Unleashing the community potential of Indian villages

5.4 Nutrition
The village must address both the issues of quantity and quality of nutrition. Initially through promoting the government and NGO schemes and eventually through proper arrangement of employment for every family, a village must ensure that there is no starvation unless by an individual’s own choice. As for quality, all traditional recipes of the village must be preserved. Medical practitioners and sports Gurus besides householders and traditional cooks are good reservoirs of knowledge related to food; they must be patronized. The village must attain the required nutrition status with the help of external support agencies.
Relevance:         Proper nutrition is one of the foundations of great health and prosperity. While minimum standards ... are to be fulfilled, there is also a need to expand the scope of that knowledge so that nutrition type and levels required for sportsmen, soldiers, blue-collar workmen, farmers, fishermen, etc. are taken care of. Olympic-level fitness requires an all-pervading basic foundation which needs to be set up in all the villages of the nation. Nutrition required for Olympic standards can be built on that foundation. Finally, cooking as an ‘art’ must have ‘science’ as the support.
Detailed Rationale:         It is generally perceived that nutrition for individuals is a concern for the corresponding family. ... However, in a village that has arrived, a large burden of that concern should be on the shoulders of the village itself. Ensuring that growing children are well fed is a village problem. The village must address that concern by ensuring adequate income for the families and through social support, if necessary, in critical cases.

When a village possesses a great culture of sports and arts, nutrition automatically receives a great boost. In the traditions of excellent sportsmanship, tremendous amounts of knowledge regarding nutrition is also passed down. And this wealth of information can enrich a village.
Success Stories and Action:
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A village must ensure richness in the knowledge of nutrition through preservation and propagation of traditions related to sports and the culinary arts. It must coordinate with nutrition specialists and nutrition agencies to have the staple food in the area scientifically analyzed and recommend changes in food and also the method of cooking to the members of the village. It must assess the availability and non-availability of nutrients needed for a balanced diet and ensure that the village produce/market has enough diversity to meet the basic needs. The village body must also facilitate the availability and use of traditional herbs and medicines in the village, preferably along with experts in traditional medicine. The use of traditional herbs can eventually develop into an industry if the ancient traditions of healthy living and healthy sporting are systematically supported.

Indian traditional institutions like Ayurveda, acharyas and coaches have what it takes to meet the requirements. There have been cases of success in the Indian context with villages achieving great milestones in the fields of boxing and wrestling. They have found international recognition and acclaim. There are martial arts traditions too besides the other sports and art forms that are rich in this wealth. These are great sources to study and improve the performance of each village.

A village must record the number of children with malnutrition present in its domain as a great affront to itself and shoulder full responsibility to ensure that hunger is not heard of within its boundaries. Rather, we should note that great sportsmanship does not come from an empty stomach; if a village has an outstanding sports culture, then it has already addressed its hunger issues.

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