India’s Fake Poverty Reduction Figures

Steve is a commenter who constantly apologizes for India and Indian culture and religion for unknown reasons. Here is his latest:

The percentage of the population living below the international poverty line is falling though, even according to the UN and World Bank. The UN millennium development goals report has the poverty rate falling from 51% in 1990 to 22% in 2015. In 2005, the World Bank had 41.6% living below the international poverty line.

But 1 dollar 25 is fuck all. Its enough to stay alive but that’s it. So hundreds of millions will be living on more than 1 dollar 25, maybe 1 dollar 50, maybe 2 or 3. But they are still pretty damn poor. India is a long way off having developed country standards of living for most of the population. But getting most people above the IPL is a good start I suppose, its progress.

It’s shit! It’s more lies! The poverty level will not drop to 25% in 3 years! No way!

Only 41% were below the poverty line in 2005, and even less now? What crap that is! Do you realize that many of those above the poverty level are starving?! The malnutrition rate is 50-55%. 50% of the children are permanently stunted from lack of food. So, according to the Indian state’s figures, many of those who are out of poverty are malnourished, and their children are permanently stunted from lack of food!

India doesn’t look to me like the underdeveloped sub-Saharan African countries ie royally fucked with no sign of progress. I think India will develop and have a significant middle class. The World Bank predicts it will overtake the American economy in size by like 2050 or something. I hope they get wind of toilet paper before then lol.

You are right. The starvation and the shitting outdoors is much worse than your average Black African country. I will give this much to Black Africans. I think average Black African at least cares about his people to some extent or another. Their leaders are nothing but thieves and probably do not care, but the African people do.

This what Steve doesn’t get about India. Indian people don’t care! Why is there so much poverty, starvation, shitting outdoors, homelessness, disease, horrific slums and open sewers in India? Because Indians don’t care! Higher caste Indians who run the country do not care about all of those people who are starving, dying of disease, holed up in slums, sleeping on the street, living beside open sewers, etc.

According to the Indian Hindu way of thinking, those people deserve what they are getting! And it’s nearly a sin to try to help them. At best, it’s pointless and useless. They are getting what they get due to karma, and those living more fortunate lives have already gone through Hell and have no obligation to try to help their lessers. Wealthy Indians give to their Hindu temples instead of giving to the poor because they do not want to see their money wasted on those scum low caste people.

India is probably one of the worst countries on the face of the Earth. Not only does it have the worst suffering on the planet, but the average Indian doesn’t give a flying fuck about all of the horrific suffering around him. He isn’t going to help out at best and at worst, he thinks they are getting what they deserve.

All of this goes back to Indian culture, which all goes back to Indian religion, Hinduism.

Fuck India.
Fuck Indian culture (Hindu culture).
Fuck Indian religion (Hindu religion).

146 Comments

Filed under Asia, Culture, Economics, Health, Hinduism, India, Nutrition, Regional, Religion, South Asia

146 responses to “India’s Fake Poverty Reduction Figures

  1. AlanJ

    Since you like fucking so much, you will fuck an Idea, an Religion and even God if you lay your hands on. Western originated industrialization has destroyed the environment, climate change, Chemical infested rivers, food etc.

    Most rational people in the west have given up on Christianity; taken to our export version Hinduism called Buddhism.

    Western critical thinking is basically linear, deductive; Most inventions though useful superficially , is very inefficient, energy dependent. Many inventions is plain improvisations, some serendipity, and major luck.

    It is easy to break a problem into small part, solve and integrate. How are you going to solve the future problems. Which are very complex?

    “Teach a Modern man how to make a rope; he will hang himself with that”.

    We have solved the most important quest of Human life, that is spiritual realization by renouncing all Materialism.
    Read NYTimes technology and Health issues everyday and correlate Technological advance with all health issues.

    Cray is getting Crazier.

    Intelligence without Wisdom is suicidal, God has saved the west last century; he wont in the future.

  2. Sharan Kumar

    Why is this gentleman linking poverty to Hinduism? Can this logic be extended to Christianity– Christian Hitler who exterminated the Jews?, christian europeans who killed, maimed and made the native americans lose their culture, identity and religion?
    As far as India is concerned, you are right, there is a huge sanitation problem. And there is gross indifference on the part of the politicians. I agree.
    Nothing can justify the apathy towards the have-nots. The money given to the temples is black money. It is one way of laundering. The ones who work on policies have their priorities wrong. Instead of a down-top model, it is the other way that brings wealth by means of FDI that only serves to widen the rift between the rich and the poor, that is of interest to the politicos. My friend, in the past, we have had the most developed civilizations in the world, complete with showers and flush toilets.From what was to what is, it is a sea change, for the bad.
    Hinduism can be used to instill confidence and national pride to bring about much needed social change. We need leaders who have iimmense national pride and work conscientiously for the betterment of the poor. Unfortunately, indifference and arrogance has come to dominate the indian psyche. But, things will change. Wait and see.
    Please don’t link religion to economy. The two are exclusive. I don’t write a reply because I’m Hindu. Ye followers of Abrahamic faiths, learn to respect the Other for what he/she is and not convert him/her to your religion, by hook or by crook. While you criticize, can you stretch your imagination a little bit and propose solutions?, coz I believe, any kid can criticize. Grow up!

  3. Bay Area Guy

    Steve is a commenter who constantly apologizes for India and Indian culture and religion for unknown reasons.

    Well, I say he’s either one of those guilt-ridden white Brits who thinks he can atone for his country’s colonial past by heaping praise upon India. Or he’s one of those typical wimpy, self-hating whites who holds Eastern culture and spirituality in awe, contrasting it with oppressive, hateful Western culture.

    Dota knows his type very well.

    • Dota

      Steve isn’t too bad and he does keep me in line when I go over the top sometimes. But the wimpy whites abound, even here in Saskatchewan which I’m coming to realize is the last Bastian of whitey in Canada. Vancouver looks like another country altogether.

      • Bay Area Guy

        Yeah, white Canadians are pretty pathetic. They make white Americans look like white Russians.

        • Dota

          Actually BAG I had just had lunch with another friend over the weekend and during our discussion he mentioned that he was ”moderately” proud of being white. This brings the score to

          Dota: 2
          BAG: 0

          Get your head in the game man! :D
          Ok to be fair, Saskatchewan is part of Canada’s bible belt and so the advantage is mine.

        • Bay Area Guy

          Haha, you know Dota, this is a game I actually don’t mind losing! :-)

          Just curious, though. What makes your white friends and co-workers willing to confide in you regarding their views on race? I just ask, because from what I’ve gathered, your average white person wouldn’t be caught dead telling anyone, let alone a desi, that they’re proud of being white.

          Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, since I tend to conceal most of my views on race around my mainly non-white friends.

        • Dota

          BAG

          I’m not sure, but I make them feel comfortable once they realize that I’m not their enemy and that my interests do not conflict with theirs. You might need to change your approach. You’re talking to your liberal friend about immigration, ie assuming a bottom up approach. Start with a top down approach by discussing the uniqueness of western civilization and drawing him to common ground. Then tackle issues like immigration and feminism and how it harms the interests of the majority. If you can get them to agree with you on the uniqueness of Western civilization, perhaps they might be inclined to defend it. Try to do this without denigrating other cultures. Nationalism is to quite a degree like sex, it cannot be suppressed. I simply create an environment which is friendly and non judgmental. I suspect most whites are indeed secretly proud of who they are without crossing the line into racism. The media has programmed whites into thinking that white nationalism = racism whereas other ethnic nationalisms are fine. A German/Swedish co-worker at the office simply cannot see anything of value in his culture. He cannot see Strauss or Beethoven or Bismark, all he sees is the Holocaust. This kid is a lost cause. You can’t win em all either.

        • Hacienda

          “The media has programmed whites into thinking that white nationalism = racism whereas other ethnic nationalisms are fine.”

          Among the many sillinesses of the WNs is the belief that the media has great undue influence. It works as a shill for bloggers like Sailor who need donations on the premise that he dispenses the Truth, while the mass media is some sort of hypnotic LIE. LOL.

          Here’s the reality:

          http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-05-17/minority-births-census/55029100/1

          It’s math. Anyway whites are 12% are world. Non-whites are free to ignore white commentary. But, you knew that right?

        • Dota

          “Among the many sillinesses of the WNs is the belief that the media has great undue influence. ”

          It does, given how atomized society is.

        • Bay Area Guy

          @ Hacienda

          As usual, your bizarre, off the wall commentary provides great entertainment.

          It’s math. Anyway whites are 12% are world.

          Your point being???

          If anything, that’s all the more reason for whites to become more ethnocentric, self-interested, and united.

        • Bay Area Guy

          Whites are a minority in the world (which they’ve always been), but they’re still the majority in the West.

          Also, keep in mind that the white percentage goes down on account of certain places such as China and India (among many other countries) being heavily overpopulated. Whites still have a viable presence in most of the world.

        • Hacienda

          BAG,

          I know. There’s nothing you’ve ever said I didn’t know. You’re arithmetic. I’m calculus.

        • Bay Area Guy

          You’re arithmetic. I’m calculus.

          LOL, ah, you’re random, bizarre, off the wall statements are always a great source of entertainment, Hacienda.

        • Bay Area Guy

          You might need to change your approach. You’re talking to your liberal friend about immigration, ie assuming a bottom up approach.

          I guess my problem is that I need to come into those conversations with a better understanding of where my liberal Republican friend is coming from.

          He’s an ultra affluent, Orange County type of white person, whose wealth and location allow him to live in a bubble. I highly doubt he’s encountered a good number of black and Hispanic people in his life, as I have.

          So as a result, he tends not to think that white people like himself face a deep crisis, because he lives in a mental world where people like himself are still firmly in charge, and where black and brown people aren’t really much of a threat. As a result of this, he identifies mainly as just a plain “American,” something your average non-white person in the U.S. wouldn’t be caught dead doing.

          (I have yet to meet a non-white person who identifies as just plain “American”)

          He lacks white racial consciousness.

          I think I have a way to get to him though.

          Despite his liberal views on immigration and multiculturalism, he identifies as a fiscal conservative. Therefore, to get through to him, all I have to do is point out the fundamental contradiction between open borders and multiculturalism, and fiscal conservatism combined with limited government. As the non-white population continues to grow in number and gain more political power, they will increasingly vote themselves more welfare/government benefits, and overall increase the size of government. I’ll also point out to him that, on a fundamental level, non-whites prefer big government, and that if demographic changes continue unabated, he can kiss conservatism goodbye.

          Nationalism is to quite a degree like sex, it cannot be suppressed.

          I should print that out, frame it, and put it on a wall.

          Just like sex, most people have trouble finding nationalism, and just like sex, it’s not something you talk about in polite company.

          But it’s definitely there, and the desire for it exists within everyone, just like sex.

        • Hacienda

          “It does, given how atomized society is.”

          My point was as media relates to or pulls a fast one on the white public. Somehow deceiving whites into being overrun by coloreds. AFAIK, the media is run by whites who really don’t differ politically all that much from white America. They are not an evil enslaving class specifically out to end whitey. Although, I’m pretty sure they are an evil enslaving class out to end mankind as we know it.

        • Richard Hall

          (I have yet to meet a non-white person who identifies as just plain “American”) I see ethnic nationalisms as this, everyone should be proud of there race or no one should be, Dota is right that every race wants there own nationlism, the problem I have with WN is that most seem crazy very few are like BAG, it seem the last thing they want is Black or brown people to do well on are own. I dont hate whites who want control over white nations but i want my race to do well or at least self sufficient to an extent.

      • Steve

        thanks…I guess :-P

        isn’t it irritating when people think they know your ‘type’?

    • Steve

      Wrong and wrong again. Just…wrong. Unlucky. Try again. And see my statement below.

