Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Guha threat mails

New Delhi, March 28 (PTI): Historian Ramachandra Guha today tweeted that he had been getting "identical mails" that warned him not to be critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

Guha, who is also a columnist for The Telegraph, said the mails warned him against criticising BJP president Amit Shah.
"Many people/IDs sending identical mails warning me to 'get ready for punishment (sic) by Divine Mahakal' for being critical of the BJP," he tweeted. "I am also warned not to criticise Narendra Modi and Amit Shah who 'are blessed & divine... chosen one by Divine Mahakal to change the world'," he said.

Calling themselves "Divine Indian", the senders of the mails told Guha not to compare Modi with Indira Gandhi and Shah with Sanjay Gandhi, while calling the BJP leaders "Divine chosen ones".

"Before writing such blogs, comparing Mr Modi and Indira Gandhi, or Amit Shah and Sanjay Gandhi... you should understand the differences between them. Who are you to think, and write that way? You need to first understand the meaning of Divine chosen, and blessed by divine," the mail read. It also warned Guha "not to compare or insult" and "maintain the dignity of blessed persons".

Guha told PTI that such mails were a "routine affair" and they were "nothing serious".

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Name and shame VIP bullies: Airport force

New Delhi, March 27: The Central Industrial Security Force has handed the Union home ministry a dossier on MPs accused of bullying its jawans at airports when asked to undergo the mandatory security check.
It has asked that these MPs' names be put on the ministry website to shame them.

The dossier comes at a time major domestic airlines have barred a Shiv Sena MP from their flights for thrashing a 60-year-old Air India official with a sandal aboard a plane on Thursday.
However, there's already talk of sorting out the row through talks and allowing Ravindra Gaikwad to fly again, reflecting the challenge before the CISF, which manages airport security across India.

"The dossier names 20 MPs who berated and browbeat our jawans last year when asked to get their luggage X-rayed and take their coats off before check-in," a senior CISF officer said.
Such dossiers are routine: every year the CISF sends the home ministry a follow-up report on MPs' complaints accusing its personnel of misbehaving with them at airports.
CISF officers say most of the complaints stem from the MPs' hurt egos and that security-camera evidence proves virtually all of them false.
But this is the first time the force has sought action against the MPs, after all the 20 complaints proved false, a senior CISF officer said.

North Block sources, however, said the home ministry had two years ago, too, considered "naming and shaming" the "egotistic" MPs who hector airport security, but eventually backed out fearing political controversy.
The senior CISF officer said the dossier was sent last week. The ministry, to which the force reports, had earlier forwarded the MPs' complaints to the CISF director-general.
"While examining the CCTV footage from near the check-in area, we found that it was the complainants (MPs) who had misbehaved with the jawans," the officer said.
A home ministry official said that CISF jawans posted at airports were trained to show due courtesy to passengers and MPs without compromising security regulations.

According to ministry data, 24 MPs and several bureaucrats had lodged "false" complaints against CISF personnel across airports in 2011. The number was five in 2012 but rose to 30 in 2013, dropping to 24 in 2014 and 21 in 2015.
Parliamentarians are not per se exempt from security checks at airports. Those so exempt include the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Union ministers, chief ministers, chief justices of the Supreme Court and the high courts, chief election commissioner, Union cabinet secretary, the Dalai Lama, Sonia Gandhi and her family, former Presidents, Lok Sabha Speaker and the three service chiefs.

Delhi police sources said that Gaikwad, booked on the charges of assault and attempt to commit culpable homicide, which carries a maximum jail term of seven years, would be asked to have his statement recorded.
"We have already recorded the statement of the complainant, Air India duty manager Sukumar," an officer said.
Gaikwad had refused to get off the plane after his Pune-Delhi flight landed in Delhi, complaining about being denied business-class travel after he himself had insisted on boarding an all-economy flight.
When Sukumar tried to persuade him to disembark, he allegedly slapped him, tore his shirt and, by his own admission, hit the official "25 times" with his sandal.

It seems Ravindra Gaikwad is not the first case of MPs bullying airport staff when they do not get what they wanted. 
The King is Dead, Long Live the King!
The British may have left and the Privy purses of the Maharajahs may have been taken away but India is producing a new breed of Maharajahs, called politicians, who consider themselves above the law.
There are around 24 MPs who seem to be doing what Gaikwad does.
Are you going to give your hard earned money which you give to the government in the form of taxes to pay for the pension of life of these rogues?
I won't be surprised if these 24 MPs figure in the list of 33 % MP who have criminal cases against them.

Niti Aayog proposes draft bills for Indian System of Medicine, homoeopathy

NEW DELHI: Niti Aayog has come up with two draft legislations to regulate and promote Indian Systems of Medicine which include ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, and homoeopathy.

