Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Lesson for Policy Makers : Please Keep Quite and Listen

Govt : It is  all  because  of  the  doctor's  fault who is qualified 
and has done more than 50,000 surgeries AND we are innocent 
as usual.
The current state of our health system is pathetic if not more and is hardly going the right way. A recent article in a leading daily exposed it all. As quoted by the newspaper "All 83 tubectomy operations done laparoscopically at a free medical camp at  Bilaspur, Chhatisgarh failed. If it was not enough, 11 of them died of blood loss/complications and other 50 are still hospitalized. This is because all the surgeries were done by a single team using a sole laparoscope in just a few hours." If you didn't understand what just happened-"83 perfectly healthy lives are fighting the odds who underwent an elective procedure (which was not necessary for a healthy life) at a government approved center by a qualified person". Imagine,if  this happened to the  ladies who were doing the right thing in a supposedly right way what would be happening otherwise. And shockingly this might just be the tip of the iceberg. This is more like a massacre because it has taken more lives than a  small scale terrorist attack/ bomb blast that barely manages to make it to the newspapers. 

Ground Breaking Breakthroughs
If this is the state of our health system, our government should be speeding in top gear to cut the chase but quite surprisingly they were hardly moving and just took a reverse gear. Yes you read it right. Our government is doing their best to skew the statistics in their favor (Chhattisgarh was just an example: they were just trying to meet the goals set by the center) and making policies to woo the voters rather than patients. 

Recent amendment in the MTP Act allowing those practicing Ayurveda, Homeopathy and midwives to do abortions tells the same story.Getting the MTP done by untrained and unprofessional general practitioners is in anyway a retrograde step because neither they are trained or have background knowledge for this nor they would be equipped to handle any emergency arising out of this MTP which might jeopardize the life of a pregnant woman. If these amendments are implemented, more of Chhattisgarh type massacres can be expected to make it to the headlines.

Oh! He is doing fine...
Another vote grabbing move came when a new course 'Bsc (community Health)' for rural medicine was announced. It is retrograde because instead of upgrading the infrastructure the central government thought of downgrading the education/degree to meet the required numbers and by putting RMP's in place of doctors. This is happening when nothing is being done to meet the gaps in medical education, recruitment of doctors has remained patchy and the infrastructure practically doesn't exist. The picture doesn't seem to change if doctors are not included in policy making and the big claims in files start getting reciprocated in the real world. Hope it happens soon enough.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The 'Haider' Phenomenon

          This recent Shahid Kapoor starer release has inadvertently put critics versus patriots and sparked a new debate. This is a four pronged war  rather than a regular 'for' and 'against' debate  and you are a part of it whether  you watched it or not. The four warheads are : 

                1. Critics : These are the people who appreciated the high points of the movie irrespective of the fact that who liked it or who was hurt.  And at least the acting and performances can be appreciated by everyone alike leaving aside the controversial parts.

Note: It also includes movie buffs/Shahid's fans/mechanical hearts who just went in to have a good time, appreciated the jig and just dispersed into the crowd.

                2. Die hard patriots/customary Indians : They just refused to watch and talk about it on the pretext that it is anti-Army and observed an absolute boycott.

Note: It does not include people who refused to watch it due to any other reason.

            3. The sympathisers : They  are  the people    who   were  moved by the pain and sufferings of kashmiris  either after watching the movie or were preconditioned to do so. Although the range of emotions spanned from casually putting their view when time called - to thrusting their anger up everyone’s ass.

               4. The progressive minds :  These are the people who may or may not have watched the movie but appreciate the performances, agree/ sympathized with the torture the kashmiris had to face  and MOST IMPORTANTLY advocate the missing BIG PICTURE. It may be true that many have suffered but the fact that the soldiers have risked their lives for our own safety cannot be ignored and if they were not here many more would have suffered at the hands of these militants.  
I            'If the kashmiris live in fear , so does the soldier'.  You cant imagine the fear a soldier bears who has survived a mine attack on an unsuspecting army convoy, leave aside the loss of a soldier who succumbed to it.

Flaw in the script :

           The writer failed to include the terrorists in the story (may be intentionally). And the ones shown in the movie seems more like saints than extremist and are never seen hurting people. This is unfortunate because it completely ignores the fact that Army was put there with special powers to restrict the  militants only and not the innocent civilians as depicted in the movie.  It should also be noted that AFSPA would not have been in place if there was not a continuous risk of Pakistani militant insurgency  or extremist revolutions. It has put the Honorable ARMY in a dubious spot which is not expected of filmmaker of Vishal Bhardwaj’s stature .

