Shiv Kumar Padha
The slogans have always played a commendable role during India’s struggle for freedom as well as during the social reforms in the society. The slogans given by the freedom fighters infused patriotism and enthusiasm in the nation and motivated them for sacrificing their lives on the altar of mother land. The slogans carried meaning, had definite objective and commitment. There is hardly any country in the world which has as many slogans and rights as we have here in India. The constitution of India has already gifted bonanza of rights to the citizens and many more through different constitutional amendments from time to time, like right to information, right to education, right to food, right to healthful living.We think that coining new slogans and granting more and more rights to the citizens will help address the long pending grievances of the masses without the needed implementation at the grass root level. May or may not succeed in solving our national problems at political or governmental level. There are slogans on malnutrition, adulteration, pollution, deforestation, save earth and environment, protection of women and their rights.
These days TV viewers are watching the fascinating slogans like Kooposhan Bharat Chhodo and AaoKareinMilawat Se Jung by the cine celebrities and cricket players against malnutrition and adulteration on the pattern of( Angrezo bharat chhodo). It is not sure whether the meals of aamadmiwill become nutritious and thedeep rooted adulteration done away with these slogans easily, but one thing is sure that the meals of these celebrities and that of TV channels will definitely become nutritious because the nutrients can be added to the meals and not to the empty dish in the hand of the poor man. Malnutrition refers to the situation where there is an unbalanced diet in which some nutrients are in excess, lacking or wrong proportion. According to the World Bank report India is ranked 2nd in the world of the number of the children suffering from malnutrition. The number of underweight children in India is highest in the world and is nearly double that of sub- Saharan Africa. The UN estimates that 2.1 million Indian children die before reaching the age of 5 every year, four every minut mostly from the curable disease. The 2011 Global Hunger Index report ranked India 15th amongst leading countries with hunger situation worse than North Korea or Sudan. 25 percent of the hungry people live in India where 72 percent infants and 52 percent married women have anemia due to malnutrition. The malnutrition cannot be eradicated from the soil by mere fascinating slogans only unless the economic status of its masses is raised to the desired level.
Food adulteration has taken its roots deep in the Indian soil. Contaminated foods drinks are the common sources of health hazards in India. Adulteration in food articles, drinks, confectionary, milk, butter, cream, spices, vegetables are playing havoc with the human lives in the country. The use of chemicals in the vegetables in order to give fresh look, artificial colors,flavors used in the sweets, confectionary, drinks, juices and jams and the food preservatives are harmful for human bodies because the prolonged consumption of food adulterated with the chemicals can result into fatal infections in the liver, kidney and even cause cancer in many cases. To prevent adulteration in food items Central Government brought ‘Food safety and standard act and set up designated offices in all states, but practice of adulteration could not be contained due tolack of action on the part of law enforcing authorities due to the reasons best known to them. The police have been empowered to persecute the culprits under IPC sections 272 and273 but the culprits manage their acquittal every time by using the silver key. The consumption of spurious wine as well of medicines has been taking thousands of lives in small towns and metros throughout the country every year.
It is very hard to digest that the land of Vedas is one of the countries with the largest illiteracy level and shows inability of our Governments to utilize programs like SSA, National Literacy Mission ( 1988 ). Even countries like Sri Lanka, Mayanmar, Veitnam, Thailand and the like have achieved in lesser time much better literacy percentage. Literacy in India is a key for socio economic progress. The provisions of universalization and compulsory education for school going age children 6-14 years was a cherished goal as incorporated in Directive policy in article 45 of the constitution is still to be achieved. The constitution 86th amendment bill has brought education under fundamental rights for the children in the age of 6-14.Studies show that it would take 2060 for India to achieve universal rate of literacy. India has largest illiterate population in the world. Poverty, unemployment, child labor, female feticide, population burst, wide gap between rural and urban population are some of the major causes contributing towards illiteracy in the country. It is ironical that our leaders and public representatives give low priority to education as compared to other matters.
The medical facilities are too inadequate and expensive to cater for the small fraction of the population of the country. To get treatment in the hospitals has become the prerogative of the rich and the elite class of the society. Not to talk of treatment aamadmi cannot even purchase pain killer or vitamin pills for his family. The big hospitals in cities and metros which were once created for the treatment of the common man have now been converted into hospitals with five star facilities and have become out of bound even for upper middle class of the society.
The NGOs and the governmental agencies educate the masses through hollow slogans like Save Earth , save Environment on the national print and electronic media daily but the pilgrims for ‘ Char Dham ‘ had to face the wrath of the nature on 16/6 at Kedar Nath, Badri Nath, and GauriKund for the fault of the greedy leaders and that of thebureaucrats. The reasons for the disaster being manmade are because of politicians have closed their eyes to what was happening either for reasons of greed or some other form of self-aggrandizement.
The slogans and the rights, however fascinating and interesting they look, cannot bring about the desired results unless some concrete measures are adapted at the gross root level, the law enforcing agencies aremade accountable for their negligence, provision for stringent punishment to the culprits and last but not the least a commitment for the implementation of the rights granted to the citizens theses slogans will remain like the unsung lyrics written on the walls.
Shiv Kumar Padha