Indifference to hunger


Sujit De

Pope Francis has denounced indifference to hunger, exploitation and other sufferings as “a grave sin, modern sin and a sin of today” before Mother Teresa canonisation. While there is no doubt, this is a grave sin, such indifference cannot be viewed as something new. In fact, Tagore criticized our indifference to human sufferings in his song, “Oh, what a spring!” (“aaha, aaji e basante”) indeed, in the nineteenth century. Tagore wrote, “Let those who are enjoying, enjoy themselves / Let them enjoy the enjoyable spring to its last / Those happy guys must not see/ The teardrop of a poor girl. / They pretend not to see, / They pretend not to understand, / They turn their heads”. Then, Bob Dylan exposed our hypocrisy and callous indifference to human sufferings in his famous song, “Blowin’ in the wind” in the twentieth century.
The song said, “Yes, how many times can a man turn his head / Pretending he just doesn’t see? / The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind / The answer is blowin’ in wind”. So, we see that this human callousness is not a modern phenomenon but a chronic disease for centuries.
—Kolkata, India