Verdict : Critically acclaimed but Should Have Included Terrorists.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Achievers of Indian Origin : To be Proud or Not

                       India is emerging as a big time winner in almost everything. There is hardly any list or award where India has missed the mark and even if it does, someone with Indian origin comes up to save the day. I mean we are everywhere from Nobel to Oscars ,Times  to Forbes, Politics to Medicine and Research , Sports to Entertainment and so on. Every now and then there is a news that someone of Indian origin has won this or that or become a CEO of a big firm or something like that.  Do I feel  proud ? yes, definitely but one thing comes to my mind every time.

Why do they have to leave India to reach that potential ? or in other words ,
Why India failed to keep the potential winners and achievers  here ? and 
why do they keep drifting away?

                         Another question arises that Why the Indians themselves can’t achieve the same? so that the  origin tag can be done away with. I have been thinking  and I could think of two reasons only :

                One is that we are one of the oldest civilizations, leading in population and  have NRI’s all over the world  or at least their  origin can be traced back to India. So the probability of any achiever being an Indian increases many folds. And not just achievers but some of the victims of international crimes/disasters happen to be Indian. Remember  the oil tanker hijack , Russian submarine that sank or any other such event that made it to the news. In fact I  read an article long time back which stated that there are only three countries in the world that do not have any  NRI i.e. Vatican city (the smallest country with least population) and our neighbors Bhutan(mostly dependent on India and no job opportunities)  and Pakistan (All Pakistanis are NRI’s in a way).

                       The other reason is what made me write this article. It is clear that the Indians have got potential but  the Government has not made enough attempts to tap this potential  or has failed completely . And   this cannot be blamed on the NRI’s because they are doing  what is best for them and  for their dreams and It is a shame that the opportunities in India cannot match the people of such caliber. I think they are the real treasure being kept in other countries and the government should make efforts to bring them back or at least start working in the direction of preventing  this brain drain. Such minds would help India grow in a much better way than the black money being cried about.

                        We should be proud that people of Indian origin are emerging as winners globally but I would be much more happy and proud when we as Indians can do it ourselves, like the Mangalyaan by ISRO.... hats off to them.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Historical Marvel : Delhi

             The historical tales and folklore about Delhi can be traced back up to 3500 yrs BC to the period of Mahabharata and Indraprastha and isn't it just fascinating. Few footprints of the Mauryan and the Gupta dynasty (around 300 BC) have also been found here but it might just be a coincidence. But one thing is evident that Delhi has been inhabited since then and now it’s just a matter of who and when. Marks of the Empires from the early 15th century can be seen easily and are scattered all over Delhi. Here’s a peek into the history...

Iron Pillar at Qutub Complex
Gupta dynasty 

             Iron pillar of this era dates around 400 BC. It was commissioned by some ruler of the Gupta dynasty and relocated to its current place in Qutub complex later. It is notable for it's rust-resistant composition of the metals. It stood centuries against the weather but a fence had to be erected around the pillar in 1997 in response to damage caused by visitors ( It was considered good luck if one could stand with one's back to the pillar and make one's hands meet behind it. Remember, Cheeni Kam).

Qutub Minar

Mamluk dynasty

         Qutub Minar of this era is world's tallest brick minaret and it was commissioned in 1192 by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the founder and first sultan of Mamluk dynasty.

Tughlak dynasty (1320- 1413) 

Tughlaqabad Fort 
       They built two cities in/around Delhi over the span of 100 years. Tughlaqabad and Firozabad, each fashioned around a grand fort. Mohammad bin Tughlaq of this dynasty (Remember, Chak De India) and renowned traveller Ibn Batutah who has a Bollywood song for him (Remember, Ishquiya) might sound familiar.Remnants of their Architectural glory lies at: Tughlaqabad fort, Wazirabad mosque, Firoz shah kotla fort & Firoz shah’s tomb at Hauz khas.
Baoli at Kotla Fort          Jami Masjid            Wazirabad Mosque          Firoz Shah's Tomb

Sayyid Dynasty (1414 – 1451)

       The remains of this dynasty overlap with that of Lodi dynasty.Tomb of Mohammad shah (3rd of the 4 rulers of the empire) can be seen at Lodi Gardens

Sikander Lodi's Tomb                                     Bada Gumbad with Mosque                                   Mohammad Shah's Tomb

Lodi dynasty (1451 – 1526) 
       Lodi gardens at the heart of the city dates back to the 15th century. After recommissioning and beautification it was named 'Lady Willingdon park' but after independence got it’s current name.

Purana Qila

Suri dynasty (1540 – 1553)

      Purana Qila was built by Sher Shah Suri and he also released the first rupiya /rupee of India.

   Hemu (Hemchandra Vikramaditya) took control over Delhi for a short period (1553 - 1556) but ultimately fell to Akbar's armies.

