Monday, May 29, 2017

What Mahatma Gandhi Said to Those Who Wanted Beef Banned in India

"Rajendra Babu tells me that he has received some 50,000 postcards, between 25,000 and 30,000 letters and many thousands of telegrams demanding a ban on cow-slaughter. I spoke to you about this before. Why this flood of telegrams and letters? They have had no effect.

I have another telegram which says that a friend has started a fast for this cause. In India no law can be made to ban cow-slaughter. I do not doubt that Hindus are forbidden the slaughter of cows. I have been long pledged to serve the cow but how can my religion also be the religion of the rest of the Indians? It will mean coercion against those Indians who are not Hindus.

We have been shouting from the house-tops that there will be no coercion in the matter of religion. We have been reciting verses from the Koran at the prayer. But if anyone were to force me to recite these verses I would not like it. How can I force anyone not to slaughter cows unless he is himself so disposed? It is not as if there were only Hindus in the Indian Union. There are Muslims, Parsis, Christians and other religious groups here.

The assumption of the Hindus that India now has become the land of the Hindus is erroneous. India belongs to all who live here. If we stop cow slaughter by law here and the very reverse happens in Pakistan, what will be the result? Supposing they say Hindus would not be allowed to visit temples because it was against Shariat to worship idols? I see God even in a stone but how do I harm others by this belief? If therefore I am stopped from visiting temples I would still visit them. I shall therefore suggest that these telegrams and letters should cease. It is not proper to waste money on them."

Read the rest of this article here

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

How a child is born

Photographer Lennart Nilsson spent 10 years of his life recording the growth of the human embryo, from conception to birth.

Have a look at these photos here

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Untouchability in the 21st Century

It's not easy to shake off caste-ist ideas of untouchability when one has spent one's entire life under that worldview....

Witness the way these 2 BJP leaders responded to an unusual situation: (a Facebook post by Mohan Guruswamy)

There is something true to form about these RSS/BJP netas. First Yeddyurappa makes a much publicised visit to a dalit home for a meal, but the food is bought from a hotel and he primly eats it with a spoon off a socially neutral banana leaf.

Now our friend, the encounter Shah of Gujarat, visits a dalit family in Peretapalli in Nalgonda district for a dalit home meal with a troop of media persons to record this one time event it for posterity. But once again the food was prepared in the mango orchard of a upper caste landlord Manohar Reddy in the neighbouring Khammagudem village. The local dalit leader Chinta Sambamurthy stood by the table and watched while Amit Shah ate. This is a reversal of Modi's Na Khaunga, Na Khilaunga.

For the following day's dalit home lunch in Bhongir, the food was purchased from the Pedda Devulapalli Annapurna Mess. As the name suggests it is a upper caste eatery.
Amit Shah at a Dalit home in Nalgonda (via)

It's painful that this is still happening in 21st century India.....

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Catastrophic maternal healthcare expenses push 46.6% mothers in India into poverty

Some time ago, I wrote about how I was first introduced to the idea that even small amounts of out-of-pocket spending, required to pay medical bills, can push families below the poverty line.

I was, therefore, not surprised (though terribly disheartened) to find that a large study has confirmed, and quantified, this problem.

"Catastrophic maternal healthcare expenses push 46.6% mothers in India into poverty–with the illiterate being especially susceptible–according to this December 2016 study by researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. The expenses include childbirth, antenatal care and postnatal care expenses."

Pregnancy and poverty....

Read the rest of this article here

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Selection biases in NEET

This is my deepest worry about the proposed National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission to medical colleges..

"NEET plans to not only destroy the dream of poor, rural, non-Hindi mother tongue medium students (that is, a plurality of all students) of becoming a doctor , but also wants to create a cadre of doctors who want urban and foreign careers, with lesser ties to soil and the realities of rural areas, which is where the majority live.

Most states already find it hard to get qualified doctors for rural postings. An urban rich bias will destroy the system irreparably. The only beneficiaries of this regressive move will be private nursing homes, big healthcare chains and of course, the US. Medical colleges of the Indian Union will serve as supply factories for these entities, to an even greater extent than at present."

Is NEET going to create many more problems than solutions?

Read the rest of this article India's healthcare system will suffer because of NEET's bias towards the CBSE syllabus

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

"To kill, to terrorise, to dominate, to create a pure and ideal kingdom."

7 Muslim cattle-traders were lynched in Jharkhand by a mob who, on the basis of Whatsapp rumour forwarded to them, assumed they were child kidnappers.

This is heartbreaking, but only the latest in a long and regular stream of tragedies unfolding all over the country.

This author in Jharkhand fears that this incident is not connected to the other incidents of lynchings by gau-rakshaks to enforce a ban on cow-slaughter.

Moments before he was lynched on the mere suspicion of being a kidnapper

"The practice of mobs lynching people for possessing or consuming beef will be unlikely to become commonplace in Jharkhand, in my opinion, because the state, due to its remarkable Adivasi population, has traditionally been known to be a consumer of beef, pork, and whatever else might be considered taboo or inedible by the majority – for example, monitor lizards. Hence, what new story could be cooked up to create a situation of fear and distrust? What is most dear to people? Their children. Accuse some people of being kidnappers of children and have them lynched. In this age, when social media has become a carrier of hatred, is it that difficult to get anyone lynched? Be it beef or the abduction of little children, everything is just a pretext, an excuse. The purpose is to kill, to terrorise, to dominate, to create a pure and ideal kingdom."

Read the rest here...

At 65, This Doctor Treks and Drives to the Remotest Pockets of Odisha to Save Lives

"“If hundred patients come to see me at the hospital, I know there are many more people out there who are not able to make it to the hospital,” says Dr. Sr. Aquinas Edassery, who is out on her mission to reach the most needy and the most unhealthy.

To find them, she’s going to places where there are no roads, where the first four-wheeler that the people saw was the jeep that she came in, where teenage mothers are dying during childbirth and where the death of children under the age of five is heartbreakingly high."

Did you know there are places in India where people have never seen a jeep yet? Welcome to Bharat......

Read about this quiet hero here

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