—— Forwarded Message From: Pablo Bose
Do Full Stomachs Need a Push?
By Tokalogu Chumbawamba New Alipore Slum Circular Staff Writer Tuesday, January 15, 2002; Page A01
At a recent Calcutta meal cooked over a dung-stoked fire, four slum dwellers compared notes about the food stored in their home larders.
One is a senior rock-breaker at the State Happy Quarries. One has forty-five years of experience pressing fresh cow dung into hand-sized patties to be baked on the outside of slum walls. One lobbies passersby not to throw stones at his face as they pass his hovel, and one pulls a rickshaw full of sweaty tourists around the dirty streets of Calcutta.
Yet only one of them has any food at home.
This drives Sugit Sarkar nuts. Sarkar, assistant secretary for the ministry of the distribution of tiny packages of spoiled food in Calcutta, tells the story to illustrate the challenge of convincing Americans that for the vast majority of people around the world, mere subsistence–rather than technological wizardry–is the only big thing (Sarkar has a cupboard filled with at least six cans of baked beans). If these people don’t have food, what good will broadband access do them?
I could go on but I don’t want to belabour the point. The surreality of the distance between our lived experience and that of the vast majority who live outside the boundaries of the elites, whether in the North or the South, become increasingly bizarre.
—— End of Forwarded Message