  4. Aakash

    Robert

    Disagree a lot about culture and religion. But the article is true fundamentally. Indian data is all artificial. Don’t fucking believe any Indian governmental officer or any of the India Shining bullshit.

    India is a shining piece of donkey crap.

    • Steve

      I was actually quoting UN data in the context of a discussion about how the Indian government fudges its statistics to look good, which I initiated.

    • Dota

      Interestingly enough AI, the Rig Veda contains numerous prayers for alleviating poverty and harnessing wealth. This has led some intellectuals like Jayantanuja Bandyopadhyaya to believe that the Vedic civilization was indeed very poor and caste certainly did not help. India’s social structure has ensured poverty in the land of plenty for thousands of years it seems.

      • Pepperoncini

        Contrast caste society and the stark disparities of Indian society to the Indus Valley Civ which choose to provide a relatively luxurious living for the many instead of building a few monumental structures that would serve the few. This is another glaring difference between IVC and Vedic Hindu India but the Hindutvavadis ignore it and claim the 2 are created by the same culture.

        • ding

          it is very easy to deride hindus of any form of superiority
          there is also an underwater city of dwarka near gujrat. which is much bigger & advanced than rome..will you also call krishna’s city as non hindu.
          .Dwarka is famous for its temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and is of great importance in the ancient Hindu tradition. It and other coastal sites have ample antiquities, mainly potsherds, suggesting maritime trade and commerce with the Mediterranean countries around the Christian era. This flourishing harbor and religious capital is believed to have submerged under the sea after the Krishna left dwarka for vaikunth.

      • AlanJ

        Rig Veda is all about Nature; No Money; From which Planet are you from?

    • Aakash

      AI

      I’d agree with Arun Shourie on this. It was a “socialist protectionist” rate of growth as opposed to a “Hindu” rate of growth. By the time the markets had opened, the mad scramble for wealth left India in the mess that it is in today.

      Interesting about Ahmedabad.

      Obviously the only reason people are after the moolah and don’t care about the neighbor is because even Indians know that India is hopeless. So stash away and your future generations will do the same.

    • ding

      it’s not the hindu rate of growth.
      call it the russian rate of growth for adopting the soviet model of devlopment by jawaharlal ghazi(again a muslim)..he shud have had the common sense to avoid russians .terrible flaw of his career but anyway
      all glories to the great ghazi(since he is not a hindu).all curses to hindus for they are hindus…wow! hindus dont even have the right to choose their form of devlopment,nobody dare ask them coz they are plain shitty hindus just label it ‘the hindu growth rate’

  5. @ Dota
    Interesting. I had a Bengali college professor with the same last name, Bandopadhay. During one of our informal coffee chats, he mentioned that Huen Tsang, the Chinese monk who travelled through India in the 7th century spoke of the extreme poverty and mistreatment of lower caste people in India (pouring lac, dismemberment, etc.). For some strange and inexplicable reason, this part of history is not mentioned in history textbooks of mainland India. Only the parts where Huen Tsang writes about the wealth of the nobles and kings is mentioned, as if all Indians lived in style in the 7th century AD.
     
    Contemporary Indian history in school textbooks also claim that India contributed over 35% of the world’s GDP in 17th century. No evidence or source is given. Another thing that isn’t mentioned is that after Indians lost the 1857 mutiny, Hindu priests found a novel way to chase away the British. They performed countless havans and human child sacrifices for years, hoping that Shiva will rise and with his dreaded third eye, burn the British imperialists to oblivion. (Archives of Sir Charles Wilkins in the government libraries of Kolkata).
     
    Also, the 1857 revolt failed in UP after Muslims were the only forces fighting, while the Hindus went on a pre-emptive victory rampage, a bhang drunk rape and massacre orgy against the British officers and their wives/daughters. Even the Mughals were disgusted at this barbarity. (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who recorded the memoirs and testimonials of prisoners in Rangoon).
     
    It seems the only way people like Sharan Kumar can feel the ‘Hindu pride’ is by outright lying and omission of the inedible and violent bits of their religious history. And of course, telling gullible western people about what a religion of tolerance and peace, Hinduism is.

    • Bay Area Guy

      Contemporary Indian history in school textbooks also claim that India contributed over 35% of the world’s GDP in 17th century.

      Yup, that’s something that my chauvinistic Bangladeshi/desi friend once told me. He claimed that when the Brits came to India, they were in awe of the great civilization they encountered, that the Brits were the barbarians who only conquered India because of gunpowder, etc.

      He neglected to mention that which you described.

      Instead, like many frustrated post-colonial/post-modernist desis, he seems to subscribe to some romanticized vision of India’s past, a paradise lost to the oppressive white man.

      Normally, I let most of his shit slide, but after reading enough of yours and Dota’s, I think I’ll start challenging him from now on.

      • Pepperoncini

        Don’t forget to tell him how it was the British who put a stop to the Hindu practice of burning alive widows on the dead husband’s funeral pyre. There were some Indians who joined the Brits in opposing it.

        The Mughals also tried to outlaw it. Berber Muslim geographer Ibn Batuta described how he fainted upon seeing a Sati. Batuta who hailed from a time and place that was all to familiar with slavery and other brutal practices still found Sati too much , so one can imagine what a wicked and barbaric soicety South Asia was/is.

        • Dota

          “The Mughals also tried to outlaw it. ”

          I doutbt it, do you have a source? The Muslims were only interested in their tax revenues and were content to leave the local barbarians to their own devices. John P Jones correctly observed over a 100 years ago that the Indian Muslim was in no way morally superior to the Hindu.

  6. Pepperoncini

    Robert hit a home run with this blo entry. Some people might bristle at his bluntness but he is for all intents and purposes spot on.

    And yes Sub Saharan Africa is less worse off and imho has a far far better potential for advancement.

    “There are more poor people in eight states of India than in the 26 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, a study reveals today.

    More than 410 million people live in poverty in the Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, researchers at Oxford University found. The “intensity” of the poverty in parts of India is equal to, if not worse than, that in Africa.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/14/poverty-india-africa-oxford

    • Steve

      Does it say why so much of the worst poverty is in to eight states that form a belt across part of the north roughly, I think? Has it got anything to do with the climate or landscape there or are they just more populous?

      • Pepperoncini

        It doesn’t say it but a major factor is that the crippling effects of caste was most pronounced in North India than the South. The North has the 4 caste system (Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisnavas and Shudras) and untoucables who are not a part of the 4 main castes . The South only had 2 castes, Brahmanas and Shudras and ofcourse untouchables. Indo Aryans never really forcefully dominated the South and caste in the South was an institution created by Brahmin emigrants from North India (5th collumn!) The South is better off because the Shudras retained much of their culture (most especially language) and unlike the North were not subjuated by the 3 other castes. The Maharajas and wealthiest South Indians were Shudra.

        • Steve

          Perhaps that is it then. but don’t both the north and south have hundreds of jatis? how exactly does caste cripple the north? or lead to poverty in rural areas?

  7. phatimabibi

    ‘I think India will develop and have a significant middle class.’

    That’s not what I’m seeing in India today.
    Truth be told there’s just an ever growing disparity between the top 10-20% of upper/middle class Indians and the 80% of Indians just struggling to get day by day.

    • Steve

      20% of 1 billion is 200 million- that’s a significant middle class and a large consumer market.

      • Steve

        As for the growing disparity, that is happening in the USA and China too. In fact, on the GIni coefficient, China and America have more income inequality than India. In other words, the income is concentrated at the top even more in China and America than in India! Of course, they are getting a smaller slice of a bigger pie.

        Development is always unequal, with some getting more and getting it sooner. But 200 million people out of poverty and with a good living standard is great for those 200 million people! It doesn’t have to stop there. The pie is getting bigger. The majority will benefit and income will rise for everyone.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          I’m reading Indian income tax law & came across this interesting number-

          There are only 35 million income tax payers in India out of a population of 1.2 billion.
          (The government of India imposes an income tax on taxable income of individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), companies, firms, co-operative societies and trusts (identified as body of individuals and association of persons) and any other artificial person. Levy of tax is separate on each of the persons.)

          For comparison about half of US citizens pay income tax.

        • Hi Phatimabibi,

          “There are only 35 million income tax payers in India out of a population of 1.2 billion.”

          I think this maybe a common issue in 3rd world countries. For example here is the statistic for Indonesia (summarised from http://www.pajak.go.id/node/54 ):

          Population: 230 million
          Labor Force: 110 million
          Potential Taxpayers (people who can afford to pay tax): 50 million
          Registered Taxpayers: 20 million
          Taxpayers who completed and submitted their tax forms: 9 million

          So there is a big gap between the population and the people who are willing and able to pay taxes. Now the Indonesian tax agency wants to increase the number of Registered Taxpayer to 50 million by 2014. They already have 20 million on their database. They just need to add another 30 million :(

          Conclusion: Indonesians are worse than Greeks when it comes to paying taxes. :(

        • Steve

          Bibi,

          Interesting but I don’t quite get what point you are making by that….

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          Ummm…..like maybe there isn’t much of a tax base in India? Even though India claims that poverty is decreasing the number of Indians making the minimum amount to pay income tax is low.
          Here’s the Income Tax Rates/Slabs Rate (%) (as per budget 2012)
          → Up to 200,000 = 0%,
          → 200,001 – 5,00,000 = 10%,
          → 500,001 – 10,00,000 = 20%,
          → 1,000,001 upwards = 30%,
          (In Indian rupees so there’s approximately 50INR to $1 USD)
          Only 35 million Indians make over $4,000USD a year?

        • Steve

          yeah Bibi, the genuine middle class that resembles anything we would call middle class in the developed world is small in India. That is actually the point I was making that started this whole thing off. In the comments of another topic, I wrote that the Indian government declares a much bigger middle class than there really is. The threshold is so low that you can practically live in a shack and be called middle class. I was actually giving Robert ammunition to bash India!

  8. Steve

    Right of reply:

    “Steve is a commenter who constantly apologizes for India and Indian culture and religion for unknown reasons.”

    This is a misrepresentation when I have openly denounced the caste system and the way the karma doctrine is ideologically combined with it and used to justify it! I DO NOT ADMIRE THE CASTE SYSTEM ONE IOTA AND I HAVE NO REASON OR DESIRE TO DEFEND IT. I have also commented about the rampant and endemic corruption in Indian society where, for example, you have to bribe every Tom, Dick and Harry just to keep a small business going in Delhi.

    To point out that there is no logical necessity by which indifference and inaction must follow from belief in karma does not amount to an apology for Indian culture. I enthusiastically disapprove of using karma as an ideological support for an oppressive and divisive pre-modern form of social stratification. I would hope readers would have the subtlety to distinguish between this and an apology for Indian religion.

    “The poverty level will not drop to 25% in 3 years! No way!”

    It would have to drop 20% from 2005 levels. I don’t know what it is today.

    “Only 41% were below the poverty line in 2005, and even less now? What crap that is! Do you realize that many of those above the poverty level are starving?! The malnutrition rate is 50-55%.”

    Well, look, there is obviously widespread and terrible poverty in India. Nobody is doubting it. But raising the incomes of an increasingly large percentage of the population above the international poverty line, along with steady and robust national economic growth, is *some* progress in my book and worth talking about. What percentage of the malnourished live on less than $1.25 a day? Are the people living on less than 1 dollar 25 a day more likely to be malnourished and more severely malnourished than those living on $1.50- 2.50? Wont the increase in incomes continue as the economy continues to grow?

    If the world bank projects the Indian economy to overtake the American economy by gdp or even approach the size of it in my lifetime, shit, I’m quite impressed. There probably really will be a sizable genuine middle class and much lower rates of malnutrition by 2050, if the growth continues. Is that unreasonable?

