country's recognition of overpopulation as a root cause, and its one-child-per-family program as at last bringing big gains in national well-being.

Population control has become politically incorrect in some circles. Even the blander "family planning" is not acceptable to the present U.S. administration. But India is perhaps Exhibit A in why the issue should be back on the world discussion table -- without, this time, being kicked and sneered at by religious extremists.

Stanford Taylor

Pasadena

As we know, India is a caste-based society. Indians belonging to high castes are mostly educated and well-to-do and got the most out of the present economic boom, while most Indians, belonging to the lower castes, have hardly moved up. They remain mired in poverty; they cannot feed their children.

Just a few decades ago, enlightened film directors labored to expose the rich-poor divide in their excellent movies. However, in present times, hardly any movies show the poor. Even servants and peons wear designer clothing, and the heroines are loaded with gold and diamonds -- even though they may be acting a role of a middle-class or poor woman.

Bollywood has become devoid of reality. Indian films and dramas do not talk about poverty, malnourishment or hunger anymore.

Such attitudes have made people turn a blind eye toward the poor, who have fallen through the cracks.

Asghar Vasanwala

Yorba Linda

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