India today suffers from an extreme scarcity of food. The country reached a state of near famine within a few decades of coming of the British, and we have remained in that state ever since. Indians today consume one third less of staple food compared to the people in almost any other part of the world, and cattle and animals in India get almost no grains or roots at all. Yet we have chosen to believe that we grow more food than what we need.
India was never so callous about scarcity and hunger. Growing an abundance of food and sharing it in plenty, annabahulya and annadana, have always constituted the essence of dharmika living for us. Annabahulya and annadana are in fact at the foundation of dharma; all else, even the search for moksa is built on this foundation.
This book is a recollection of this great Indian tradition of abundance and sharing. Based on the highly regarded texts of Indian civilisational identity, the srutis, itihasas, puranas, and dharmasastras, the book presents a compelling glimpse of the intensity with which Indians have thought about annabahulya and annadana. And, in the process it offers a fresh understanding of the essence of Indian civilization.
This book has been placed at the feet of some of the foremost Acharyas of India, who have blessed the effort and expressed the hope that India shall soon anchor herself again in the dharma of annabahulya and annadana. The book carries mangalasasanas from the following Acharyas.
Sri Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Sringeri Sarada Pitha
Sri Kaliyan Vanamamalai Jiyar Swamigal
Sri Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Puri Govardhana Pitha
Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana Jiyar Swamiji
Sri Pejavara Mathadhisa Sri Viswesatirtha Swamiji
Sri Paramahansa Sri Vamadevaji Maharaj
Sri Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha
Annam Bahu Kurvita:
Recollecting the Indian Discipline
of Growing and Sharing Food in Plenty
J. K. Bajaj and M. D. Srinivas
Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai
Tamil 1998 ISBN 81-86041-08-7
English 1996 ISBN 81-86041-05-2
Hindi 1996 ISBN 81-86041-06-0