    “Higher caste Indians who run the country do not care about all of those people who are starving, dying of disease, holed up in slums, sleeping on the street, living beside open sewers, etc.”

    Maybe not but it might just be worth mentioning that the majority of Indians live in rural areas, not slums, and a lot of the malnutrition is concentrated in eight states.

    “The starvation and the shitting outdoors is much worse than your average Black African country.”

    The malnutrition rates are exceptionally bad in India! I’m not defending it. (I wonder how much it has to do with Indian diets?) But also, the HDI is higher than sub-saharan Africa, crime rates lower, economic growth consistently higher.

    Indian slums lack proper toilet facilities and the people are uneducated and have developed some horrible practices. But without excusing it, lets at least acknowledge that Hindus are not the only humans to ever live in shitty conditions. In Elizabethan England, people used to toss shit right out of the window and God help anyone walking past (it must have happened!). Going back to the 14th century, London was literally one square mile of filth, with the streets covered in mud, beer, animal entrails, tonnes of horse shit and human faeces and piss.

    The irorny of Indians shititng in the street is that flushing toilets were first used in the Indus Valley civilisation 4600 years ago. The cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro had a flush toilet in almost every house, attached to a sophisticated sewage system.

    • Dota

      “The irorny of Indians shititng in the street is that flushing toilets were first used in the Indus Valley civilisation 4600 years ago.”

      The shitters will tell you that toilets are for ‘big people’ ie those higher up. Guess who those might be. The Indian peasant shits in public so that he never forgets his place in the order of things. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas did an interesting article on this some time ago. Even Aakar Patel pointed out that the village’s higher castes forbade the lower ones from having their own toilets.

      • Steve

        :-O

        Village people shit in the fields, don’t they? It seems disgusting to me but I suppose there’s an argument for it :-P Apparently, using shit as fertilizer is widespread in developing nations, but comes with dangers.

        If they can’t have a toilet, they should just dig a hole, easy enough if you live in the countryside.

      • @ Dota
        Are you trying to say that the peasants could afford toilets, but couldn’t build one, because of caste connotations?

      • ding

        then what does he mean by ‘every house’.
        do you want to say the standard houses for upper & lower castes in hi tech indus valley civilization were different.
        i wont think that way bcos indus valley civilization does not look anywhere near primitive like todays regular indian city/village where ‘”the village higher castes forbade the lower ones from having their own toilets”

    • Steve

      I should have picked up on this too:

      “Do you realize that many of those above the poverty level are starving?! The malnutrition rate is 50-55%.”

      Most malnutrition is not starvation. I guess there are no starving people above the poverty line…

      Gomez classification of PEM (protein energy malnutrition*):
      Degree of PEM % of desired body wt. for age and sex
      between 90 and 110% normal nutrition status
      Grade I (1st degree).Mild Malnutrition
      75-%-89%
      Grade II (2nd degree). Moderate Malnutrition
      60%-74%
      Grade III(3rd degree).Severe Malnutrition
      <60%

      *the other type of malnutrition is micro-nutrient deficiencies. The malnutrition stats for India are going by weight.

      Incidentally, overnutrition is having enough or too many calories but the wrong type, so not the right vitamins and minerals and balance. 100 million Indians are overnourished, apparently. India has the largest population of diabetics.

      • Hi Steve,

        You seem to have some knowledge about nutrition. I notice that Indian food contains a LOT of thick coconut milk. Now, coconut milk is about 17% fat. Is this what is causing unbalanced nutrition among prosperous Indians?

        • Pepperoncini

          Maybee all that gee that Indians consume, specifically North Indians. Would be curious to know the details on the nutritional imbalance between prosperous North and South Indians. The South is known for Vegetarian and Spicy cuisine.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          Are you an expert on nutrition?
          WHO reports-
          Prevalence of anemia in India is high because of low dietary intake, poor availability of iron and chronic blood loss due to hook worm infestation and malaria. While anemia has well known adverse effects on physical and cognitive performance of individuals, the true toll of iron deficiency anemia lies in the ill-effects on maternal and fetal health. Poor nutritional status and anemia in pregnancy have consequences that extend over generations.
          About 30% of children from upper/middle class Indian family suffer iron deficiency anemia also.
          Food has two forms of iron: heme and nonheme. You absorb up to 30 percent of heme iron, found only in animal tissues (meat, poultry, and fish). You absorb 2-10 percent of non-heme iron, found in plant foods as well as meat. Eating meat generally boosts body iron far more than eating nonheme iron.
          The Indian diet in general is low in easily absorbed iron- very few vegetables/leafy greens rich in iron are eaten. Cereals- rice, milk products, fats and oils are not fortified with iron, folic acid, niacin or vitamin D as they are in most western countries.
          The Indian diet in general is low in folic acid- not many FRESH fruits and vegetables are eaten. This accounts for the megaloblastic or macrocytic anemia commonly seen in Indians.
          Nearly 70-80 million Indian children suffer Protein energy malnutrition (PEM). PEM refers forms of malnutrition where there is inadequate protein intake. The spectrum of PEM disorders includes-Kwashiorkor (protein malnutrition predominant),Marasmus (deficiency in both calorie and protein nutrition), Marasmic Kwashiorkor (marked protein deficiency and marked calorie insufficiency signs present, sometimes referred to as the most severe form of malnutrition). PEM is detrimental at any point in life, but protein malnutrition prenatally has been shown to have significant lifelong effects.
          The Indian diet in general is low in high quality, digestible protein.
          Vitamin A and calcium deficiencies are also prevalent among India’s malnourished.
          And finally it ALWAYS comes down to this-
          One of the MAJOR causes for malnutrition in India is gender inequality. Due to the LOW SOCIAL STATUS OF WOMEN, their diet often lacks in both quality and quantity. Malnourished moms give birth to malnourished children- the cycle continues.

        • Steve

          @anung97 I don’t know the answer to your question. I haven’t studied the diets of prosperous Indians and in any case I am not an expert in nutrition @Bibi. I am merely interested and if I say anything about nutrition, I shall try to reference it. Thanks for your post Bibi. Here is a good page on sources of iron to add to your post (it mentions the heme/non-heme issue):

          http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/food-sources-of-iron.php

  9. Steve

    Much of sub-Saharan Africa has greater income inequality than India and lower GDP per capita. India is 135 out of 194 on GDP (PPP) per capita. Most of the countries at the bottom are African. So income is both higher and more evenly distributed in India than much of Africa. I wonder why malnutrition is worse in India? If anybody can attempt to explain this…

    However, I don’t actually think that Africa is hopeless so I’ll take back calling it royally fucked. Sorry Africa.

    • Steve

      Its not true there is no sign of progress there. There’s growth in African economies.

    • Steve

      http://www.cini.org.uk/childmalutrition.pdf

      Child malnutrition in India: why does it persist?

      • Pepperoncini

        Cause the powers-that-be in India are a bunch of non humans , i.e. lack compasssion and empathy, those traits that are supposed to define humanity. Entrenched Hindu caste ideoloy , present amongst non Hindus too, is anti charity. While Christianity and Islam both advocate charity , Hindusim is proactively anti charity in ideology.

        India leads the world in public consumption of gold. It’s wealthy squirrell away their money to overseas accounts, more than any other nationality.

        JULIAN ASSANGE: ” I have seen a report from this EU … as opposed to Swiss … but an official report that there are more Indian deposits in Swiss banks than any other nationality ”

        http://www.timesnow.tv/The-Julian-Assange-Interview/articleshow/msid-4371553,curpg-3.cms

        Re. gold consumption, I read it years ago but don’t have a link handy.

        • Dota

          The scope of charity is to mitigate the shocks of class inequality. Since Hinduism sanctions inequality, charity is essentially redundant. It’s irrelevant. The Hindu scriptures explicitly forbid the giving of charity to the peasant Shudra caste. Pepperoncini sums it up adequately above.

          From Aakar Patel:

          Why does the wealthy Indian give not cash to temples, but gold crowns and such baubles?

          To ensure his gift isn’t squandered on feeding the poor. Our pay-off is for God. It’s wasted if it goes to man. See what this has produced.

          In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth Rs. 45 ($8.2 million) crore to Tirupati.

          According to the temple’s website, Tirupati got 3,200kg silver and 2.4kg of diamonds in just one year.

          Because idols > starving humans

        • Bay Area Guy

          @ Dota

          It’s interesting. India is a bit of a paradox. India is the birthplace of various martial arts, mathematics, Buddhism, and other great accomplishments.

          And yet at the same time, its culture is fundamentally barbaric, and it’s a literal shithole.

          What accounts for this?

        • Dota

          BAG

          The top 5% (Brahmins) have traditionally always monopolized literacy and other significant resources of society. Most of India’s accomplishments are credited to the Brahmins. In other cultures, civilization would trickle down from the elites to other segments of society. In some cases, civilization flowed horizontally, vertically, and even upwards such as with Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam. In India, caste kept civilization contained within certain pockets of the populace and as such it has skipped most of the population altogether. Furthermore, since culture flows from the top to the bottom thanks to Hinduism, India’s culture has historically always been stagnant since foreign influences could simply not penetrate the social setup. Contacts with China during antiquity and later antiquity were rare. Despite this minimal cultural contact, China was able to walk away with Buddhism and used it to enrich their civilization. The Indians on the other hand gained nothing from the Chinese because the Brahmins would have pronounced their knowledge contradictory to Hindu scriptures and dismissed it outright. The only way that Persian culture was able to make inroads into India was through conquest. The British rightly observed that this was a static and non evolving culture. Cultures can only evolve when engaged and not merely passively recieved. The Arab Mutazilite philosophers challenged the corrupt ethics of the Umayyad Caliphate just as Martin Luther challenged the Church. This could never happen in Hinduism and its no surprise that Hindu reform attempts date back only as early as contact with the British.

        • Steve

          but what’s the link between that and malnutrition?

          I will just restate the problem in more detail: Indians have higher incomes per capita (by purchasing power parity) than Africans- twice as much in some cases.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

          That is an average, of course, which I assume is arrived at by dividing GDP (PPP) by the population. Then you might think that the average assumes total equality but maybe there is greater inequality in India to the point that the poor Indians are as poor or poorer than poor Africans who have a bigger share of the income pie. But then you find that’s not the case. There is greater income equality in India than most of the sub-saharan African countries for which there is data.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

          So Indians have more income, more evenly distributed than Africans. Poor Indians aren’t as poor as poor sub-saharan Africans on average, right? (Am I reasoning correctly here?) Yet India is practically a world leader in malnutrition rates*, including child malnutrition. That tells you there isn’t a straight forward relationship between income and malnutrition. Poorer Africans have lower rates of malnutrition.

          What is it about Indian culture that leads to this problem? Bibi and others have started to discuss it. One thing is the lower social status of woman. Diet ie which foods are consumed might be another.

          Do you think there is less giving from rich to poor Indians than is the case in Africa? Is that verified? I wouldn’t take that on faith. Even if there is, is it enough to effectively raise the incomes of all the poor Africans above Indian levels? What other kinds of help for the poor is included in charity that is not happening in India but is in Africa? Are there more effective government programmes to help the poor in Africa or more government spending? Is this what you are contending- that the government does more for the poor in Africa? Can you back this up?

          * one malnutrition table where India is nowhere near the top is death by malnutrition. Apparently India is 98th for death by malnutrition, according to this:

          http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/malnutrition/by-country/

          If this is true, does it mean that while India has higher rates of malnutrition, Africa suffers much worse from severe malnutrition? Even the Nepalese rate of death from malnutrition is three times higher than in India. Is this data correct?

