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Eggs excluded from midday meals

Editor,

It is horrifying to learn that as many as 12 Indian states have banished egg from midday meal as a result of government’s reservation against non-vegetarian items. It is a brutal act as surveys reveal that most of the students as well as their parents are eager for its inclusion. This is quite natural as some estimates show that 3 out of 4 Indians are non-vegetarian. Word has it that egg banishment has been done to satisfy upper caste vegetarian lobbies. Moreover, in some schools and anganwadis, Dalit students are reportedly made to sit separately from upper caste students. They are allegedly given insufficient food and served last. Such things are criminal offences and totally against our Constitution.  A nutritious and hearty midday meal can indeed check dropout rate as well as malnutrition among our children. It is highly unfortunate, to say the least, of allowing prejudices to rob non-vegetarian children of a nutritious food item of their choice in a secular country like ours.

Given that we have 48.2 million hungry, malnourished children with stunted growth in our country, this showcases our myopic attitude towards our own children. Moreover, according to the 2018 Global Hunger report, India, Djibouti and South Sudan are the countries where child wasting are most prevalent. Children under the age of five who become victims of acute under-nutrition with low weight for their height, are tagged in the group of child wasting.

Eggs are highly nutritious. Further, sweets can be adulterated but a boiled egg cannot. Huge amount of eggs go bad every year in India due to lack of cold storage. Therefore, such a tragic decision of banishing eggs from anganwadis and schools will make more eggs go bad along with the health of our future citizens.  The Midday meal scheme should have been used to give more amount of nutritious food to the students of anganwadis and schools to address the problem of malnutrition among children. Government should see to it that no prejudice deprives young ones from getting safe and nutritious food items. Students should also enjoy the meal together and learn the ideals of equality and fraternity. It will be suicidal if we fail our children for the sake of prejudices.

Yours etc., 

Sujit De,

Via email

Arguing about politics

Editor,

In an age where Christian leaders seem to have a their own views and opinions about politics, it might be important to find out what was Jesus Christ’s opinion when it comes to politics. Some of the religious and political leaders approached Him and asked the question, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” Jesus knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” So they brought the denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

What was astonishing about Jesus’ response  was that he avoided falling into their trap, by giving a simple yes or no answer.  The coin Jesus asked for was used not only as currency, but as instruments of Roman propaganda. The front of the denarius had a profile of Tiberius, crowned with laurels of victory and divinity. Around the image is the inscription “Ti Caesar Divi Aug F Augustus,” which means “Tiberius Caesar, Worshipful Son of the God, Augustus.” On the back of the coin is Pax, the Roman goddess of Peace, with the inscription “Pontif Maxim,” which stands for “Pontifex Maximus,” meaning “High Priest.” So the denarius imposes the cult of emperor worship which asserts Caesar’s sovereignty over all who would use it.

Jesus meant that Caesar cannot be given what he really wants which is ultimate allegiance and acceptance of his system of exclusion and discipline, but rather what he deserves. By responding in this manner Jesus introduced the first theory of limited government at that time.  Every king or governor claimed they were the choice of God.  Jesus told people not to give their allegiance to rulers. This was revolutionary.  Jesus took the following two approaches in answering the political question of the Pharisees. He resisted political simplicity, but also resisted political complacency and primacy. Jesus advocated neither acceptance of the political system nor revolt against it. In a sense Jesus was a social revolutionary of his time. As a revolutionary he spoke about the kingdom of God, but never  showed any signs of  hunger for earthly power. He claimed to be a King but did not even have a quarter to His name. He demonstrated to us a kingdom that has outlasted the mighty Roman Empire itself.

Yours etc.,

Pyndapbha Warjri

Shillong-2

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