PERSPECTIVE

Monthly Archives: AUGUST 2018


AB HUYE SAB BARABAR – GRANTH SAHIB, GITA, QURAN, BIBLE
Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal
22.08.18 - S Pal
Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal



MANY SIKHS HAD a problem with a movie called Jo Bole So Nihal. Not too long ago, many Sikhs had a problem with Nanak Shah Fakir. Some sections of the Sikhs had an issue with the Aamir Khan starrer PK. A few pro-Badal Sikhs did have a serious problem with Udta Punjab.

In each of these cases, their maximum demand was that the movie be banned. Often, in pragmatic terms, the demand was to ban the screening of the movie in Punjab.

Now, all those hurt Sikhs will be able to legitimately claim that the directors, producers and actors in case of each of these movies be jailed for their entire lives as they have hurt the religious sentiments of the devout.

Sukhbir Singh Badal's cabinet and government cleared such a law, but it wanted life term for committing sacrilege of the Sikh religious scriptures. Now, the Centre has said that piece of legislation was discriminatory.

Punjab government has now made the legal measure more secular: no matter whose religious sentiments you hurt, you will end up in jail for the rest of your life.

So, there is Guru Granth Sahib of the Sikhs, Bhagwad Gita of the Hindus, the holy Quran of the Muslims, and the Bible of the Christians.

Gradually, as time passes, you can be sure that other religious texts of other religions will be added to the list, or at least there will be a strong demand and pressure that it be done.

If a Bhaniara Baba style holy man comes up with a granth of his own, and manages to attract a significant number of devotees who can sway the election in a few constituencies, there may be a state government that will be tempted to play to the gallery and add that freshly scribbled granth, too.

They want to save the religion, by making it tough not just to question any religious practice but even by making it tougher for saner people to question the law that tries to save the religion by jailing people.

General Zia Ul Haq did so in Pakistan. Sukhbir Singh Badal did so during his reign. Amarinder Singh has done it now. They have all been at it for long.

The Akali Dal has been playing the religion card blatantly, and has been blamed for it, mostly rightly. The Congress claims to be secular but Amarinder Singh has been flirting with the radical Sikh constituency also. He took the lead in celebrating Sikh centenaries during his earlier tenure, thus forcing the Badals to reclaim the panthic turf by organising massive jamboories to mark Sikh centenaries.
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For too long, the Badals have been gaming the state politics in such a way that the fight becomes panthic. Now, every party is an Akali Dal.
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On blasphemy laws, both have acted as men of straw, buckling before the hotheads.

But seeped in a religio-political idiom, its political grammar decided by its glorious pre-Independence history and post-Independence struggle for provincial autonomy, the Shiromani Akali Dal is today facing a new kind of challenge — every opponent of it has become an Akali Dal. 

For too long, the Badals have been gaming the state politics in such a way that the fight becomes panthic. The Congress as well as the Aam Aadmi Party have also yielded to the temptation of trying the panthic card. They both tried to fan and capitalise on the anti-Akali sentiment by adopting the agenda of finding the guilty of sacrilege incidents. This followed two back-to-back fast-unto-deaths by Sikh activists to demand the release of Sikh detenues. 

All these politicians find it easier to do politics of references to ‘sadh sangat ji’, 'guru' and 'guru ghar'. The Akali Dal's panthic political idiom has become a gold-standard mix for everyone. 

Gone is the tilt towards Punjab-Punjabi-Punjabiat. This is the panth-in-danger line back in currency. The romance for the new astroturf of secular politics hasn’t lasted long. The SAD did try to become a brand acceptable to trade and business, but it just cannot give up the immense benefits that can be reaped from the panthic turf.
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Gone is the tilt towards Punjab-Punjabi-Punjabiat. This is the panth-in-danger line back in currency. The romance for the new astroturf of secular politics hasn’t lasted long.
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Amarinder Singh presided over umpteen Sikh shatabdis (centenaries), visited Nankana Sahib, led a huge march to install a palanquin at the historical shrine and even tried to best the Badals for control of the SGPC, at one stage with some help from veteran Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra, then estranged from the SAD. Many Congress leaders felt uneasy with the party turning panthic under Amarinder Singh during his 2002-2007 reign, much to the chagrin of senior leadership.

Incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, the resultant wave of anger, the flip-flop by the Sikh clergy on forgiving Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmit Ram Rahim and sundry other issues seemingly left the Akali Dal marooned on a political island, but the entire opposition thought it kosher to turn the couch the politics in the idiom of religiosity. 