        • Steve

          It just struck me that a simpler way might be to look at percentage of the population living below various poverty lines! duh.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty

          It looks like much of sub-Saharan Africa has as many poor people or more poor people by %. But the colour coded categories are too wide (20%) so there might be a big difference in the rates of two red countries (42 vs 59%). I’ll try to find more accurate and up to date data on this. The data is from 2009. I believe the map is accurate as of 2009 and based on UN data but the data in the table for India is wrong.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          It clearly says in that study you posted that-
          ” Therefore, despite reporting and measurement differences and political factors inherent in reporting levels, one thing is clear: malnutrition is not predominantly caused by low income.
          Myth: Poverty is the cause
          of malnutrition.
          In fact, there is no obvious linkage between levels of child malnutrition and income poverty. 26 per cent of India’s population lives below the pov- erty line, yet 46 percent of children under three are malnourished. Most Sub-Saharan countries report higher levels of income poverty than India even though levels of child malnutrition in India are consistently higher. And within India itself, in 1993-4 in Haryana, 35 per cent of children were reportedly malnourished with 25 per cent of the population under the poverty line. In Assam, 36 per cent of children were malnourished, yet a full 41 per cent lived in poverty. In other words, although the destitute poor have higher rates of malnutrition than the rich, poverty itself is not a sole cause.
          Myth: It’s about not having
          enough food.
          Between 6-18 months, food availability within the household is usually not the critical factor causing malnutrition. It is more often inadequate knowledge about feeding practices that are in the best interests of the child. As A.K Shiva Kumar writes, “The denial of as little as 200-300 calories in a young child’s daily diet is what makes the difference between the normal growth and the faltering that starts the descent towards illness and death.”

          Get it Steve-
          ‘It is more often inadequate knowledge about feeding practices that are in the best interests of the child.’
          ‘malnutrition is not predominantly caused by low income.’
          ‘there is no obvious linkage between levels of child malnutrition and income poverty’

          What do you not understand?
          Child malnutrition is CLEARLY caused by the ‘feeding practices’ of an uneducated caregiver. A.K. Shiva Kumar puts it succinctly: “This raises three important issues relating to the care of the child… six-month-old babies cannot eat by themselves; they need to be fed small amounts of food frequently. Feeding a[n]…infant…is time-consuming. Many rural women simply do not have the luxury of time to feed infants. The task is often entrusted to an older sibling who understandably may not have
          the required patience to feed an infant”.
          Couple this with a diet devoid of milk & vegetables & protein & you have a malnutritioned child.

          Read the study you posted-

          http://www.cini.org.uk/childmalutrition.pd

        • Steve

          Here’s an article about charity in India:

          http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/06/30/charitable-indians-worry-about-accountability/

          “On the positive front, annual private giving in India has increased almost threefold to between $5 billion and $6 billion in 2010, from $2 billion in 2006, Mr. Sheth said. Corporations in India gave an estimated $1.5 billion last year, five times the amount donated in 2006, an increase that is faster than the pace of their rise in profits, he added.

          Still, private giving in India accounts for only between 0.3% and 0.4% of the gross domestic product, significantly behind the United States, at 2.2%, and the United Kindom, at 1.3%, he said. But among developing nations, India is one of the leaders, ahead of China and Brazil, he said”

        • Steve

          yeah @Bibi, I’ve already read the study! I was simply restating the issue- no harm in that- and asking Pepperonici to clarify his explanation of the reasons ie Hinduism is anti-charity. Firstly, he may have had a point- it may be a factor. Secondly, you can discuss a theory, even if it is not true. Get that.

      • “Child malnutrition in India: why does it persist?”

        Maybe vegetarianism has something to do with this?
        You said malnutrition is worse in India than in sub saharan Africa. I suspect most Africans are not vegetarian.

        • Steve

          That is mentioned in the document as something that was considered but nothing more is said, then it goes on to emphasize cultural factors, such as the low status of woman. I would like to see a study that explores this link in detail. They should look at vegetarian and non-vegetarian people and people that eat different amounts of meat and compare the malnutrition rates to see if there is a correlation between meat eating and malnutrition. Or it would be interesting simply to know whether states of India that eat more meat have lower rates of malnutrition. They could then consider the best practical sources of missing nutrients for Indians and how vegetarian diets can be improved.

        • Steve

          btw It must have been done. If you find any such studies, link me!

        • @ Steve
          A couple of years back, there was a study by Khasi doctor from Meghalaya who concluded that the extremely low prevalence of diabetes in NE India could be because of the meat and vegetable based cuisines of the region. The study was quickly attacked by Hindu doctors, as a ‘Christian evangelist conspiracy to popularize meat eating on vegetarian Hindus’.
           
          For obvious business interests, the newspaper had to go on damage control. A new panel of ‘experts’ (~Hindutva doctors) came out with their own ‘research'; an article that claimed the Hindu Shaka Hari (vegetarian) diet is the best way to combat diabetes, obesity and lifestyle related illness. As is usual in Hindu scientific research, no evidence was given, just the academic credentials of the person saying it was enough.
           
          Barring a few local cultures, meat eating is a strong cultural taboo for most Hindus, with a sense of shame attached to eating meat. Any study that shows positive attributes of eating meat in India is like an article that promotes pre-marriage sexuality in Saudi Arabia.

        • Read here about culinary fascism in India. It talks of the prevalence of forcing Brahmanical dietary taboos on academic institutions and universities in India.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          ‘Or it would be interesting simply to know whether states of India that eat more meat have lower rates of malnutrition.’

          That’s already been done.
          Unicef did that study years ago, I can’t find it right now but there is a clear decrease in malnutrition in the states of India that eat meat.
          For example- Muslim Kashmir and Christian Kerala have quite low rates of malnutrition compared to other states. Kashmiris are voracious meat eaters & Keralites even eat beef.
          Another interesting fact is that although the poverty rate is higher in in a state like Assam, the malnutrition rate is lower than many states with higher poverty levels due to a diet that is approximately 20% meat protein.
          If you read what I posted earlier obviously the easiest & cheapest way to deal with most of these vitamin & mineral deficiencies would be to ‘fortify’ foods such as rice, wheat flour, & milk & milk products. There is reluctance to do so in India for a variety of reasons- foremost is that any food that is ‘fortified’ becomes a ‘pharmaceutical’ and must be labeled & tested as such, second it would add a small amount to the price of foods & in India ‘cheapest’ is always best.
          There have been various studies in India giving adolescents and women of childbearing age folic acid+iron supplements. All have been quite successful in eradicating megaloblastic/macrocytic anemia yet the Indian government has yet to develop awareness of the benefits or any program to distribute supplements to those in need. In my 10 years of living in India I have never seen a complete prenatal multi mineral/multivitamin in any pharmacy. There simply isn’t a market for it, prenatal care is minimal and not a priority in India. child welfare isn’t a priority in India.

        • Steve

          @bibi thanks for the info. To be honest, I am a vegetarian sympathizer so I have shied away from exploring this myself. Vegetarians in the west are healthy and don’t suffer from malnutrition, of course, so India could attain this in the long run (and I would consider it virtuous). The problem is that if you are poor, meat is a good, affordable, simple source of protein and iron and B12 and such.

          If India starts eating more meat, I certainly hope they don’t adopt the industrial farming methods which are so awful! Mistreating animals in such a way is just evil in my view.

        • Steve

          @bibi

          I mean, you eat meat and you get a big chunk of protein and its accessible. Unless they start producing Tofu! Could they in India? I suppose its just not on the cards and not part of the culture. One problem with meat eating is you have to use so much of the crops you grow to feed the animals. Theoretically, you can feed a lot more people with the same amount of land on a plant based diet.

          Isn’t it frustrating when there are practical solutions like fortification that would be relatively easy to implement and they don’t get done? Get your act together Indian government!

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          Well I think the ‘take home’ message here is that you have to be a lot more careful about what you eat if you are vegetarian. Vegetarians that consume dairy products and eggs generally don’t have too many problems.
          And like AI says there is a strong influence of ‘culinary fascism’ in India. The majority of Indians are vegetarian & will swear up & down their diet is the healthiest in the world. Unfortunately the facts don’t bear this out. Did you know that Indians are 3 times more likely than any other nationality to develop heart disease?
          Here’s the 1990-1992 Unicef policy STRATEGY FOR IMPROVED NUTRITION OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

          http://www.ceecis.org/iodine/01_global/01_pl/01_01_other_1992_unicef.pdf

          Enjoy.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          Ahhhh!!!
          They are already marketing ‘soya chunks’ and puffed soy beans in India. Soy protein really isn’t very digestible. Soy protein and the phytate in soybeans also decrease iron absorption so you’ve created another problem.
          Ok I give up, this aging bitter hag is getting tired of explaining nutrition at a 3rd grade level.

        • Steve

          @Bibi

          ‘Soy protein and the phytate in soybeans also decrease iron absorption so you’ve created another problem….this aging bitter hag is getting tired of explaining nutrition at a 3rd grade level.’

          Yeah right, that’s 3rd grade level. Condescending much?

          ‘Soy protein really isn’t very digestible.’

          As you know, I am no expert on matters nutritional, but I am quite a deft googler and this is what I found:

          “Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) is a method of evaluating the protein quality based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest it. The PDCAAS rating was adopted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) in 1993 as “the preferred ‘best'” method to determine protein quality. These organizations have suggested that other methods for evaluating the quality of protein are inferior.

          A PDCAAS value of 1 is the highest, and 0 the lowest. The table shows the ratings of selected foods.
          1.00 casein (milk protein)
          1.00 egg white
          1.00 SOY PROTEIN
          1.00 whey (milk protein)
          0.92 beef
          0.91 soybeans
          0.78 chickpeas
          0.76 fruits
          0.75 black beans
          0.73 vegetables
          0.70 Other legumes
          0.59 cereals and derivatives
          0.52 peanuts
          0.42 whole wheat”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDCAAS

          Let’s also look at the biological values:

          “Biological value (BV) is a measure of the proportion of absorbed protein from a food which becomes incorporated into the proteins of the organism’s body. It summarises how readily the broken down protein can be used in protein synthesis in the cells of the organism. Proteins are the major source of nitrogen in food, unlike carbohydrates and fats. This method assumes protein is the only source of nitrogen and measures the proportion of this nitrogen absorbed by the body which is then excreted. The remainder must have been incorporated into the proteins of the organisms body. A ratio of nitrogen incorporated into the body over nitrogen absorbed gives a measure of protein ‘usability’ – the BV.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_Value#cite_note-1972bv-11

          Some biological values:

          Whey protein concentrate: 104
          Whole egg: 100
          Cow milk: 91
          Beef: 80
          Casein: 77
          Soy: 74
          Wheat gluten: 64

          http://www.jssm.org/vol3/n3/2/v3n3-2pdf.pdf

          Hoffman and Falvo, ‘Protein-which is best?’ International society of sports nutrition symposium.

          Here is an alternative source on BVs:

          Whole egg 93.7
          Milk 84.5
          Fish 76.0
          Beef 74.3
          Soybeans 72.8
          Rice, polished 64.0
          Wheat, whole 64.0
          Corn 60.0
          Beans, dry 58.0

          From: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The Amino Acid Content of Foods and Biological Data on Proteins. Nutritional Study #24. Rome (1970). UNIPUB, Inc., 4611- F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706

          http://www.georgiaeggs.org/pages/biologicalvalue.html

          Not very digestible?

          If there is a problem with iron, eat iron rich foods too or take iron supplements or east fortified cereal. I am not ready to dismiss this as a vegetarian source of protein.

        • Hi Steve,

          To make tofu, India needs to improve it’s soybean production first. India has about 1/7th of the world population yet according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean they only produce 4% of soybean. After they increase soy production, they still need to adopt tofu into their cuisine.

