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Home > 2022 > Letter to the readers, Mainstream, Feb 19, Feb 26, 2022

Mainstream, VOL LX No 9, 10 New Delhi, February 19, February 26, 2022 [Special Double number]

Letter to the readers, Mainstream, Feb 19, Feb 26, 2022

Thursday 17 February 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, February 19, February 26, 2022

The Government of India under Narendra Modi has since 2014 been steadily pushing a certain vision of an imaginary history and heritage in the name of so-called Indianisation coloured by its ideological moorings in Hindutva cultural nationalism. As a result, we have seen names of cities changed, syllabi and curriculum modified, we have heard the Prime Minister making amazing claims of plastic surgery in Ancient India, we have had silly fake science papers on airplanes from ancient times presented at the prestigious Indian Science Congress, certain musical tunes dropped from the beating the retreat ceremony of January 2022 for cause of being ‘foreign’; and now the newly constituted National Medical Commission is reportedly replacing the Hippocratic Oath administered in medical colleges in India with the ‘Charak Shapath’ (based on a Sanskrit text by a major contributor to the ancient medical treatise of Ayurveda). The Hippocratic Oath (named after the Greek Philosopher Hippocrates) is an internationally accepted component of modern medical education that lays out a moral-ethical framework for the conduct of doctors. This symbolic oath has been an essential part of the rites of passage of doctors trained under modern scientific medicine and is a legal requirement in certain countries. The centuries-old Hipporcratic oath has been modified over time – taking into account e.g. the International Statement on the ethics of medical research using human subjects namely, the Nuremberg Code formulated in 1947 and is also referred to as the Physician’s Oath based on the Geneva Declaration (1948) adopted by The World Medical Association [1]. The representatives of Indian Medical Association the largest professional body of Indian doctors are opposed to any such change to replace the Hippocratic oath with an Ayurveda healers oath and are apparently meeting with the Minister of Health to convey their opposition. The Government must not unilaterally make such changes and peddle its seeming preferences for Ayurveda over all else. We already witnessed much agitation in June 2021 when doctors in India protested and filed a lawsuit against the Hindu Spiritual healer cum Yoga businessman Baba Ramdev’s statements mocking evidence-based modern medicine. The doctors were also mighty upset with the then Health minister lending undue public support to an untested Ayurvedic drug against Covid-19. An Ayurvedic oath should not be imposed on the modern medical school in India. Modern medical education imparted in India is much respected and doctors and nurses trained here, serve in health facilities around the globe. The Government should not do anything that will diminish the reputation of Indian medicine & science which follows universal values and standards. India’s medical professionals like their peers around the world follow common protocols of learning and practice and also share similar ethical codes of conduct for scientists engaged in life sciences and in Medical education [2]. Let this shared international culture in Modern medical practice flourish unimpeded.

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Tributes:

Justice Ajit Singh Bains, the much-remembered People’s Judge of Punjab passed away on February 11, 2022. He retired as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1984 and then took up human rights investigations across jails of Punjab at his own cost.

Bhanumati Rao, the well-known Bharathanatyam and Kathakali dancer, choreographer, and actor who was 98, passed away on February 12, 2022.

Rahul Bajaj, a topmost Indian industrialist, former chairman of Bajaj Group, a rare man of courage who stood up for secular political principles, passed away on February 12, 2022

Prof Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya, one India’s foremost scholars of philosophy who set up the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, also a Deputy Minister for Health at one time, passed away on Feb 14, 2022

Larisa Kislinskaya, the unusual Russian journalist and columnist known for her sterling reportage between the late 1980s to mid-1990s on the Russian underworld and the mafia was found dead in her apartment, her death was announced on February 14, 2022

Sandhya Mukherjee, an acclaimed playback singer in Bengali cinema, who had worked with top music directors of yesteryears such as SD Burman, Naushad, and Salil Chaudhury, died on February 15, 2022. She helped musician Samar Das in setting up the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the radio for Bangladeshi national liberation forces, and sang for it.

Bappi Lahiri, the singer, composer, who played a big role in introducing modern disco dance music into Bombay’s films passed away on February 15, 2022. In the 1980s, apparently, the Russians went crazy over his song ‘Jimmy Jimmy, aaja aaja‘

Surajit Sengupta, the footballer who played for both the famous teams Mohun Bagan and East Bengal and also represented India at the 1978 Asian Games passed away on Feb 17, 2022

We pay tributes to all of the above people

Feb 19, 2022 – HK

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