Amarinder Singh’s government’s attempt to bring in a blasphemy law is the last in this evolution of every party in Punjab becoming some kind of an Akali Dal. It could be the defeat of the Akalis, in the sense that their panthic turf is being encroached upon by others, but it is their victory in terms of principle. 
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SAD can now accuse Amarinder Singh of committing actual sacrilege by legally and literally equating Sri Guru Granth Sahib with religious texts of other communities, something anathema to most Sikhs.
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A Rahul Gandhi becoming a twice born Hindu by displaying his Janeu is the final victory of the BJP, because it denotes that the Congress has become a BJP Lite. With this legislative measure, all that Amarinder Singh has left to do is to tie a royal blue turban, since his is the Akali Dal Lite. The Aam Aadmi Party with Sukhpal Singh Khaira as its face is definitely an Akali Dal Ultra Lite trying to become an Akali Dal Lite under the leadership of a man whose father once used to shout Khalistan. 

The Akali Dal now has a chance to accuse Amarinder Singh of committing sacrilege since his government has actually, legally and literally equated Sri Guru Granth Sahib with religious texts of other communities, something anathema to most Sikhs. But with its ties with BJP already under strain, Sukhbir Singh Badal will prefer to wait. However, many radical groups will not.

The politics of Punjab is truly stagnating, and the stink is becoming unbearable. That sacrilege should hurt the sentiments of people of all religions, and also of none.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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THE DOCTOR IS IN, AND IS CORRUPT
HORROR STORIES - Pharma exec asked to provide prostitutes to doc, top Delhi hospital switched liver transplant beneficiary's name
10.08.18 - Anita Pathania
HORROR STORIES - Pharma exec asked to provide prostitutes to doc, top Delhi hospital switched liver transplant beneficiary's name



Explosive new book by India's top docs, health experts tells the ugly truth about our hospitals, doctors

Oxford University Press book says kickbacks, bribes oil India's healthcare system
 
SOME OF INDIA'S most senior doctors, bureaucrats, journalists, sociologists and others have bared the ugly reality of predator-doctors looting patients across the economic spectrum, from the very rich to the extremely poor, and have narrated the story of utterly broken trust between doctors and patients.

Full of scandalous stories that name even top notch hospitals and well-known doctors, a new explosive book published by the Oxford University Press is creating waves in the medical fraternity as well as general public with its candid portrayal of how patients feel cheated by doctors and hospitals every single day in every district of every state of India.

Sample this: Some years back, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare forced Sir Gangaram Hospital, a premier hospital in New Delhi, to offer the liver of a deceased person to a high-profile Hyderabad patient in need of a liver transplant, bypassing the need of another but less influential patient on the waiting list who needed it equally urgently.
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The doctor-patient relationship in India is totally corroded. Corruption is rife at all levels, from the richest to the poorest.
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This is no minor allegation, and narrating this incident from 2010-11 is none other than Vinay Kumaran, a liver transplant expert who worked at the hospital at that time.

"Healers or Predators: Healthcare Corruption in India," is full of such incidents of glaring malpractices and corruption, and covers not just India but other South Asian countries as well. It has a fascinating forward by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.

The 656-page anthology, edited by two of India's top doctors, Sanjay Nagral and Samiran Nundy, and a former Union Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju, also includes articles by Sumit Ray; Kunal Saha; Soumendra Saho; Binayak Sen; Amit Sengupta; Arghya Sengupta; Abhay Shukla; S. Srinivasan; Sandhya Srinivasan; Avinash Supe; Shershah Syed; George Thomas; Farokh Erach Udwadia; M.S. Valiathan; Nisha Vinayak; and Shiv Vishvanathan.

India's medical community was jolted in 2014 with a major hard-hitting piece by David Berger in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that described firsthand experience of how kickbacks and bribes "oil every part of the country’s healthcare machinery." 

He had asked other influential countries to take punitive measures against Indian institutions fostering this kind of environment where such corruption was made possible.
 

On a debate on NDTV 24x7, Dr. Samiran Nundy narrated how a top Indian doctor objected when told that 90% of India's doctors were corrupt. He insisted that true figure is 99%.

 
Speaking about the corroded the doctor-patient relationship in India, Berger had said, "Corruption is rife at all levels, from the richest to the poorest."

India's healthcare system is based in an inbuilt inequity: it is one of the most privatised in the world. Indian's spend more on health from their own pocket than Americans in the United States, percentage-wise. 

With the government virtually abandoning the healthcare sector and leaving people at the mercy of the predator doctors, a majority of Indians have little or no access to healthcare.