          I live in Singapore where 10% of the population is Indian. I have never seen Indian restaurant serving tofu. They don’t serve other soy product as well. Most people who drink soybean milk here are Singaporean Chinese. Here is another interesting observation, most vegetarian restaurants here serve Chinese Vegetarian food. A Chinese colleague told me they simply replace meat with tofu/soybean products.

          Is it possible to have a full vegetarian diet and still be healthy? (without dairy product and supplements). I thought based on our biology homo sapiens are omnivores? I just think it’s unwise to ignore our evolutionary history.

          Completely unrelated, how come I do not have Reply link directly under Steve’s comment?

        • Steve

          anung97,

          I think the cold, hard fact of the matter is that humans can get all of the calories and nutrients from a vegetarian diet that they can get from a diet that includes meat. For one thing, a lot of the things you get from meat, you can also get from dairy products and eggs, which are the products of animal bodies! In fact, you can get practically everything you need from a purely plant based diet. Look up any vitamin or nutrient and you will probably see a fairly long list of plant sources for it (animal bodies are built from plant diets anyway).

          The most problematic thing for vegetarians is probably getting the right amount of omega 3, one of the essential fatty acids. The best source of omega 3 is oily fish (you can get fish oil in pill form too). I think that Flaxseed oil is the best vegetable source but its a little more complicated because it actually contains alpha-linolenic acid, which must be broken down into EPA and DHA, the two omega 3 fatty acids already present in fish. Other foods in your diet can interfere with the conversion process so basically its a bit challenging to get the right amount of omega 3 without fish. Not impossible though, I don’t think. Vegans must also supplement vitamin B12, which is no problem for vegetarians as it is quite abundant in dairy and eggs.

          Studies of life expectancy of vegetarians have shown either no difference with meat eaters or an advantage for a low meat or vegetarian diet. Vegetarians tend to also have a reduced chance of certain problems, like heart problems caused by eating too much saturated (animal) fat. There are also some great examples of high performing vegetarian athletes.

        • Steve

          *when i say animal bodies are made from plant diets, I mean the ones we usually eat.

    • phatimabibi

      Steve-
      Yes, I am being ‘condescending much’.
      Apparently you have some ‘hidden agenda’ to push OR you don’t actually read or comprehend the stats & studies you post.
      I’m certainly not a ‘nutritionist’ but I do have a degree in pharmacology.

      I think you missed the part of the wiki entry pointing out the PDCAAS’ fatal flaws–
      ‘However, it does not take into account certain factors influencing the digestion of the protein and is of limited use for application to human protein requirements because what is measured is maximal potential of quality and not a true estimate of quality at requirement level.’
      ‘Amino acids that move beyond the terminal ileum in the body are less likely to be absorbed for use in protein synthesis. They may pass out of the body, or may be absorbed by bacteria, and thus will not be present in the faeces, and will appear to have been digested. The PDCAAS takes no account of where the proteins have been digested.’

      The other ‘biological values’ references you gave seemingly contradict the PDCAAS nor do they differentiate between ‘soy protein’ products and soybeans. is it ‘low-pro’ (non dehulled) or hi-pro (dehulled) soy meal or what are we talking about?

      I’ll maintain my stance that soybeans are not very digestible form of protein for this reason-
      Soy is difficult to digest because it inhibits the functioning of the pancreatic enzyme called trypsin. The body needs trypsin to properly digest protein. All legumes have substances called ‘trypsin inhibitors’ that interfere with the work of this enzyme. (Soy has MORE of these inhibitors than other beans.) When there is less trypsin, more undigested and partially digested protein molecules move through the digestive tract.
      Processing soybeans can reduce these ‘trypsin inhibitors’ to 5 to 20 percent of the trypsin-inhibitor activity of raw soybeans.

      I’ve seen more ‘digestive’ problems’ with baby formulas, children’s supplements, and prenatal protein supplements containing soy than any other protein source.
      It’s hard to get moms, babies & kids to eat stuff when it makes them painfully flatulent, bloated, and complaining of stomach pains. Switching to whey protein products usually stops the problem.

      Please read what you Google & bear in mind that the soy & dairy industries in the US are heavily federally subsidized.

      • Steve

        I did read about the limitations of PCAAS. That is why, in the spirit of fairness and genuine inquiry, I also added the biological values, which showed meat, milk and fish to be more digestible than soy!

        Aren’t I objective!?

        Incidentally, the Wikipedia article gives a value of 96 for whole soy bean, with a reference to this: “Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology (copyright 1972) (b) Synder HE, Kwon TW. Soybean Utilization. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 1987″. I suspected this may not be valid, so I didn’t include it, even though it would have strengthened my case! The same study gives a BV of 64 for Tofu btw.

        How can you accuse me of an agenda? Do you want me to bow and say ‘yessum’ and just take your word for it? I like to find out what science has to say about it.

        So you maintain that soy is not very digestible. Your reason is it contains trypsin inhibitors. Well, how significant a factor are they? Do they bring its BV down from 95 to 75? Do they make it worthless?

        I maintain that a score in the 70’s (96 for whole soy beans??) is a decent score and it is a valuable source of protein for mankind. One of a range of sources. To me, ‘not very digestible’ would be a score in the 30’s or 40’s.

        I am not saying it is ultimate the answer for India. For one thing, I just don’t think it would be likely to be embraced. I’m not advocating it be given to babies. I would prefer them to have good old cow milk. If I had a child, I wouldn’t primarily feed him or her soy milk. I prefer the tried and tested.

        Those babies and moms with digestive problems, would it be fair to say they are ‘intolerant’ to it? How common is this? For some its fine maybe, for others not? I’d like to see study. I’m also willing to listen to your experience, being a reasonable man without an agenda.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          No I didn’t ask you to ‘bow’ or say ‘yes sum’ to the ‘Memsahib Bibi’, I specifically asked you to actually READ the stats & studies you post.
          You seem to some what ‘unreasonable’ & have some agenda based on your continuous erroneous conclusions based on some well-wishing fantasy.
          I mean look at this quote from your post-
          ‘I think the cold, hard fact of the matter is that humans can get all of the calories and nutrients from a vegetarian diet that they can get from a diet that includes meat. For one thing, a lot of the things you get from meat, you can also get from dairy products and eggs, which are the products of animal bodies! In fact, you can get practically everything you need from a purely plant based diet. Look up any vitamin or nutrient and you will probably see a fairly long list of plant sources for it (animal bodies are built from plant diets anyway).’

          Uhhhhhhhh…did you forget that humans do not have the same digestive system as ruminating mammals? Unlike cows, goats, sheep, giraffes, bison, moose, elk, yaks, water buffalo, deer, camels, alpacas, llamas, antelope, pronghorn, and nilgai -humans do NOT have a 4 part stomach to adequately digest plant material nor do we regurgitate semi-digested plant mass, now known as cud, and chew it again, swallow & digest it again. Nor do humans possess the continuously growing teeth like ruminants to combat the abrasion caused by the silica found in plant matter.
          Can you understand that digesting plant material (cellulose, hemicellulose, plant proteins) requires a different morphologic digestive system that monogastric humans simply do not have?
          The human gut is unique- even when compared to our nearest relatives the great apes.
          PDCAAS scores do not account for the ‘trypsin inhibitors’ in soy, or the indigestible oligosaccharides (i.e. raffinose, stachyose) in soy, the fact that soy is high in manganese & aluminum, nor the fact that long term soy ingestion acts as a ‘thyroid disruptor’ (aka goitrogen) -by inhibiting the synthesis of thyroid hormone.
          Soy is not the ‘superfood’ the media & processed food industry has made it out to be. Soy has traditionally & historically been considered a ‘medicinal’ food in Asian cultures- any food that is considered a medicine can also be poison. Asian cultures typically do not eat ‘soy’ as a staple protein.
          As far as I’m concerned the jury is still ‘out’ on the safety & benefits of soy, there simply haven’t been enough long term studies done yet. Soy has little to no place in children’s diets as far as I’m concerned. Especially in a population that suffers insufficient iodine consumption & iron consumption- such as India.
          Studies on babies, moms & women of ‘childbearing age’ are few and infrequent in the western world- I think you can infer the ethical complications thereof.
          By the way- Eggs are not considered ‘vegetarian’ in India (not ‘Brahmanical)- so getting Indians to eat eggs is a bit of a challenge.

        • @ Steve
          Why feed babies cow’s milk? What happened to good old breastfeeding?
           
          Anyway, I am not a nutritionist, but has this study taken into account individual/genetic/racial considerations on how nutrients are digested and processed in our bodies. I can’t understand milk having a BV of 1.00 considering most of us, who live outside milch parts of the world have an acute case of lactose intolerance. The same goes for beans (including soya) and lentils, which are ‘exotic’ to our cuisines. Even sucrose (sugar) gives me a concentration/irritability problem while both Indian and American people seem to have a propensity for foods laden with sugared goodies.

        • phatimabibi

          AI-
          It is the milk ‘sugar’ lactose that causes the stomach upset, indigestion, irritability & concentration problems in Asian populations.
          Whey (or milk protein) when it is isolated from milk products does not cause this problem and is an easily digested and assimilated protein source in all populations. It may cause your homocysteine levels to go out of whack though.
          I agree breastfeeding babies is the best option, but not always possible for many moms.

        • @ phatimabibi
          A lot of my Jat/Punjabi type friends in Delhi are big time milk drinkers. They can down a jug of milk in one sitting, without a hint of a problem. It could be some genetic/cuisine thing. I prefer meat for my protein requirements. Less problematic and my head doesn’t have to go out of whack with all the diet/nutrition ‘info’ which are often confusing and contradictory.
           
          If breastfeeding is not possible, whats the alternative used, if the people are lactose intolerant?

        • phatimabibi

          AI-
          A lot of Asians do not posses the enzyme necessary to digest milk sugar-lactose.
          India has one of the highest rates of milk consumption in the world. With my Dutch ancestry, I have no ‘dairy’ issues either. Although I do find the water buffalo milk so often used in India rather distasteful (YUK).

          The options for lactose free baby formulas include ‘milk protein isolates’ and ‘soy protein isolates’. You have to be sure the ‘milk protein isolates’ are whey & not casein. The casein in cow’s milk can cause problems for baby too as it tends to ‘curdle’ in the child’s stomach during digestion.
          Soy formulas are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics due to the incidence of diarrhea (like seriously watery), gas & distention.
          Interesting though- the incidence of lactose intolerance among infants is only like 2-3%, we all possess the enzymes necessary to digest lactose when we are babies. Human breast milk contains lactose.
          Cow’s milk protein allergy is more common, usually switching to a formula where the milk proteins have been hydrolyzed (broken into small pieces) helps. Although these milk protein hydrolysate formulas smell awful in the can, babies don’t seem to mind.

        • Steve

          ‘I specifically asked you to actually READ the stats & studies you post.’

          I’m not sure which ones you think I haven’t read. I do recall you telling me to read the child malnutrition one after I had already read it and never said anything to contradict the fact.

          “Uhhhhhhhh…did you forget that humans do not have the same digestive system as ruminating mammals? Unlike cows, goats, sheep, giraffes, bison, moose, elk, yaks, water buffalo, deer, camels, alpacas, llamas, antelope, pronghorn, and nilgai -humans do NOT have a 4 part stomach to adequately digest plant material nor do we regurgitate semi-digested plant mass, now known as cud, and chew it again, swallow & digest it again. Nor do humans possess the continuously growing teeth like ruminants to combat the abrasion caused by the silica found in plant matter.
          Can you understand that digesting plant material (cellulose, hemicellulose, plant proteins) requires a different morphologic digestive system that monogastric humans simply do not have?”

          This was a reply, presumably, to this: . “Look up any vitamin or nutrient and you will probably see a fairly long list of plant sources for it (animal bodies are built from plant diets anyway).”