Mughal empire (1556 – 1857)

          Akbar took his capital to Agra until Shah Jahan built the city of Shahjahanabad (today’s old Delhi) including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid and moved back to Delhi in 1638.
View of Lal Qila from Jama Masjid

British East India Company

      They took control of Delhi in 1858 but their capital remained at Calcutta. In 1911 King George V announced the shifting of the capital back to Delhi and an extravagant architectural makeover of Delhi took place, also popularly known as Lutyen’s Delhi. In 1920's & 1930's Edward Lutyen designed and erected the Rashtrapati Bhawan, India Gate and Rajpath. 

            India gate was a memorial for WWI martyrs but Amar Jawan Jyoti was added at its base after 1971 Bangladesh war and it has served as the 'tomb of the unknown soldier' since then.

           Cannaught place was designed by Robert Tor Russell and the Secretariat building including PM Office and parliament house by Herbert baker.

Aerial view of Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House and India Gate (if you can make out)

Mughals : Savages to Sultan

Roshan Ara Tomb- Delhi

                     We have all read at least something about the Great Mughals and how they ruled India with flamboyance for 300 years. I have always been intrigued about who they actually were and where did they come from? My quest took me to the roller coaster of Mughal reign in India. Its amazing how the history of our own neighborhood can be traced back past centuries but its a shame how the historical milestones of this tale of grandeur are lying in ruins.

" के जिनके कलम-ओ-तलवार ने रचा इतिहास था, 
बे-आबरू हुए वो बिखरे पन्नों से झाँकते हैं,

अब तेरी-मेरी क्या बिसात ऐ ग़ालिब, 
के मुघलिया तख़्त भी यहाँ धूल फाँकते हैं..."


     The Mughal history is a conglomeration of multiple paradoxes. It is a story of savage raiders who became sumptuous rulers but interestingly, Hindustan was never the prime target. Mughals came from central Asia where each of the descendant of Timur (Timur-e-leng) was fighting for their own place. Babur was the first Mughal who came to India to stay, that too by chance only. A constant struggle with his uncles and cousins ousted him from his own town 'ferghana' and pushed him to the south where he settled at Kabul. The beginning of the Mughal reign is conventionally dated to Babur's victory over Ibrahim lodi in the first battle of panipat (1526). It was sheer tactics , valor and artillery & guns (used for the first time in northern india) that his army took down 4 times bigger army of Ibrahim lodi. His journey from 'ferghana' to Hindustan was nowhere near the league of his great ancestors Timur and Genghis khan but the details with which he recorded his personal odyssey gives him an added distinction. He lies in peace at his favorite garden at Kabul (obviously in ruins). Babur died in Dec,1530 and left Hindustan in the hands of the super-superstitious Humayun and his 3 younger brothers. The brothers could never unite and lost their empire to Sher Shah of sur dynasty. If it wasn't the generalship of the great warrior Bairam Khan, he could not have returned to power in 1555. Only credit that Humayun can be attributed to is that he gave us Akbar the Great.

            Under the rule of Akbar and his son Jahangir, India flourished the most and enjoyed economic progress as well as religious harmony. Akbar was a successful warrior which he demonstrated by defeating Hemu in the second battle of panipat (1556) soon after his accession to the throne. He also used his reputation perfectly to forge alliances with several Hindu Rajput kingdoms. He also founded a new religion deen-e-ilahi which was an amalgamation of both Hinduism and Islam. Jahangir continued to follow it but could not subdue most of the orthodox minds and it faded away. Jahangir was bad at other things too, he was a chronic alcoholic and it was he who opened the doors for British East India Company.

          Then came Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor, who gave us the masterpieces of Mughal architecture. The most famous of his creations are the Taj Mahal & the Moti Masjid at Agra and the Red Fort and Jama Masjid at Delhi . The Mughal Empire reached the zenith of its territorial expanse during the reign of Aurangzeb and it was this time when the fall also started. The Maratha resurgence encouraged the Nawabs of Bengal , Bhopal and oudh and the Nizam of Hyderabad to declare their independence from the Mughals .

       In 1739, Nader Shah crushed the left overs of Mughal pride and looted their capital including the koh-i-noor which ultimately ended up in the British Crown. The Mughal prowess continued to decline and the last emperor was limited only to the walled city of Delhi. This city of Shahajahanbad is today's Old Delhi. The 300 years old reign finally came to an end after the 1857 rebellion.

           This tale of grandeur gives me nostalgia and the fact that we are living in a royal neighborhood is astonishing and the pieces are scattered all over the place AND you don't have to try hard.

Tomb of Khan-i-Khana                                        Red Fort                                                   Humayun's Tomb      
These two tombs actually inspired the Taj Mahal