Soup kitchens of soul as soup kitchens of stomach

It’s a straightforward story. There are plenty of hungry people in “India Starving”. And there is plenty of foodgrains going waste in “India Rotting”. Give it to the needy for free instead of letting it go waste, says the Supreme Court. Can’t implement the suggestion, says agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.

It’s not a suggestion, it’s an order, reminds the SC. The court can’t formulate policy, says the prime minister of a country who talks too much of 9% GDP growth-rate and too little of eight Indian states accounting for more poor people than 26 African nations put together.

As the tu-tu-main-main continues, Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr looks to the world’s youngest religion for a way out of the logjam, in DNA:

“The Sikhs manage the langar successfully in the gurdwaras and this needs to be replicated in the public sphere. We need the people to do it because we have the means. Why is it not happening? Because there is a moral disconnect. We do not care. It is a damning state of affairs. If we have the means and we do not do anything about it, it means that our hearts are hardened.

“It is much worse than facing hard times. Those who are shouting the loudest on behalf of the poor are no better than those who have turned their faces away from it all because they refuse to act.”

And if the gurudwara example is expanded, and temples and mosques and churches and synagogues, all awash with funds, space, leadership and motivation, become the places to feed the hungry, then…?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Read the full column: We need public soup kitchens to feed hungry

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U.R. RAO: Rising India’s share of poorest is growing

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12 Responses to “Soup kitchens of soul as soup kitchens of stomach”

  1. Pattu Says:

    What a different way to solve the problem of distirbution.
    Yes, there are so many religious organisations in the courntry perhaps lakhs of them. This can be entrusted to them. Why no one is coming forward to feed the hungry and save the grains?

  2. Prabhu Says:

    Plocies cannot be formaulated by supreme court, Policies can be made and put on aam-aadmi at 10th Janapath, Prime-minister will be happiest man to implement those policies coming in from SuperPM and her son.

  3. Andy Says:

    I hope the genial Sardar knows about langar food management and replicates this and does not come with some constitutional objection.

    By questioning SC Order the PM spoke more like an Economist than a Prime Minister which is shocking. Let him and his Party try explaining to starving and wretched poor citizens of this country the logistics problems in distributing food…and why SC can’t intervene in Executive. Gut wrenching….

    Another objection i have to our respected PM’s ticking off SC : Agree SC cant’ dictate policy to Government. But why did SC intervene ? Because millions of tonnes of food grains were rotting in the gowdowns while Pawar and his clowns were busy doing other things. If PM / Cabinet Minister had got its act right in the first place and taken action, they would be no case in SC !

  4. Anshuman Patel Says:

    Thanks Churumuri – for Parsa Jr.’s article is thought provoking.

    I do hope the other religions pick up this aspect of community service from Sikhism. Hindus being the largest block ought to take the lead. I hope our religious Gurus, sadhu, sants evolve a similar or any other effective model where in funds donated/generated in the name of God goes back to his poorest and most feeble of the flock.

    Parsa says there seems to be a moral disconnect or lack of morals that makes us apathetic towards the suffering of others (ofc apart from railing against the Govt. that is). We have several morals alright – many don’t drink, don’t lie, don’t eat meat, don’t gamble and so on. But then I suspect lack of empathy isn’t considered as amoral or immoral.

    Is it because we are mostly taught what not to do ( eg. Basavanna : Kalabeda, kolabeda, husiya nudiyalu beda…) rather than what one ought to do ie duty towards society or community? Does our Karma centric theory makes us more of an individualistic seeker of self-realization rather than reaching out to the others in distress?

  5. kaangeya Says:

    Parsa as usual is lazy. No mention at all about Akshayapatra, the world’s largest soup kitchen

  6. Vinay Says:

    I will start donating cash to temples if they begin distribution of food to the poor.

  7. Nastika Says:

    Govt can give grains to temples when it has surplus. About years when the harvet is bad and Govt doesn’t have to buy excess grains from market? Who is give grains to temples then?

    My question is, is this practice sustainable?

  8. prasad Says:

    These poor people should all be elected unopposed as MP’s and MLA’s with out any salary. At least they will get food at Rs12 per meal like our pooooooooor Politicians, this includes our PM and Pawar.
    When free TV and Gas stoves are given free to all Card holders in TN ( this includes all IAS and IPS officers) at Tax payers money, why not rotten and to rot food grain to the really poor?

  9. jaya Says:

    When Jayalalita was the CM of TN, she started an anna danam programme in all temples to the poor people. She had installed a Hundi in all temples for this specific purpose and the collection is used for this Nobel cause. As Pattu says this can be done. Where ever there is a will there is a way!

  10. DailyBread Says:

    >lack of empathy isn’t considered as amoral or immoral.Is it because we are mostly taught what not to do…

    Agenda or ingorance?. Our society has always talked about the importance of Anna daana, vidya daana. Anyone who utters bhiksham dehi will not be sent back without some food. Basavanna also talked about Kayakave Kaillasa……

  11. Anshuman Patel Says:

    @DailyBread:

    >>Agenda or ingorance?.

    No agenda or jhanda, yes possibly ignorance you can say. Because apart from a few noble initiatives such as Akshayapatra or anna-santarpanas at few temples/Mathas, I haven’t heard much by way of charity by my fellow religionists. Are there many such initiatives or institutional measures to mirror the concept of Langar of Sikhs in our midst? Please enlighten me – stray cases are bound to be there but something of the scale that would do justice to the 80+ crore community please. One or even two swallows don’t make a summer. Is it a way of life for us as Langar is for Sikhs? I doubt but then I may be terribly wrong.

    >>Our society has always talked about the importance of Anna daana, vidya daana. Anyone who utters bhiksham dehi will not be sent back without some food.

    Yes, there has always been lot’s of talk. But what’s the current reality? No doubt we have a wonderful legacy but are the current practitioners upto scratch? Probably Sikhs talk and pontificate less and do more.

    >>Basavanna also talked about Kayakave Kaillasa…

    He is a great soul and so are many other saints of yore. Again what’s the reality? He talked about casteless society too..

  12. Pattu Says:

    //Our society has always talked about the importance of Anna daana, vidya daana. Anyone who utters bhiksham dehi will not be sent back without some food//

    It seeems like our society is comfortable in ensuring the dhanas are done by the individual for their own salvation, rather than look for community service. By and large,The trust on institutions to carry out community service is not prevailing.

    The few institutions that carry out the good work are not sufficient for this teeming poor.

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