          Well, Bibi, humans may not have a four part stomach; we may be woefully lacking in the ability to regurgitate semi-digested plant matter; our teeth may be pathetically incapable of growth; however, if you think that humans can not live a long and healthy life on a vegetarian diet, you don’t have science on your side. The scientific understanding is that humans on a vegetarian diet can get all the nutrients they need. And the evidence shows that they can live as long or longer than the general population. Is this not so?

          “PDCAAS scores do not account for the ‘trypsin inhibitors’ in soy”

          I’ve responded to this point already, above.

          “Soy is not the ‘superfood’ the media & processed food industry has made it out to be. Soy has traditionally & historically been considered a ‘medicinal’ food in Asian cultures- any food that is considered a medicine can also be poison. Asian cultures typically do not eat ‘soy’ as a staple protein.”

          Here is a response, from this blog: http://www.theveganrd.com/2011/03/soyfoods-in-asia-how-much-do-people-really-eat.html

          “The confusion about how much soy Asians consume is based partly on a simple mathematical misunderstanding. In studies of intake, findings are sometimes expressed as the amount of soy protein that people consume—which is different from the total amount of soy food in their diets. For example, according to surveys in Japan, older adults consume around 10 grams of soy protein per day, which is the amount of protein in about 1 to 1 ½ servings of traditional soyfoods. Because a number of authors have misunderstood the relationship between soy protein and soyfood, they’ve greatly underestimated the amount of soy in Japanese diets.
          Information about soy intake in Asia comes from a number of different resources including studies designed to examine the effects of diet on health, Japan’s National Nutrition Survey, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The most important of these are the studies designed to look at diet and disease relationships because many of them evaluated soy intake comprehensively. That is, they recorded frequency, and amounts of all types of soy products consumed using validated dietary intake instruments.
          The results show a fairly wide range of intake among different countries and even within populations. While average Japanese intake is 1 to 1 ½ servings, the surveys reveal that the upper range among older Japanese—who would be expected to eat a more traditional diet—is about 3 servings of soyfoods per day.
          It’s much harder to determine soy intake in China because diets vary greatly across regions. The most extensive data are available for Shanghai where large studies of health habits include dietary data from close to 100,000 adult men and women. Average intake in Shanghai is a little bit higher than in Japan. But the range of intake is extensive and a large number of the adults in these studies—as many as 15 to 20 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women—consumed 2 to 3 servings of soyfoods per day.
          With the exception of Hong Kong, there isn’t quite as much data on soy intake in other countries and regions. But, the available findings suggest that, compared to Japan and Shanghai, soy consumption is much lower in Hong Kong and Thailand, about the same in Indonesia, and a bit higher in North Korea.
          And contrary to popular opinion, the soy products regularly consumed in these countries are not all—or even mostly—fermented. In Japan, about half of soy consumption comes from the fermented food miso and natto and half comes from tofu and dried soybeans. In Shanghai, most of the soyfoods consumed are unfermented, with tofu and soymilk making the biggest contributions. In fact, even in Indonesia, where tempeh is a revered national food, unfermented soy products like tofu account for around half of soy intake.
          Soyfoods have been consumed in China for at least 1,500 years and in Japan for 1,000 years. The evidence shows that soyfoods—both unfermented and fermented—continue to be a significant part of traditional Asian diets. There is no reason why western vegans can’t include these foods in meals as well.”

          “or the indigestible oligosaccharides (i.e. raffinose, stachyose) in soy, the fact that soy is high in manganese & aluminum, nor the fact that long term soy ingestion acts as a ‘thyroid disruptor’ (aka goitrogen) -by inhibiting the synthesis of thyroid hormone.”

          I suggest that one immediate and accessible way to investigate this is to look at the health of elderly Asians who have eaten soy all their lives. How is their health? Do they have thyroid problems? Higher rates of cancer? I don’t know the answers to all these questions but I do notice that the Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world. This investigation could immediately tell us that NE Asians can eat the amount of soy they eat and be fine…and that is surely reasonable grounds for westerners to ‘risk it’.

          …..As far as I’m concerned the jury is still ‘out’ on the safety & benefits of soy, there simply haven’t been enough long term studies done yet. Soy has little to no place in children’s diets as far as I’m concerned. Especially in a population that suffers insufficient iodine consumption & iron consumption- such as India.”

          Perhaps in a country with the particular pattern of deficiencies as India, it is not the ideal food for India at this time. On the other hand, perhaps it could be combined with a rich source of iron and a source of iodine. Iodized salt could be considered, for example, although that may come with its own problems.

          Lastly, I should just point out that I did in fact read every word of the blog entry in the link, just in case you have any misgivings about that. Perhaps you will drop this I don’t read stuff I post nonsense now? You don’t seem to have been able to pin anything on me for that.

        • Steve

          @AI

          there is nothing wrong with good old fashioned breast feeding. It must be perfectly tailored to human baby nutritional needs. I was really just expressing a preference for cow milk over soy milk.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          Nice copy & paste. Useful function for filibustering isn’t it?
          I really think you can look this up yourself in this internet age.
          But anyway-
          Courtesy of Pfizer-
          The Burden of Cancer in Asia

          http://www.pfizer.com/files/products/cancer_in_asia.pdf

          “In 2002, 4.2 million new cancer cases—39% of new cases worldwide—were diagnosed among 3.2 billion persons (48% of the world population) living in the fifteen most highly developed countries in South, East, and Southeast Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, India, Laos, and Cambodia. China and India, together accounting for 37% of the worldwide population, reported 3 million of these newly diagnosed cancer cases.
          Demographic characteristics vary widely in these fifteen countries—median ages in India, China, and Japan are 25, 34, and 44 years, respectively—yet collectively, they carry a disproportionate burden of worldwide liver, stomach, and esophageal cancer. Three fourths of new worldwide liver cancer cases in males and two thirds in females occur in these fifteen Asian countries. Greater than 50% of the world’s new cases of stomach cancer, and greater than 70% of newly diagnosed esophageal cancer worldwide occur in these Asian countries. China alone contributes more than half of the world’s newly diagnosed liver and esophageal cancer cases, and 42% of newly diagnosed stomach cancer cases. By comparison, fewer than 4% of the world’s new cases of each of these cancers occur in the United States.”
          “Among the 15 Asian countries the highest incidence rates (age-standardized) for total cancer (all sites) in males are in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan; female total cancer incidence rates are highest in Taiwan, Singapore, and Philippines.”

          Do read this online booklet, it is very informative.

          As far as thyroid function & cancer in elderly Japanese goes- you do recall Hiroshima & the recent Fukushima meltdown?
          Seriously why can’t you look this stuff up yourself?
          “Radiation unlikely to be responsible for high cancer rates among distal Hiroshima A-bomb survivors”

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2711884/

          Everyday’s a new world, eh Steve?

        • Steve

          I’ll look at this in more detail later….but I wasn’t really asking you to look it up for me. I was just posing the question generally. You were welcome to look it up for yourself and the general discussion though.

          How the hell quoting something relevant in an informal discussion between two people constitutes filibustering, I’ve got no idea. Maybe you are assuming everybody agrees with you…and this is a legislative body.

          This may be too much to ask but can’t you be nice?

        • Steve

          @Bibi

          “In 2002, 4.2 million new cancer cases—39% of new cases worldwide—were diagnosed among 3.2 billion persons (48% of the world population) living in the fifteen most highly developed countries in South, East, and Southeast Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, India, Laos, and Cambodia. China and India, together accounting for 37% of the worldwide population, reported 3 million of these newly diagnosed cancer cases.”

          The first thing I noticed was that 48% of the world’s population having 39% of diagnosed cancer cases means they have a disproportionately low amount of diagnosed cancer. Of course, we shouldn’t include India, since they don’t eat tofu, or the other countries that don’t for that matter. This data is quite imprecise for our purposes.

          Also, we run into a difficulty in that we don’t know the real number of cancer cases (are most cases diagnosed?). If all cancer was diagnosed, and overall cancer rates were the same all around the world, you would expect 48% of the world’s population to have exactly 48% of worldwide cancer cases.

          “collectively, they carry a disproportionate burden of worldwide liver, stomach, and esophageal cancer.”

          Then, logically, they must have a disproportionately low amount of other cancers. This must be true to such an extent that the overall number of cancers is disproportionately low.

          Finally, even if there was a disproportionately high amount of cancer in China and Japan, you would still have to establish a link with tofu consumption. Maybe there is no link between radiation and cancer in Japan. Maybe there is also no link between tofu consumption and cancer either.

          btw, you called me out for copy and pasting, then copy and pasted.

        • Steve

          * “Then, logically, they must have a disproportionately low amount of other (diagnosed) cancers. This must be true to such an extent that the overall number of (diagnosed) cancers is disproportionately low.”

        • Steve

          How about we simplify it and just look at Japan. I found this:

          http://healthhubs.net/cancer/cancer-rates-in-the-usa-compared-to-japan/

          “Cancer rates in the USA compared to Japan.”

          “Cancer rates vary dramatically between countries, none more so than between Japan and the USA. Overall age adjusted cancer rates in the USA are more than 50% higher than in Japan.

          Americans have a 30% chance of developing cancer and a 11.2% chance of dying from it by the age of 75 compared to a 20.4% chance of developing cancer and a 9.7% chance of dying from it in Japan. The only common forms of cancer that are more prevalent in Japan are pancreatic, liver, colorectal, and stomach cancer. Interestingly enough, Japan has one of the lowest cancer rates in the developed world despite a relatively high percentage of Japanese being regular smokers.

          The disparities in cancer rates are one of the major reasons life expectancy is almost five years higher in Japan than the United States (82.9 vs 78.1).”

          Look in the link for a table of different cancers and their rates in the USA and Japan.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          No, I don’t do ‘nice’ anymore- India will do that to you. You should realize that a general rule of social etiquette among India’s upwardly mobile middle class is-
          Treat everyone with as much contempt as you think you can possibly get away with. ‘Nice’ is for stupid & or weak people.

          Yup, how’s that? I can copy & paste too!
          Just one thing Steve, whom do you think is going to sponsor a study designed to reveal the negative aspects of soy?
          The US gov’t when it heavily subsidizes soybean farming?
          Who is going to sponsor any of the nebulous studies you propose?

          I can’t find the overwhelming evidence that vegetarianism is healthier than non-vegetarianism that you contend- any more info on that?
          Please differentiate between lacto-vegetarianism, lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, and ‘vegan’ dietary habits.

        • @ phatimabibi
          That sounded off. This blog is not India, PB. Besides, I have been living in India far longer than you did and faced a lot of shit that you couldn’t have tolerated, at a far younger and more formative age. I didn’t use that as an excuse to treat people with rudeness and contempt, whether online or offline (unless they were being deliberately rude to me). People who are courteous to us deserve respect, its a two way street.

        • Steve

          @Bibi

          I didn’t contend that a vegetarian diet is ‘healthier’, just that you can get all the essential nutrients (omega 3 being perhaps the most problematic) and that the studies I know of have shown veggies to live either as long or longer than non-veggies. For the latter, see the famous study of seventh day adventists in Cali, for example.

          The studies and data I have seen have been more favourable to vegetarian (lacto or lacto-ovo) than vegan diets. I remember one study (I can look it up if you wish) showed the same life expectancy for meat eaters and vegetarians, a slightly lower life expectancy for vegans, and I think slightly higher for those who eat fish but no other meat. Maybe that is the best diet? The Japanese, after all, traditionally eat a lot of fish.