The draft bills, prepared by a committee under Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, has suggested creation of apex councils and boards to deal with issues concerning different streams of Indian Systems of Medicine as well as homeopathy.

The draft National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine (NCISM) Bill, 2017 will cover Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Sowa-Rigpa, Yoga and Naturopathy.

The draft National Commission for Homoeopathy Act, 2017 will also cover biochemical remedies.

Among other things, these two bills seek to ensure adequate supply of high quality medical professions for the Indian stream of medicine at both under graduate and postgraduate levels and promote research.

The bills also provide for maintainace of registers for professionals engaged in Indian System of Medicine and homeopathy.

As per the NCISM bill, the central government shall constitute a commission, to be called the National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine.

The Commission shall comprise a Chairperson, a Member Secretary, 13 ex-officio members and 14 part-time members.

According to the draft NCISM bill, the central government shall also constitute a council to be called the Advisory Council for Indian Systems of Medicine (ACISM).

It further said the central government shall, by notification, will establish a body to be called the Board of Yoga & Naturopathy (BYN) to determine and prescribe standards and oversee all aspects of medical education at all levels for Yoga and Naturopathy.

As per the National Council for Homoeopathy (NCH) Bill, 2017, the central government shall constitute a council to be called the Advisory Council for Homoeopathy (ACH).

The central government shall also constitute a Commission, to be called the National Commission for Homoeopathy.

Recently, Panagariya led panel has also proposed to replace the Medical Council of India by a National Medical Commission.

The government has constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to look into concerns raised by some states and stakeholders over the draft National Medical Commission Bill 2016.

Poison in ayurvedic drugs

AHMEDABAD: Many believe that “herbal” is synonymous with “safe,” but it turns out ayurvedic medicines, if not prepared as prescribed in rasa shastras can, in fact, turn deadly with metals like lead or mercury!

A retired IAS officer and secretary, revenue appeals, Gunwant Champaneri found himself critically ill with severe weight loss, alarmingly low haemoglobin levels, loss of appetite and neurological weakness with wrist drop, making it difficult for him even to hold a cup of tea. After lot of medical consultations, he was diagnosed with lead poisoning ostensibly caused by ayurvedic diabetes medication he had started for better sugar control -- the safer way.

“I had started taking an ayurvedic course for diabetes in July 2010. I lost 17 kilos in 10 months, my haemoglobin levels fell to 7, I had abdominal pains and I lost appetite. I was readying for a spine surgery when a doctor suggested I consult a toxicologist. I was shocked that I was suffering from lead poisoning with exceptionally high lead level of 80.88 ug/dl,” says Champaneri.

The WHO has recommended the upper limit for lead in blood to be no more than 10 ug/dl for adults and 5 ug/dl for children.

Retired NIOH clinical toxicologist Dr Aruna Dewan, now director of Center For Education Awareness and Research On Chemicals and Health says she is getting significant number of lead poisoning cases -- mostly triggered by people popping ‘safe ayurvedic’ drugs.

Dewan put Champaneri on a treatment of an oral chelating agent D-penicillamine, one of the most preferred medicines for lead detoxification and a rarely available drug. Dewan said, “There is a strong need for stringent quality control measures to be in place for ayurvedic medicines.”

“I recommend people who are taking ayurvedic medicines should get them tested in a government accredited food and drug laboratory for metal traces,” she said.

Leading gastroenterologist Dr Nilay Mehta said that lead poisoning due to ayurvedic medications with heavy metals, especially those used for treating diabetes is an alarming issue.

He cited the case of a Muslim businessman from Rajkot who was brought to him with convulsions, severe jaundice and altered sensorium wherein he was not able to recognize his family members.

Neurologist Dr Sudhir Shah treated him for neuropathy. “The businessman had taken ayurvedic medicine to control diabetes for ten-odd months. While his sugar levels were controlled, he suffered serious complications and has not recovered 100% even after two and a half years,” Dr Mehta said.

“The alarming growth in lead poisoning in patients has now led us to take detailed medication history of patients including ayurvedic and herbal medications as well", said Dr Mehta.

