Thursday, December 29, 2005


We highly recommend The Last Child, a terrific documentary about the global effort to eradicate polio.

One key learning is that while India is close to ending the disease, owing to all manner of rumor and superstition many people are still scared to have their kids immunized.

What truly threw us is the fact that many in rural minority communities -- in our home state of UP, for instance -- feel that the polio vaccine is part of a majority conspiracy to make their kids impotent. The documentary actually shows people running away when health-care volunteers come by to offer free inoculation.

This situation is unconscionable -- a result of our poisoned inter-faith relations. Innocent kids end up carrying the consequent burden for the rest of their lives. How can this be acceptable in 21st century India?

This is one more reminder why we need to overcome our valid frustrations with India's imperfect secularism and keep working towards a truly secular society, where communities are able to trust one another and innocent kids are no longer paralyzed because their parents irrationally think the majority community is trying to impose population control on them.

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