          I remember reading a thread on a vegan forum about rearing babies on a vegan diet. One commenter said that her baby was below normal size but she knows it can’t be because of the diet, some babies are just smaller. Then two or three more said the same thing. I felt like they were putting their ideology above their babies welfare, when they themselves were brought up on milk and meat. I wouldn’t risk it for a baby til it was proved beyond doubt to be healthy! Anyway, I don’t know what the studies say but I’m not willing to stand behind any claims about vegan diets until I do see proof….

          Maybe some constitutions are more suited to it than others(?) This doesn’t prove much really but look at the remarkable example of Dave Scott. He won the ironman triathlon 6 times. The Hawaii ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and then a marathon. Its the pinnacle of the triathlon world and one of the most gruelling endurance events there is. Dave Scott’s 6 world titles have been equalled but nor surpassed. He made a comeback age 40 and came second. He was a vegan his whole career. I always intuitively felt that people would be weaker on a vegan diet but not this guy!

        • phatimabibi

          AI-
          You wrote & I quote-
          ‘Besides, I have been living in India far longer than you did and faced a lot of shit that you couldn’t have tolerated, at a far younger and more formative age.’

          Pray tell, AI what DO YOU KNOW about what I experienced at a far younger and more formative age?
          What do YOU know about what I can or can not tolerate?
          Are you making unfounded ASSumptions again?
          Careful now.

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          I wish I could say ‘vegetarianism’ was the answer to all the world’s ills.
          Unfortunately from what I’ve seen ‘vegetarianism’ is a rather ‘elitist’ notion that is inappropriate for most of the developing world. There is no ‘magic diet’ & no ‘magic food’ that is suitable for everyone.
          One of my former neighbors in California, the infamous Dr John McDougall, would vehemently disagree with me. But then he’s an egregious asshole & blames his foul temper on a series of strokes when he was younger. Check him out here-

          http://www.drmcdougall.com/

          How grossly unprofessional of me.
          Anyhooo…..
          What I’ve found is pretty much what Dr James LaValle (another acquaintance of mine) has written here-

          http://naturalhealthdossier.com/2012/01/whos-healthier-vegetarians-or-meat-eaters/

          I’ve seen a vegetarian diet cause serious nutrient deficiencies such as- iron, B12, zinc, & calcium as well as increased level of homocysteine. Vegans are generally the worst, I’ve seen an unbelievable number of strokes in vegan females of childbearing age. Why this should be I don’t know & I haven’t seen too many studies on it yet. I’ve read speculations it may be an omega 3 deficiency, low B12/increased homocysteine levels, low IGF-I activity, hypervitaminosis E, UFOs, yetis & PETA activists.
          Ok so the last 3 were a joke.

        • @ phatimabibi
          It is a convention to assume things about other people if we don’t have enough facts to base a reasoned conclusion on. In spite of being a critically thinking American, you *did* make quite a number of uncritical and unreasonable assumptions about me, my beliefs (caste hierarchy?) and culture (Hindu culture?) in the past.
           
          But just for clarity’s sake – if being an American is something that you believe I have to be envious about and if India is so harsh that it sucked the niceness out of you, your life back in the States couldn’t have been *that* intolerable, could it? You can barely stand India which makes it hard to imagine you could have lived through worse than I did (which is beyond ‘upwardly mobile middle class’ Indians). I was just putting two and two together.
           
          And besides, as an intelligent person, I’d have thought you’d be above the ‘general rule of social etiquette among India’s upwardly mobile middle class’ where being nice and courteous implies weakness. I also didn’t expect to be threatened (careful now, huh?). Why can’t we just get along, without biting off the heads of others?

        • Dota

          She does have a point about India turning you into a rotten person though, every time I go back I feel like I’m turning into the sort of person I bash here on this blog. The misanthropic, detached, and low trust culture of India will do that to you. Not saying it justifies rudeness here, but I’m not the one talk about that since I’m as much of a dick in real life as I am on here.

        • @ Dota
          I didn’t blame her for her rudeness. I simply made a suggestion that for commenters here, having to deal with unwarranted rudeness is undeserved. I am no Gandhi (not that I like Gandhi-ism anyway) but if someone isn’t being rude and condescending, I think it is basic courtesy not to be rude or condescending to them. Quid pro quo?
           
          But really, if people want to be rude to each other, who am I to tell anyone off? I’d simply keep my dao sharpened, just in case someone tries to bite my head off.

        • Dota

          AI

          What you’ve said is fundamentally true and I agree with you. All I was saying is that I understand where she’s comming from. I guess we’re comparing ‘what is’ to ‘what ought to be.’ Anyway lets drop this lol

        • Steve

          hi Bibi,

          ‘I’ve seen a vegetarian diet cause serious nutrient deficiencies such as- iron, B12, zinc, & calcium as well as increased level of homocysteine.’

          From my experience as a vegetarian, even though it was theoretically possible to meet all my protein needs, I just tended to eat less of it. Tofu is extremely bland, I don’t really like nuts, and there’s only so much egg and cheese I could eat (plus, there’s a lot of fat in cheese). My body feels most comfortable with meat, perhaps after a lifetime of eating it.

          My feeling is that its possible to be a healthy vegetarian but you have to be a bit more educated and organised and make sure you get enough of certain things. I was nowhere near organised enough as a student. On the other hand, anybody can eat a big lump of meat and get a load of protein and B12 etc. If you’re a meat eater, you don’t have to worry about these things as much and you are *less likely* to not get enough of them. Meat is the best source of protein in terms of digestibility, accessibility, amount per 100g (I think), and tastiness.

          Yet I will just reiterate that I do have confidence that the right person, dedicated and organised and educated, and not intolerant to soy or nuts, can flourish as a vegetarian diet. And I think there are good moral and environmental arguments for it, and especially for rejecting factory farming. There are probably also good health arguments for not eating too much meat, which we probably do in the west.

          As for what is best for India, I will leave that for Indians to work out. They have their own moral and practical choices to make. No doubt I can see the benefits of them eating meat, as I am also justifiably concerned about more suffering being inflicted on animals.

          I also realise it would be hypocritical of me at this point to advocate vegetarianism! I can at least support the principle of compassion in world farming.

          I will read your link. I’m glad you and I seem to be taking a friendlier tone now.

        • Steve

          I read it. I think it is perfectly balanced and sensible. From a strictly nutritional point of view, he is right. But he treats it purely as a nutritional question and not a moral one. Somebody who advocates vegetarianism for moral reasons might place the emphasis elsewhere: that you CAN be a healthy vegetarian without those deficiencies, if you do it right. Its possible, even if its a little harder, at first anyway.

          But I also agree with you that there is no magic diet for everyone. I feel that I do better with a bit of meat, but world beating elite athlete Dave Scott didn’t seem to have a problem without it. Different people probably have different constitutions and needs, digest certain things better than others etc.

        • phatimabibi

          AI-
          Be careful now.
          If that makes you feel threatened I’d say you have ISSUES.
          You were the one whom attacked ME saying I was a ‘white woman obsessed with maintaining social hierarchy’ or some such nonsense.

          I’ve never championed being an American nor said much positive on this blog about the US of A.
          I have noticed (and I’ve sure you’ve noticed this too) that Indians in general think all Americans are wealthy, privileged, educated, & spoiled. For some reason Indians think this is an ‘entitlement’ & an ‘absolute’ you receive for simply being an American citizen- hence some jealousy & resentment.

          You, Mr AI seem to mention ‘losing face’ quite a bit in your posts on your own blog & your posts on here. I would suggest to you that ‘losing face’ is an important facet of your own unique Assamese culture- to your average Indian ‘losing face’ doesn’t mean a damned thing.

          Yes, living in India has changed my public persona- I’m much more intimidating now. Whenever I go back to the US it takes a couple of days for me to turn the ‘intimidation’ factor back a few notches to my former laid back northern California self.

          I’d really work on those unfounded opinions Mr AI, tsk tsk, they’ll get you into trouble quick. Is that list of cognitive biases all they taught you to get that “Liberal Arts Degree”? Pathetic.
          So sorry if you don’t appreciate my caustic wit nor my acerbic writing style. I can assure you it’s nothing to fly into one of your overly defensive tantrums about.
          PFFFTT!

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          Yes, you have to be much more careful what you eat when you are ‘vegetarian’. Unfortunately, for the majority of the world’s malnourished population that is not a luxury they can afford. Thus I call vegetarianism an absurdly elitist notion that is ridiculously naive at best for malnourished populations in developing countries.
          I really don’t think you have to eat a lot of meat to have a healthy diet.
          As far as justification of ‘vegetarianism’ on moral grounds, well that’s a slippery slope.
          How much firewood does it take to boil rice & lentils everyday?
          Quite a lot.
          How much does that contribute to ‘climate change’?
          I’d say it is significant.
          It may please you to know that most of the animals used for meat in India- (goats & chickens) are forage fed. Occasionally you’ll see a poultry farm or goats tethered in a barn – but nothing like the scale you see in western countries.

        • @ phatimabibi
          I was being facetious. Because threatening people online is very real and scary. Maybe I should start keeping my Magnum loaded from now on.
           
          But anyway, thank you for your concern and your excellent analysis of my degrees and ‘losing face culture’. You are totally clued in to where I come from. I also appreciate taking your precious time trying to understand my issues and penchant for trouble. But rest assured, offending some people in the internet is among the least of troubles that I am capable of dealing with.
           
          I do like your sarcasm and wit, but I think rudeness towards Steve is uncalled for. Nothing personal. I am done with this drama. What was I even thinking?

        • phatimabibi

          AI-
          I’m sure Steve is a ‘big boy’ and doesn’t need some pretentious pipsqueak artist/psychologist/airline pilot ‘white knighting’ for him.
          Get over yourself.

        • Steve

          Bibi,

          ‘Yes, you have to be much more careful what you eat when you are ‘vegetarian’.’

          yeah, you have to say ‘right, I need to get x amount of protein and iron etc, how am I gonna do it?’. I actually ended up weaker myself because I never got it together, but now I’m older I think I’ll do some sums and see how hard this really is.

          ‘Thus I call vegetarianism an absurdly elitist notion that is ridiculously naive at best for malnourished populations in developing countries.’

          I don’t disagree actually. I’ve got no doubt that eating some meat would improve the health of vegetarian malnourished Indians. I mean, its the strongest single source of protein and the clue is in ‘protein energy malnutrition’. The human body is highly adapted to it too.

          At the same time, I do admire vegetarianism in principle and think there is an element of virtue in this aspect of Indian culture. And as I’m not some kind of authoritarian who would force vegetarians to adopt a meat diet, I think it is still also worth asking, how can the diets of vegetarian Indians who insist on being vegetarians be improved?

          ‘As far as justification of ‘vegetarianism’ on moral grounds, well that’s a slippery slope.
          How much firewood does it take to boil rice & lentils everyday?
          Quite a lot.
          How much does that contribute to ‘climate change’?
          I’d say it is significant.’

          you need a source of heat to cook meat too. It is estimated that meat production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions that transportation or industry.

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-greenhouse-hamburger

          The dreaded PETA say that producing one calorie of meat takes 11 times more CO2 than producing one calorie of plant protein. Plus animal farming is the single biggest source of nitrous oxide in the world and the biggest source of methane in America.

          One would have to look into it in far more detail, of course, but my initial impression is there probably is a good environmental argument against meat production.

          And, of course, environmentalism is not the only moral argument for vegetarianism.

          ‘It may please you to know that most of the animals used for meat in India- (goats & chickens) are forage fed.’

          It does indeed please me to know it. Thanks for telling me.

          ‘Occasionally you’ll see a poultry farm or goats tethered in a barn – but nothing like the scale you see in western countries.’

          That is the fear though, that if they start eating a lot more meat they would start industrial scale meat production. This practically ignores the sentience of animals and sees them as units of production in a capitalist, money making, factory system. Almost any measure that increases profit is adopted, in spite of the pain it causes. If this situation never comes about in India because Hindu vegetarianism limits demand for meat, then at least some good will have come of it.

