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Eating Disorder

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SHRIYA MOHAN uncovers shocking tales of tribals battling hunger and starvation in the heartlands of Madhya Pradesh


TODAY MAUSAM will not eat. There is just enough wheat flour left for three rotis but she stretches the dough thin to make four. She grinds a chutney of raw green chillies with salt and spreads it on each roti — one roti each for her two, three, five and sixyear- old. They eat slowly and despite the struggle to swallow the spice, waste no morsel. The bread it covers is the only solid food they will get for the next day. They finish in a few minutes — mouths on fire and stomachs numb. Hunger has vanished. The chillies have served their purpose. Water will fill the rest of their stomachs. One more day has passed. Mausam has to wait until her husband returns from town with wages to buy this month’s food grains from the ration store.

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