By: Tikender Panwar
One of the lessons I learnt during my initial days with Marxism on the subject of philosophy in the course of study classes from Prof Kashyap was that we must view things not in the sense they are but in their ‘coming into being’ and ‘going out of being’. That nothing is permanent and everything changes except the law of change. And this applies to life as well. People or, we, are born, live and die. So everyone who is born will die. As a communist, I was also taught that this journey from ‘coming into being ’or life to ‘going out of being ’or death has to be fought hard and this fight is termed as ‘struggle’, which is the primary source for making our lives better. And it is during this journey that the material and spiritual or ideal conditions are to be enhanced properly and disseminated in an egalitarian manner for a better living. Proper and scientific health care, with its evolving form, may also fall within this ambit. But, the Himachal Pradesh government has been pursuing to promote a particular kind of medicinal system being propagated by a particular self-declared expert, which may prove a great blunder in ensuring the health of people.
But I am appalled when I find people like self-styled or media-hyped gurus or swamis falling back to mysticism under the garb of science and playing with the lives of people. I recollect one of my senior colleague Mohar Singh’s work ‘A study of Khasas in the Himalayan region’ where mysticism plays a pivotal role in diagnosis and treatment of health related problems. Now, unfortunately, with the shift of government-run hospitals towards commercialization and finally privatization, once again people are forced to fall back to such myopic mystic treatment.
Coming back to my basic premise that a proper health care in right direction is a right of every citizen and also that hoodwinking of people be checked is another paradigm that the government must ensure. I have some half-a-dozen glaring examples where the lives of the people could have been saved had they not fallen prey to unprecedented hype of the controversial Baba – Ramdev. It is true that the victims, I would call them as such, were not forced to leave the regular course of their treatment but voluntarily left the government hospitals for an ashram. Also that there is no legal contract whereby all that he pronounces with respect to his assurance of treatment of a disease can be brought to book . But, still I feel culpability cannot be shelved in the innumerable cases who became victims because of the unprecedented hype generated in various television channels. When a practicing doctor can be booked for negligence, why a person or an institution not be booked for culpable homicide. Perhaps, it will take some more time and, unfortunately, more lives. Briefly, I would like to present those with whom I was familiar and thought they would not leave me that soon:
A young daughter of Bansi Lal was one such victim. I was acquainted to him as we fought the struggle against the demolition of Dharas, i.e. hutments. She had malignancy in the anus and was admitted to IGMC. The doctors were planning a surgery with a fair chance of recovery. But instead, Baba intervened through TV channels, and they took the child away and again came back to the hospital after a period of over 6 months with malignancy entering her intestines. She died recently, – was just 18 years of age.
Prabhu Devi, aged 65 years, mother of Ramesh, an old friend of mine who shared his desk with me during my college days, had a stone in the gall bladder and was to be operated upon. But instead, ‘the light of knowledge fell’ again through the channels and she got discharged from the medical hospital and went into the laps of the same Baba. The gall stone problem developed further into engaging the liver and the woman died after a period of three years.
A young girl named Reeta (changed name), aged 34 years, came with gastric obstruction and was to be operated upon in the month of February 2009 in a government hospital. Once again ‘light from heaven fell’ to her and she ran away the previous night from the hospital and took refuge in Baba’s camp. Just a fortnight ago she once again came back to the hospital; the only difference being she was in a state of coma. Thanks to the medical fraternity, her life was saved.
Similarly, I know of 6 other cases, with 4 women and 2 men in the age group of 22 to 35 years. Interestingly all were detected with cancer in the anal region and were to be operated but the power of Baba is so strong that the hospital authorities could not save them from his path of extreme liberty from worldly affairs and are no more on this earth.
There are quite a number of others who have lost their close ones. But, will there be any cognizance of the fact what to talk about any punitive action is anybody’s guess?