          – the truth is rarely plain and never simple (Oscar Wilde.) -

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          You might be surprised to learn that in addition to being quite energy intensive to cook(much more than meat)- Rice paddies are one of the world’s biggest emitters of methane, which is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. According to a recent study using satellite images, rice paddies alone are responsible for about 13 percent of global methane emissions.
          It’s not just the methane either: rice paddies also produce CO2 when they are burned between harvests. The manufacture, distribution and use of nitrogen in rice fertiliser accounts for 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent every year. Reiner Wassmann from the International Rice Research Institute in the says: “There is no other crop that is emits such a large amount of greenhouse gases” Tally all this up & it amounts to around 30% globally of man made emissions.
          And that’s just for rice! So, I’m not so sure I’m buying PETA’s arguments.

        • Steve

          oh yeah I recall that from when I researched an article for the student magazine years ago. that’s 30% of methane emissions, I assume, not 30% of greenhouse gasses. what is the other 70? I might look this up.

          Could we expect more rice to be consumed if people were vegetarian? I suppose that’s the first question to ask.

          Also, bear in mind that it takes more land and more crops to feed a meat eater than to feed a vegetarian, because the animals have to be fed from crops. It takes the least land and plants to feed a vegan, ironically.

          btw it was some UN report that said meat production produces more greenhouse gasses than transportation or industry, not PETA.

          meat is less energy intensive to cook? It depends what meat and how you cook it. You can just add meat to a pan of curry or whatever but you can also do that with tofu or cashew nuts. But then if you roast a beef or pork joint, it can take hours in the oven. Lacto-ovo vegetarians shouldn’t eat more vegetables or carbs than a meat eater so its not like you’re cooking more veg….you don’t have to cook cheese, hardly have to cook tofu or nuts. Egg is easy. More lentils maybe. what else? how is meat eating more energy intensive to cook?

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          In India cheese is cooked, it is called ‘paneer’ – it is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting ‘farmer cheese’ or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. No fatty aged ‘wheels’ of cheddar or Swiss in India.
          Indians do not have ‘ovens’ in which to roast joints of meat- the pressure cooker is preferred for stewing tough cuts of meat- i.e. goat.

          I believe the methane emissions estimate for all the burping & flatulent sheep & cows in the world & their manure is around 40%.

          But geez, rice ALONE makes up 30%?

          You wrote & I quote-
          ‘Lacto-ovo vegetarians shouldn’t eat more vegetables or carbs than a meat eater so its not like you’re cooking more veg….’

          Ok, you are not familiar with the starch based lacto-vegetarian diet of most Indians. We’re talking a sumo sized pile of rice with 1/2 cup watery lentil stew (called dalbhat in Nepal). Vegetables are minimal & often cooked to mush. Fruits are not a regular part of most Indians’ diet.

          That reminds of the ‘healthy’ vegetarians in the US who live on grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries & Captain Crunch.
          Nope, won’t work.

        • Hacienda

          “But geez, rice ALONE makes up 30%?”

          I called Hazmat to my home. Called in helicopter drops of concrete 20 feet tall over all my rice bags. Quarantine within 2 mile radius of my dinner table. Completely vomited and stomach pumped myself.

          China rice is better than Indian rice though. Hehe. Less polluting, dry cycle.

        • Steve

          I said earlier: ‘Meat is the best source of protein in terms of digestibility, accessibility, amount per 100g (I think), and tastiness.’

          re the amount per 100g point, this website says it is 1) cheese, then 2) mature beans, then 3) lean beef.

          http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-highest-in-protein.php

          I guess if you also factor in digestibility, beef takes over the beans and cheese is the big winner, but cheese is surely too fatty, which consideration then puts beef in the lead. :-P

      • Steve

        AI,

        I am a big boy but thanks for the support. I like to keep it friendly.

        PB,

        if India has this effect on you, why live there? And if you must, I hope you can keep a good heart, even if you act more intimidating in a certain environment. It must be really bad if you feel the need to do that. People must be literally bullying and taking advantage of each other…is it really like that?

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          Yes, it is REALLY like that.
          Bullying is a big part of Indian culture & taking advantage of each other is ‘de riguer’.
          That’s why I live in Nepal.

        • Steve

          oh….but you said you act more intimidating or rude or whatever because of living in India, then chill out a bit after being in Cali a while. But Nepal is not like India?

        • phatimabibi

          Steve-
          I am originally from northern California. I worked for UNICEF for 10 yrs in India.
          Nepal is amazingly & wonderfully different than India. Completely different mindset.

        • Steve

          PB,

          but isn’t there caste in Nepal? I thought I saw some study of caste in Kathmandu once.

      • Steve

        “Ok, you are not familiar with the starch based lacto-vegetarian diet of most Indians. We’re talking a sumo sized pile of rice with 1/2 cup watery lentil stew (called dalbhat in Nepal). Vegetables are minimal & often cooked to mush. Fruits are not a regular part of most Indians’ diet.”

        Sounds awful. I can’t pretend I like lentils! They are bland at best.

        I just looked their nutritional values up and it said 100g provide 58% of recommended daily amount of iron. is that true? If so, why are there iron deficiencies? I’ve got a feeling I know what you’ll say but…

  10. Pepperoncini

    @Dota
    ” I doutbt it, do you have a source? The Muslims were only interested in their tax revenues and were content to leave the local barbarians to their own devices. John P Jones correctly observed over a 100 years ago that the Indian Muslim was in no way morally superior to the Hindu.”

    Just Wiki, which I admit is a poor source on contentious issues.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sati_(practice)#cite_note-Columbia-18

    The reason I went with Wiki despite my many reservations is because for this claim, the source is respectable.

    http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/ikram/part2_17.html

    ” Although the Mughals interfered little with Hindu customs, there was one ancient practice which they sought to stop. This was sati, or the custom of widows, particularly those of the higher classes, burning themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyres. “

  11. Pepperoncini

    @ Dota
    What caste is that G. Janardhan Reddy character? I am guessing Shudra because Reddy isn’t a Brahmin name I think.

    • Dota

      Reddy is a caste and also a common last name in the south. I had a math teacher who was a Reddy when I was in grade 10. Traditionally landowners and Warriors, so in the grand scheme I’m guessing that makes them Kshatriyas. The caste system in the south is a different ball game and frankly I’m not all that familiar with it. The south also does not traditionally have a merchant caste, and being a descendant of the merchant caste myself, I find the southern structure somewhat incomprehensible.

  12. Dota

    They didn’t have religious sanction, but they had/have the status of Kshatriya. The Wiki states that the government of India does NOT consider them a backward caste, which means this caste does not get affirmative action. They are a higher caste for all intents and purposes.

  13. Shilpa Bharadwaj

    Uncle: I am writing a Essay on “Food Of the Gods”; I am able to get information from Wikipedia; Would anyone inform me What Lord Jesus Christ and Lord Prophet Mohammed ate for Protein. Were they Beef eaters?

    • Hi Shilpa,

      I don’t know what Muhammad eat, but it seems that in the Middle Eastern cuisine they either eat lamb/mutton or camel meat, they rarely eat beef. Any Middle Easterners here?

      However most Indonesian muslims prefer chicken and beef. They don’t like the taste of mutton/lamb unless it’s from young sheep/goat.

      • phatimabibi

        According to the Bible Jesus drank wine, ate bread & fruits. The only passage in the Bible where it is mentioned that Jesus ate meat was Luke 24:41-43 –
        “He [Jesus] said to them: Do you have any food? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish and some honey. And he took it and ate it in front of them.”

      • Pepperoncini

        I lived in Abu Dhabi ; staple diet was Chicken, Mutton and Beef. I can’t ever remember camel meat being consumed by my Arab neighbours and family friends, they could have occasionally but I don’t recall it being a staple. Now Kabsa (rice, spices and usually chicken) was a very popular and traditional Emirati dish.

    • Dota

      Muhammad ate dates, goat and camel meat, according to sources. This is one area where Jewish dietary law differs from Islamic, Kosher prohibits the consumption of camel meat whereas Islam allows it.

    • Dota

      I did mention that article without linking it. Biswas could have stressed the caste factor a bit more, but most Indians hate to hear about it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

      • Bay Area Guy

        but most Indians hate to hear about it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

        Even the low caste ones?

      • What does the caste factor have to do with people shitting out in the open?

        • Dota

          Robert L:

          From the article that BAG provided: “”The homes of the untouchables simply had no toilets. “Latrines are for you big people,” an untouchable told Gandhi.””

          From Aakar Patel’s ‘The British left six decades too early':”Why did the villager need to be told in 2009 that he could build a toilet in his house? I could think of two reasons: He did not understand hygiene, and he was stopped from building one by the village’s upper caste.”

          My guess is that by making them crap in open the higher castes wanted to impress upon the lower castes their inherent inferiority. Seen another way, they behave like animals because they have always been treated as such.

          BAG

          The lower castes suffer hardships on account of caste but somehow they are trained not to see it. Urban Indians will blame corruption, politics, lack of education ect but will never critically analyze their culture or religion.

  14. @ Dota
    That. While Indians do make jokes on the ‘other’ groups and pass it off as self-depreciation, they never try to engage their culture or religion critically and don’t tolerate jokes targeted against their religion. Its pretty much verboten and potentially life/career threatening.
     
    Both cultural and religion attributes of their identity are taken as inheritable and inmutable; above individualism, rationality or ethics. Any criticism of these is seen as ‘self-hate’. They seem to be stuck in Stage 4 of Kohlberg stage theory of moral development.

  15. “Higher caste Indians who run the country do not care about all of those people who are starving, dying of disease, holed up in slums, sleeping on the street, living beside open sewers, etc.

    Its true that people are having all the problems you have mentioned here but Sorry India is not ruled by so-called higher caste. Its a democracy and those with majority votes gets to rule. It doesn’t matter if they are of higher caste or of lower caste.

    One of the most backward state of UP actually had a Women Chief Minister belong to lowest caste. Lower castes have 50% reservation for them in all government institution and jobs..

    I think in western world ‘INDIAN CASTE SYSTEM’ is a very misinformed and exaggeration phenomenon.

  16. Fuck India.
    Fuck Indian culture (Hindu culture).
    Fuck Indian religion (Hindu religion).

    Its very evident that you hate India and Hinduism very much. But I am surprised that why would you fuck anything you hate?

    I would fuck only beautiful women which I like and love but not those I hate.

    You need to visit India to- Fuck it. ;)

    • fuck that idiot

      fuck these bastards, indian hindu haters.
      muslims will destroy their arrogant civilization one day,if they fail.the jews will do it,,if that doesnt work then the chinese will nuke them 100%…these parasites loot our coal,iron ore along with other natural resources they dont produce shit on their own..western civilization is based on manipulation & slavery,they dont have the capability to work hard so they lie cheat fraud & run scams like globalization,liberalization…indian money in trillions of dollars is stashed abroad in foreign banks.these parasites are using it for free & now bitching on indian hindu culture…look at how much US has got debt from the federal bank..how long will they eat evrything for free & have the privilege to abuse indian hindus..every country in the world has it’s bad days that does not mean you pick on them so much.
      every dog(west) in the world has his good day also.poverty in india came along with british imperialism.
      stupid morons dont understand the circle of life..what goes around comes around.they are all FOOLS including robert raandsay or whatever his name is.

  17. yourblog

    a sheep‘s blog with pro christian posts, all christian posts. when you make a blog post atleast make it without biasness. the whole objective is to insult hinduism.

    now, theres a video in youtube about christian.pastors killing BABIES and ADMITTING IT ON CAM. the reason, the babies were witches!
    make a post on that, sheep.

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