Hot Head

RIOTS WERE NOT ACCIDENTAL

Months after they fled their homes because of the communal flare-up, many of the displaced victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots returned to their villages to cast their votes. With transport being taken care of by the administration, the refugees told the waiting crew of journalists —who wanted to know how it felt to be returning to their old homes — that they cast their votes and immediately returned to the camps.

RAZING HISTORY

Some time back, I stumbled upon the work of an Italian photographer who had courageously travelled to Syria’s troubled and war-ravaged city of Aleppo. The theme of his gallery of disturbing pictures is ‘deserted homes’, a silent glimpse into what the war has done to the abodes of ordinary people. The homes featured are mostly of the rich and the well-heeled, who seem to have left in a hurry once the bombs began to go off.

The Right to Food

I remember what food rations meant in the 1960s and ‘70s. Long queues would form in front of the ration or fair price shops as soon as word got around that the trucks carrying wheat or rice had arrived. Sometimes, the arrival of food grain turned out to be plain rumour — causing great anger and anxiety amongst those who went back with empty bags. India was still not self-sufficient in food grain and was forced to import it from the US and other countries. Much of the wheat that India got from the US’s PL-480 was resent as it was rumoured to be for cattle.