The 'Million-Dollar Question': Why Does Hunger Stalk India?

By Mehul Srivastava - 2012-10-25T09:46:33Z

Photograph by Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

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Uncertain Income

To help figure out what was going wrong, I traveled to Auar, a village in Pratapgarh district, in Uttar Pradesh. I spent two weeks following Ghanshyam, a day laborer who owns little land and who suffers from tuberculosis.

With a meager, uncertain income that never exceeded $2 or $3 a day -- and was often less than that -- Ghanshyam supported his wife, Urmila, two teenaged sons and the wife of an older son whom I never saw. When I asked what had happened to his eldest, Ghanshyam looked away. Urmila, a quiet woman who rarely spoke to me unless her husband was nearby, later told me the son had gone to a city to look for work and never returned. He left behind two infant boys, more mouths to feed on the days they didn't spend at their maternal grandparents' home.

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