Berger had said in terms as bold as these: "The country’s doctors and medical institutions live in an "unvirtuous circle” of referral and kickback that poisons their integrity and destroys any chance of a trusting relationship with their patients." (BMJ 2014;348:g3169)

The book reiterates many of the points headlined by the BMJ, including the widespread corruption in the pharmaceutical industry and doctors being bribed to prescribe specific drugs. Dr Berger had narrated the story of a former pharmaceutical sales executive who left the industry because he was expected to fly a doctor to Thailand and provide him with prostitutes at his home. 
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The chapter on ethical issues in organ transplantation makes your blood boil. It describes how doctors treat end-stage liver patients as "geese” that can lay the "golden eggs.” Such patients offer the possibility of extracting maximum money.
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One of the book's authors, Keshav Desirajus, is a former health secretary of India who was removed on the day India was declared polio-free, just because he opposed a move to reappoint Ketan Desai, a disgraced bribe taker, to the reconstituted Medical Council of India.

Most readers will find their own experiences reflected in the incidents and narratives punctuating the book — from exorbitant billing by corporate hospitals to the non-merit-based selection in medical colleges to the questionable motives playing strong in the area of organ transplantation. 

While Dr Samiran Nundy is an Emeritus Consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, Keshav Desiraju is chairman of the Population Foundation of India. The volume has been edited by Dr Sanjay Nagral, Consultant Surgeon, Jaslok Hospital and the publisher of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics.

Some of the narratives in the book will make your blood boil. Among them is a chapter on ethical issues in organ transplantation wherein Vinay Kumaran describes how doctors treat end-stage liver patients as "geese” that can lay the "golden eggs.”

Such patients are sure to need frequent hospitalization, offering the possibility of maximum extraction of money.

Dr Nundy described the book as a dispassionate account of everything that is wrong with healthcare in India. Sumit Ray explains how the private hospitals aim is not better healthcare delivery but higher revenue generation. It is with this in mind that these hospitals have developed a financial model of employing ‘star’ physicians and surgeons at very high salaries.
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India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, ranks among the poorest achievers of good health. 
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These billboard names attract clientele with deep pockets. The rich are looted much more than the poor, in terms of absolute money.

Since the clientele-magnets are these star names, the junior doctors, nurses, technicians and other staff are poorly paid. The ‘star’ doctors' increments, incentives, or even jobs are connected to targets. 

The book is expected to trigger a debate about malpractices and corruption in healthcare in India.

At an event in Delhi where the book was launched, former Union minister Salman Khurshid said laws to deal with corruption in the medical field are "illusory". Dr Berger, who was also present, said many doctors are morally strong but they become corrupt "because of the corrupt environment in which they function,"  
 

Please do not ask us to describe this picture.


Amartya Sen said India was heading into "a comprehensive healthcare crisis" and pleaded for allocating a larger percentage of gross domestic product on public healthcare. 

"Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India ranks among the poorest achievers of good health," Sen said in his foreword.

Castigating the media for its poor focus on healthcare domain, Sen says: "If India's bad record in healthcare is not much discussed in the Indian press, this neglect does not indicate the presence of a tolerable level of healthcare in India, but reflects instead the narrow reach of the Indian news media, with its traditional neglect of elementary education and healthcare."

Sen speaks of "the amazing neglect of primary healthcare," the "premature reliance on private healthcare" and the lack of "informed public discussion on healthcare" in India.
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Former Union Health Secretary Keshav Desirajus was removed on the day India was declared polio-free, just because he opposed reappointment of Ketan Desai, the disgraced bribe taker, to the reconstituted Medical Council of India. Where is the public outrage? 
----------
The utter human apathy of us Indians is clearly visible as one watches patients from around the country, including some who have travelled for days, queueing outside India’s biggest public teaching hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. 

As hundreds jostle to see erratically available specialists, and one can see scores of people crowding the roadside medical shops to purchase not just bandages and surgical equipment but even life-saving drugs, the scene does not change at night when you can find dozens of patients and their relatives sleeping under the bright lights of the closest bus shelters.

A few hundred metres away are New Delhi’s swank corporate hospitals where you can browse through the latest issue of Cosmo or Vogue, assured that your uncle is in the hands of best doctors who may be looters but have the skills. 

If you can live with both these images, this book 'Healers or Predators?" may not do much for you. But if you are worried about whether your children will inherit a country with people who have decency, this may be the volume you have been waiting for.

 

The author teaches mass communication and has interests encompassing journalism, and the intersection of politics and society. She is a frequent contributor to Punjab Today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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Mr SY Quraishi, can you please help to save this pet dog locked inside this sealed building?

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT

 

 







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Comment by: Anupreet Kaur

Anupreet Kaur A Hindu has no right to interfere in issues of Sikhs. This Misra guy is a Brahmin who is trying to speak on behalf of Sikhs. His nonsense on Sikhs calling Sikhi a sect to protect Hindus, itself shows his real intent. His objection to rehit maryada shows his agenda.
This scumbag is trying to challenge SGPC, Sikh religion, Sikh maryada only so that RSS can try to interfere in Sikh gurdwaras and institutions.
This Misra can go drink cow piss. No court can interfere in religious freedom, maryada and norms of Sikhs.

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