We have to disagree with Napoleon, the pig, in Geroge Orwell's "Animal Farm". All four legged animals are not good and all two legged animals are not bad. There are benefits in all streams of medicines, Allopathy, Homeopathy and Ayurvedic. 
Allopathy has been the most researched, tested and propagated stream although on many occasions the pharmaceutical companies do incomplete testing or hide the results of any adverse test results. However, in India, especially North India, I am sorry to say, unscrupulous physicians and surgeons are more interested in earning a fast buck rather than look after the welfare of the patient.
Homeopathy, too has been a well researched stream and my family believe strongly on its efficacy. Allopaths look down on it, probably out of fear that they will lose patients. However, it is slow to act and where quick results are required or where surgery is required a good homeopath would recommend his patient to see a specialist allopath.
Ayurved has been the least researched. It has through the ages been handed down from father to son knowledge,kept secretive in the family with very few records kept and handed down from word of mouth.It normally famous for its churans (mixed powders) for indigestion and colds and cough. They promise treatments and remedies from all ailments including, TB , Cancer and AIDs, but with no records to show.Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction has been one of its forte if we see the number of ads from Baids and Hakims as practitioners of Ayurved are called. However, the persons who take these cures for ED never expose their effects for fear of exposing themselves. After  the appearance of Viagra and its other avtars, ayurveds are known to add the above ED drugs in their churans to cure ED.
The present government which is hell bent on taking us back through the dark ages, wants to promote Aurvedic medicine. It is good news, at least, some research will be done on it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Modi prod for digital payments in daily life

New Delhi, March 26 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged people to use less cash in their daily lives and continue to support the movement towards digital payments, started after the note recall in November.
"My dear countrymen, we must take our fight against black money and corruption to the next level.... We should contribute towards ensuring a reduction in the use of cash, of currency notes," he said in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme,

Modi exhorted the public to pay school fees online and buy medicines, goods and air and train tickets digitally.
"We can do this in our day-to-day lives. You can't imagine how you can serve the country in this way and become a brave soldier in the fight against black money and corruption," he said.
Observing that the budget had announced there would be 2,500 crore digital transactions this year, he said that if the 125 crore Indians wanted, "they need not wait for a year, they can do it in six months".
Modi said the country had over the past few months witnessed an atmosphere in which people had in large numbers participated in the "Digidhan" movement for digital payments.

"There has also been an increase in curiosity about cashless transactions. The poorest of the poor are making attempts to learn, and people are gradually moving towards doing business without cash. There has been a surge in various modes of digital payment after demonetisation," he said.
Modi added that the BHIM App, launched about two-and-a-half months ago, had already been downloaded by one-and-a-half crore people.
He greeted the people of Bangladesh on their Independence Day and referred to the two countries' shared memories of Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote both their national anthems.

The Prime Minister lauded Tagore's renunciation of his knighthood in protest against the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre and cited how the killings had inspired a 12-year-old Bhagat Singh to become a freedom fighter.
Modi referred to Mahatma Gandhi's Champaran Satyagraha and how "he could inspire the poorest of the poor, the most illiterate, to unite and come together" to fight British rule.
He mentioned his government's "very important decision" to give working women maternity leave for 26 weeks, instead of the earlier 12 weeks.
He also talked about his pet Swachh Bharat drive and discouraged the waste of food.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Apollo Group’s Preetha Reddy admits to lapses in healthcare delivery

Kolkata: At a time when Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in the city is under the scanner for alleged medical negligence and malpractices, Apollo Group's managing director Preetha Reddy on Monday admitted to lapses in the hospital's healthcare delivery in the last few months.
Reddy told reporters after a meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat that the level of care had indeed deteriorated in the last one and a half months.
"Apollo has treated nine million people from West Bengal and in the last one and a half months the level of care was not what it had been," she said.
Reddy said, "We stand for quality, we are committed to quality... Sometimes the system does not adhere to that level of quality and anybody has to correct it... We have a whole team which is going to be able to do that."
Reddy also hailed the chief minister's initiative to set up the West Bengal Health Regulatory Commission, saying all hospitals have to meet what the CM wants.
"The CM has set up a commission... She was extremely gracious and pointed out certain parts which I think all hospitals have to meet ... parents have to be treated well, patients coming to emergency have to be given the treatment and the level of care they need," she said.
She further said that the tariffs of the hospital also needed to be 'rationalised'.
Describing the meeting with Banerjee, who is also the state health minister as a "good one-hour meeting with a lot of ideas and exchanges", Reddy said that the hospital would continue serving the people from the state with "affordable, accessible and best possible care".
She said, "We should do whatever we can to see highest quality of tertiary health care for the people of West Bengal."
Discounting speculation of leaving the state, she said, "I assure the people of West Bengal that Apollo is here and we are committed to caring, we are committed to compassionate care and we will do whatever is possible to see people are treated with love, compassion."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Secular manifesto for change: Here’s how secularism must be reinvented to credibly challenge the Hindutva narrative

