The country is shining, people’s health is declining
Tell me, what is draining my people’s health?
Is it so much poverty despite so much wealth?
They smile and inform us that our country is shining.
But everywhere I look, I see public health declining.
From ordinary ailments, so many infants dying.
To save them, are our rulers really, really, trying?
Losing their own lives, while bringing to life another
Why is it still a hazard, to become a mother?
Ranging from womb to tomb, women facing threats to life.
But for a sterilisation, they always take the wife!
Old diseases spreading, and now infections new,
Outbreaks off and on, maybe an epidemic too.
Malnutrition growing, even deaths by starvation,
Export the grain for pigs abroad, aren’t we a shining nation?
Pepsi and Coke aplenty, bottled water some can buy
But most still lack a safe well, or see their tap run dry.
In the public hospitals, no medicines or supplies.
Ask officials what’s going on, all you get is lies.
Pay at every window, stand in every line,
Quietly buy all your drugs; don’t you think that’s fine?
And if you go to the villages, things may be even worse.
No doctor in the health centre, in the subcentre no nurse.
So you suggest I go to, the private clinic next door?
Pay a hefty doctor’s fee, for tests and drugs some more?
And god forbid, if they admit me, after consultation,
Hospital bills, referrals and scans may cause my ruination.
You ask about our taxes, how public funds are spent?
Not for health, but tanks and bombs, is where our money went.
The time has come to ask, some questions loud and clear.
Why life here is so cheap, why health care is so dear.
Why rulers shrug off their duty, for citizens’ health care
Despite the highest growth rate, why state coffers look bare.
Doesn’t every Indian, rich or poor, have a right to live?
Then as a basic service, health care the state must give.
Bring the ‘public’ into public health, this is the need today.
Make the system answerable; and heed what people say.
We know this country can ensure, basic health care for all,
If rulers cannot meet basic needs, then such rulers must fall.
For now the tide is rising, people beginning to assert
Right to resources, right to food, the basic right to work.
Let’s form a broad alliance, all those facing oppression
The toiling and the marginalised, the great mass of our nation.
Let’s join ranks in our millions, and fight for a better life
To end deprivation, exploitation, and communal strife.
As one step in this struggle, now let’s begin the fight
To ensure health, and make health care a fundamental right!
by Abhay sukla
P.S.- Did you know ? Prathap Suthan, national creative director with Grey Worldwide (India) advertising agency. came up with the slogan in December 2003 as part of a Rs 65 crore (Rs 650 million), government-funded campaign to promote India. internationally .’India Shining‘ was originally the theme for a 60-second video made by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to highlight the steps it says it took to boost economic growth, slash interest rates, stabilise prices, expand road and telecom and health networks, and offer free basic education.
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