By Nitum Jain:
Big word it is: Hunger. It rules the world, it rules our mind. Every person on this planet is plagued by Hunger, you don’t think you are — but you definitely are. It even has degrees and types, there is Hunger for food and nourishment, there is Hunger for the flesh, there is Hunger for knowledge, there is Hunger for money, and one who is free of any of these Hungers is simply a figment of our imagination.
Hunger, as we generally see it, pops images of emaciated African children and the old couple of Indian villages in our heads. This is just the base of the pyramid, where a stomach full of water is all one takes to bed. How far can one go to sate this kind of Hunger? What can it make you do? Abject poverty can make a person turn towards crime, homicide, suicide and insanity; Orissa is one of the most culturally rich states in our country but it is the same state where a man forces himself to pimp his daughter for as less as twenty rupees to quench that beast inside his belly. Hunger. It can make a mother poison her children so they don’t have to suffer what she is suffering. It can make the almost-adult son take up a gun and join groups which set out to burn holes in the government ‘that doesn’t care if its people are starving to their deaths’. It can make the harmless looking little girl swipe your wallet the moment you look the other way. It can even make you take a knife to your jugular, close your eyes, and finish this need once and for all. Twisted? Yes it is twisted and far more ingrained in the history and the minds of the hungry than what the gnarled and bony limbs show.
Hunger is not just the burning sensation in your stomach; it is also the overriding desires of your body. It is the same sensation that made the tourist pay twenty rupees to the father for an hour with his fifteen-year-old daughter. It is the desperation that makes you forget all vows of marriage. It is the reason why young little bodies suffer under the possessed male primal being. It is the reason why human beings are loaded in trucks and trains in the middle of the night to be taken to the bazaars where these ‘wares’ are to be displayed the next day. It is the reason which makes you forget humanity, makes you pounce on the lone woman in the street, drag her to the dark alley and destroy her life. You need not be poor to feel this one, the marginal already have one hunger to deal with before they can afford to take on this one. Second level on the pyramid, this Hunger is the malady of the rapists, the paedophiles and the sex-addicts.
Knowledge is a good thing, everyone says. There is nothing like Too Much Knowledge. What about the knowledge that isn’t yours to know? Hard to believe it, but even the Hunger of knowledge is not a trait to be proud of. It can make one cross boundaries of another’s privacy. It is the reason why every third kid is a hacker. It is the reason why every nation spends a fortune on spies and ‘intelligence’. It is the reason why terrorists are equipped with latest ammunition and rogue nations have nukes. It is the reason why some giants of Media today are able to feed junk to the world which we gobble happily. It can turn one into a voyeur and make all of us lose all our precious secrets. It maybe of Knowledge but still Hunger it is, and Hunger has no good in it.
The tip of our Pyramid is made of gold, the capstone worth millions. It is the Hunger of money and wealth; one that is neck and neck with that of food. The poor have little so they dream of a little more; the rich have a lot so they dream of a lot more. This Hunger can make one commit every sin known to man, it can make you kill, steal, massacre, betray and seduce. It can make one wield a knife and butcher one’s own brother.
It is the reason the tax money fills Swiss bank vaults without a care for the nation. It is the root of every scam that flashes on the news channels. It is why a daughter-in-law is burned to death in her own kitchen. It is why criminals go scot free as the law pockets a thick wad. It is the reason why people are driven away from their homes as they live atop precious minerals. It is the reason why banks are robbed and innocents mugged. It is the reason why the peasants embrace the noose as the money-lenders rub their bellies. If you have money, you will have some knives and bullets with your name on them too. If you do not have money, you must own some of such knives and bullets.
I offer no solutions because I have none. I just see the problem and I see the ailment. The solution will only be visible when we find a healthy substitute fodder. As of now, the world is hungry, the nation is hungry, I am hungry and you are hungry.