The following has been written by Saba Naqvi for a blog in Times of India
A Yogi Adityanath could not have been elevated to CM of the country’s largest state had there not been a complete hollowing out of secular values. For those of us who still have secular stardust in our eyes, let’s recognise that secularism as practised in India has been reduced to electoral management, that first sees Muslims as a herd and then tries to keep that herd together.
It’s a vaguely insulting formulation, particularly as practitioners of the craft of secular politics have auctioned out the task of delivering the imaginary herd to a bunch of middlemen, all too often clerics or strongmen with criminal antecedents. It should be crystal clear by now that they repel others and have brought Indian Muslims to the point where candidates who presume to be the people’s representatives are unelectable and the community’s vote has been rendered ineffective.
The secular model currently offers no counter narrative to challenge Hindutva that claims to unite people above caste and region in a national symphony. All of this has been some time in the making. The clout of clerics increased ever since Congress famously capitulated before them when it overturned the Shah Bano judgment in 1986. This reinforced the “separateness” of Muslims and contributed to the rise of BJP in national politics.
The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) was at the heart of that churning. Founded in 1973, it is a collection of clerics with a motley crew of professionals whose main purpose is to protect Sharia law. Half its members are life members who represent an orthodox male viewpoint, by default promoted by the state that swears by secularism, that actually means separation of religion and government. Frankly, the Ulema should have no complaint with Yogi Adityanath, the head of a religious order, occupying political office!
The same clerics also have their hand in managing Waqf properties that can be described as religious endowments made in the name of Allah for the benefit of the poor. There are approximately 3,00,000 registered Waqf properties in India on about four lakh acres of land (the second largest land holding after Indian railways). It is a national resource that should have been developed for the welfare of the community (the Sikh community is a model to emulate here).
Instead, many Waqf boards are repositories of corruption, both petty and large. Yet they get away with it because any demand for scrutiny is described as an attack on Islam.
It’s all rather pathetic. There is actually precious little that the Indian secular state has given the Muslim community except to ensure that they live for eternity in the museum of stereotypes, most notably that of the clerics who mostly talk rubbish when they showcase their views on television. The imagery of these men as “sole spokespersons” only works to counter mobilise. The community has slipped on all human development indices yet an entire mobilisation has thrived on the argument that they are appeased. It’s true, the clerics have indeed been appeased in a manner of speaking.
The real wealth of the Muslim community lies in its artisans, weavers and craftsmen who make both functional and beautiful things with their hands. It lies in the intellectual reservoirs of poetry and literature, in music and architecture. It is a real irony that over 200 years ago a poet such as Mirza Ghalib would mock the mullahs so relentlessly while we in contemporary India were doomed to take their views so seriously.
These elections have also exposed as a zero sum game the cynical mathematical model that works with the presumed value of the Muslim vote. Indeed, a politician such as Mayawati should recognise that her projection of the mullah-meat trader-muscleman candidates fitted communal stereotyping and hurt rather than helped a community she so grandiosely set out to represent. She spoke so incessantly of Muslims that a casual visitor to Uttar Pradesh during the elections could be forgiven for getting the impression that the state was voting to elect a minority CM!
Now that the shock of the verdict has registered some voices are beginning to express bitterness against the mullah-politician nexus. A process of introspection has begun and at the very least the community must recognise that in the narrative emerging in India their only utility lies as an image that is a caricature of the multiplicity of Muslim identities in India. No one will shed tears unless the change comes from within. Here are my humble suggestions for a manifesto for change:
* Tell the mullahs to restrict their activities to the masjid. Ban them (short of issuing a fatwa!) from appearing on TV. Be vocal about stating that you have different role models. Begin the process of examining the structures of law boards and Waqf boards, managed by groups of men guarding their turfs. Get professionals to create a genuine welfare structure for the community.
* Ask for participation in existing government schemes instead of harping on separate identity constitutional guarantees. Build campaigns over economic issues, jobs, small loans, education and not issues such as triple talaq. Yes, you will be baited but don’t fall into the many traps.
* Salvation lies in propagating the many cultural traditions that unite, not those that separate. Take on the conservative views on music, women’s right and freedoms. Highlight the pluralist traditions.
* If someone comes asking for votes on the basis of fear and tells you that Muslims are supposed to be in the frontline of the battle to save secularism, turn around and tell them in that case it may not really be worth saving.

Religion is a personal affair and it should be treated as such.
There is a difference between being religious and being spiritual
Religion has become business but spiritual if for you alone for the benefit of mankind.
When one allows gurus, maulvis, jathedars and padres to run your life it becomes dangerous. 
Then we have fatwas and hukumnammas to rule your life.
One should decide for himself what is right and what is wrong and not be influence by these external sources who in most cases have an axe to grind.
Even at this late stage, if the population realizes that it is the politicians and the above people who are taking them for a ride, it will all be for the good.
The first thing for the educated people among to call these people's bluff and start having normal education instead of that given by madrassa on religious basis.