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इस माया, मुलायम की हालत तो देखो...

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इस माया, मुलायम की हालत तो देखो...
पांच साल पहले एनडीटीवी ने वाराणसी से 20 किमी पिंडारा गांव जाकर माया और मुलायम नामक दो बच्चों की बेबसी दुनिया के सामने रखी थी। पांच साल बाद हम फिर उनका हाल जानने पहुंचे, तो पता चला कि उनकी जिंदगी में कुछ नहीं बदला है।
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Mulayam, Maya namesakes fight malnutrition Sanket Upadhyay

Sunday, August 05, 2007 (Varanasi)  

The focal point of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati - icons of UP's two decade old caste based political setup - has been to bring backwards to the mainstream.

Ground reality, though, is starkly divorced from respective missions.

Raitara area of Pindra village is on the outskirts of Varanasi, barely 5 km from Varanasi's Baabatpur Airport.

It houses 35 families of the Musahar tribe, traditionally known for eating rats.

Among the last in the India's caste setup, people here spend up to five days without food. Even one can count the bones on a child's body.

But the real shock is something other than these stark realities.

Meet five-year old Maya and Mulayam. Unlike their political namesakes, they sit together. At 5 any attempt to make them walk makes them cry and they eventually crawl.

Mulayam Singh Yadav wanted to make UP Uttam Pradesh and Mayawati wants to make it Sarvottam Pradesh. But the irony lies right in this small village of Varanasi where the two namesakes of the two big state leaders suffer from grade four malnutrition.

If they are not given immediate medical assistance, we might not have them between us anymore.

Help needed

Mulayam weighs just 10 kilogrammes. Malnutrition has reduced his visibility to half, his left eye ball is swollen and he can't hear properly.

His medical examination reveals lack of proper food behind his retarded growth, something the family can't help.

Mulayam's mother Reshma, tells that only one meal is cooked in a day and that too only if there is an income above Rs 20.

"We are really troubled. He does not speak or either move, medication is on," said Reshmaa.

Maya's condition is no better. She weighs nine kilos and she is sixth of the seven children in her family.

Her health graph shows the need of desperate medical aid or she will die, but Maya has spent two days without food. Affording medicines is a luxury for her mother Jeeutaa.

Maya's father goes out in search of some job everyday but the caste divide places him so low on priority of the upper castes that quite often he returns empty hand.

"Sometimes we get Rs 20, sometimes Rs 30, sometimes Rs 40, now what can we get in Rs 40? What should I give these children to eat? There is a lot of problem. We also have to manage medicines," said Jeeotaa.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has issued a hunger alert on the internet for both the children seeking immediate medical intervention.

It so happened that these children are named after two of Uttar Pradesh's most powerful and influential Chief Ministers.

PVCHR, an independent body working for rights of the Musahars, claims that around 176 members of different backward tribes have died due to malnutrition in the last three years - around 40 per cent of them little children.

Musahars' low status in the caste hierarchy keeps them out of government food and employment schemes like ration cards, antyodaya cards and even help from the aanganwaadis.

One out of every three malnourished in the world is from India and 56 per cent of aadivasi children in the country are malnourished.

With many more Mulayam and Maya's representing this reality, it's a challenge too big for our country, which is on a mission to halve the presence of underweight in pre-school children by 2015 under the United Nations Millennium Development Goal.


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