Data Durbar: Food Crisis

Posted on May 6, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development, Society
39 Comments
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Adil Najam

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These photographs were taken at Daata Sahib (Daata Darbar), Lahore, on Sunday, May 4, by Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti. The suggested photo description reads:

Pakistani[s] struggle to get a piece of bread during a food distribution outside the Data Durbar mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, May 4, 2008. World rice and other grains prices have risen sharply this year because of growing demand, poor weather and rising cost of petroleum in some grain-producing countries. Some Asian countries, including India and Vietnam, recently suspended rice exports to guarantee their own supplies.

The current – and future – food crisis (in Pakistan and elsewhere) is something that I spend a lot of time thinking about in my professional life these days. And Daata Sahib is a place I have been visiting for longer than I can remember. Based on this, I can say that had the photographer gone to Data Sahab at just about any time he could have taken such photographs of people who come to get food being distributed as charity by the devotees. That fact notwithstanding, the pictures are poignant metaphors for a food crisis that is real and shows all signs of becoming ever more real for ever more people. And all over the world, including in Pakistan.

In the case of Pakistan, the food crisis comes hand in hand with an energy crisis and in an environment already rife with political uncertainty and extremist threats. Food and energy shortages could become worse this summer. Food shortages do not make a companion to long periods of energy outages (load-shedding). This is a dangerous mix and those currently engrossed in political shenanigans might soon find that their best laid political plans would come to naught if these basic needs remain unmet.

Passions flared by empty stomachs and load-shedding induced restlessness can be a terrible thing.

39 responses to “Data Durbar: Food Crisis”

  1. Aasim says:

    If we keep simply watching this all (as we have been doing since long) then definitely we cannot save ourselves. The first stage to save ourselves from bigger crises is to save others (near us) from the crises that we can heal. At the second stage we can ask others to help healing those parts of the society that we (without their help/support) cannot do.

    I understand that I cannot feed everyone in this country/city but I cannot feed at least 1 or 2 such needy persons!

    Does it make sense. If yes then please own this message and forward for the betterment of society.

    May Allah bless us true acceptance of Islam and to be united for dealing with such community problems, just for the sake of saving ourselves!

  2. someone told me recently that half of karachi’s mother have lost the ability to lactate. i dont know how this figure was calculated but thats there, malnutrition and undernutrition.

    do we have a schindler among us? will that help?

  3. Ghulam Farid says:

    the crisises are all going to hit together this summer which will make life hell for too many Pakistanis and I think that will have political reactions on the give

    Let’s see what happens

  4. Fahim says:

    Food shortage is part mismanagement part world crisi. Anyone who reads the news should figure that out.
    Pakistan’s leadership hasn’t bothered to use their minds indeodnentally, they just listen to others who don’t really help the situation in the long run.

    here’s an article which discusses the complexity of the crisis:
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/hattingh060508.htm l
    Liberalizing Food Trade to Death
    by Shawn Hattingh

    By the way, no country has been mismanaged as the US,and this country’s minsmanagement has worlwide implications, let alone for those living here.

    I suggest you read Kevin Phillips new book.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JE10Dj 02.html

    May 10, 2008

    BOOK REVIEW
    A new voice to Paine’s cry of rebellion
    Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips

  5. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    @Ali Dada,

    Aiy Dada !
    kindly don’t forget you had the “chance
    to leave” the country for further studies,
    atleast3 hours per day you have to thank Pak Passport, Nationality, Flag and your parents who are probably in Pakistan.

    Dada mian,
    After 34 years I still owe to my country every thing, I have
    taken from her, but never given anything to her, I am ashamed and I regret. Apna watan , watan hota hay, there is no alternative to that, Allah SWT gave me and you this honour, it is in our blood because we were born there,
    your outrage is comprehensible.

    YOU AND ME MUST BE LOUD AND PROUD TO SAY
    PAKISTAN ZINDAHBAAD

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