Fighting for food security in India | Biraj Swain | Global development | guardian.co.uk

Traditional conceptions of security have long been critiqued by critical theorists who wish to move a way from nation state focused to security to a model where the security of the individual human life is paramount and not considered a something that can and will be sacrificed for the goals of nation-state security.  Changing the parameters of security also means changing what is considered a security issue. Threats to individual human beings are diverse and consist of issues such as lack of food, lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation, lack of healthcare etc..

I read an interesting article about how the fight for food security in India has taken shape:

Fighting for food security in India | Biraj Swain | Global development | guardian.co.uk.

I am no expert on the Indian context, but there are some things I do know. The gap between rich and poor is vast, and the experiment with neo-liberal development has not shrunk this gap, in fact it has resulted in a divide that is wider than it ever has been.   The concepts of neo-liberal development, with investment in cash crops and industry have led the great migration from rural areas to the industrial centers, places like Mumbai and Delhi. It has become increasingly clear that the neo-liberal model of development serves only to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The long awaited trickle down effect is a mass delusion.

This process began a long time ago, when the British Raj forced subsistence farmers to farm cash crops such as opium and indigo which could be sold to British markets.

The fact that it has taken 11 years of activism and litigation to even get to the draft bill stage is extremely saddening. If it passes this law will be a step in the right direction but only a step. So much more needs to be done, legislative change frequently does not mean real change on the ground and corruption is rife in India. It is so embedded in some states that people cannot even imagine what it would be like without it. Corruption will result in the continuation of unfair land practices and the mismanagement of valuable resources that could be providing food security for millions.

This issue also serves to illustrate how all things are connected. We cannot have food security without protecting the environment, we cannot protect the environment without sustainable farming practices and so on and so forth. At the end of the day food security, and human security in general is about valuing individual human lives over dollars. This is something that needs to be done the world over. The more that we value the individual human life, and the things that sustain it and provide it with dignity, the more functional society becomes. A fully functioning society should look out for everyone, not simply meet the needs of the most privileged. This is  not some idealistic pipe-dream. Yes it is hard and difficult and will take a long time, but it is not impossible.

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