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Mind Nutrition ‘Backwardness’ Connection

(surmil2000@gmail.com)

According to Vedanta the food solids and liquids one eats nourish the body in
different ways. The gross part, constituting roughage is rejected by the body as
waste products. The less gross but finer parts go to build our physical body system
constituting blood, bones, flesh etc. The finest part goes to build our mind and
manifests in our faculties of speech and actions. It is also explained that the three
constituents making up this system are spoken of as being represented by Earth,
Water and Fire. The earth part represents the gross body, the water part the vital
life force PRANA, The fire part constitutes our mental make up which motivates
our actions in life and ‘fires’ our speech. (Chandogya Upanishad Chapter6.4 and
6.5.) Modern behavior science terms this as having ‘ARTICULATE’ and a
“DRIVEN” personality. In Vedic terminology the word used is MANYU. Which
means one yolk his mind? He develops the ability to discern, question and be self
motivated. And not be having a blind faith in religious teachers, politicians, and
media glitterati

It is obvious, that India may be a country with over a billion people but can we say
that an average Indian , and that is all Hindus, all castes included, all Muslims and
Christians, is endowed with Manyu to be discerning and self propelled? Does this
not explain why in a country of over a billion people we are hard put to produce
Olympian athletes, Noble Prize winners, original thinkers and path breaking tail
blazing individuals, rather than also ran copy cats.
It further says in Chandogya6.4.5 that this was common knowledge obtained from
Vedas and known to all the wise people & those who learned it, preached and
practiced it. When certain sections of our society chose to confine all ‘knowledge’
and access to that knowledge only to their own families and clans , a large part of
our society suffered not only in social skills from this segregation but among
other things deprivation of knowledge relating to nutritional aspects directly
impacted on the intellectual vitality, physical health and disease resistance of the
body, in addition to gross social deprivation and exploitation, to leave us in utter
misery. Apart from legislative half hearted tinkering and charitism we have not
touched the root of the problem which is to empower the minds of our coming
youth.

This mind nutrition analysis is now being fully supported by modern scientific
researches.

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The Mental Health foundation in UK has in its reports shown specific linkage of
the following behavioral conditions as traceable to specific deficiency of fresh
green vegetables, dairy products, nuts and oils in the diets. Eating left over and
stale food is also considered undesirable.
Inappropriate and malnutrition result in:
1. Anxiety
2. Poor concentration and lack of attention
3. Poor memory
4. Irritability
5. Stress
6. Confusion
7. Insomnia
8. Blank mind
9. Loss of appetite
10. Lack of motivation
All these represent the class of problems faced by us, more in our predominantly
urban poor school children and most of the rural population, transcending all caste
barriers, but affecting more the girl child, infants and mothers.

It is well recognized in the academic world that while long term ‘poverty’ affects
mental health and social behavior of the children, even children from ‘rich ‘
families suffer from malnutrition but of a different nature which is caused by
‘Junk’ inappropriate food.
China happens to be one country to day, which by ‘default’ has hit upon this
magical touch stone. If the United Nation’s reports are studied, it will be found that
it was China, which launched the most effective would be mother, child care and
nutrition system very efficiently more than two decades back. USA launched its
WIC (women-infant-child) care pragramme very recently in this decade only.
Any person visiting the China to day will be struck with one very important
observation. The Chinese society is not only predominantly young but also highly
discerning and self driven. With such a society after the children have gone
through their educational institutions, there is very little disciplining and executive
authority required to be exercised. One is not likely to see any policemen on the
roads, or any beggars or people loitering or crowding on the streets or road side.
Bertrand Russell would be shocked to see the loss of the ‘living finery of the east’.
A non resident foreigner is welcomed to start a 100% foreign owned business,
investment in infrastructure, industry with minimum hassle and very expeditiously.
Just as the developed world to day is being held to ‘ransom’ by the oil producing
nations, one would not be surprised at the developed world eating out of the hands
of China in the next decade for not only all its consumer ‘goodies’, but also for

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many strategic raw materials and metals. It will not come as surprise that China is
likely to emerge as the leading producer of strategic metals like copper, Gold and
silver in the coming years. They have not latched on to Tibetan and North East
India for nothing. To day China is producing 200 tons of Gold per year and 8000
tons of copper per year. In most basic metals from cheapest Steel to most
upcoming modern strategic metal Magnesium they are the largest producers in the
Chinese have not neglected their farm structure either.
Their farm yield per hectare is not only equal to the best in US agriculture, but
they are self sufficient in their food requirements in the world to day. All this has
happened in spite of the fact that China embarked on a nation building program
nearly thirty years after India.
Various experts fro all over the world have been analyzing the 'Chinese'
phenomenon... But the management experts and technocrats are apt to miss the
HRD angle of the new generation of Chinese Youth which is silently bringing
about this revolution.
In fact if you were to ask a Chinese whether they are Capitalist, Socialist or
communist, the answer would be that they are pragmatists. They and their Govts
and institutions are doing what is in their best interests.

We in India have a long way to go, but should have a simultaneous strategy for
would be mothers, infants and child nutrition and health care as a long term
strategy. And this is an area not for the Govt to work upon but for working of all
voluntary and self help groups.

The traditional Indian food comprised of lots of green leafy and raw vegetables and
fresh dairy products, nuts and kernels from pumpkins melons almonds seeds etc. In
addition there was the tradition of consuming lot of fermented and preserved
vegetables, cereals and dairy products. The modern science now gives those names
like Probiotics and Microbial Nutrition. It was also an Indian tradition to avoid
stale food as far as possible. This again is fully endorsed by modern nutrition
experts.
Need is appreciated to make affirmative interventions on eating habits, awareness
about the food mind linkage and availability of locally grown fresh cheap green
leafy vegetables and dairy products.
At International levels role of ‘School kitchen Gardens’ and involvement of
parents in the midday meal schemes of their children in the schools is well
recognized.
It is suggested that our NGOs operating particularly in our rural areas may like to
consider the possibilities of initiating such programmes. Lack of open land space
and irrigation water availability in schools; have been very competently dealt with

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by introducing HYDROPONICS vegetables growing. This is a very interesting and
innovative strategy. The children find this a very interesting skill but it also opens
up better farming skill opportunities for the masses.
Promotion of rural cattle and its up gradation is also a very cost effective and
sustainable activity for this nutritional initiative.