Kerala’s Health Minister’s english attempt

Lol….. I loved this… You have to watch it completely. It gets better after some time… 😀 It takes real guts to stand up in a podium to talk like that!

Background: PK Sreemathi, Kerala’s health minister speaks on Private practice Ban.

  1. #1 by akas on March 7, 2011 - 7:37 am

    Saturday, March 5, 2011
    Quacks Versus Doctors: Who Is What
    Govt. of Kerala issued an order, GO(MS) No.114/11/H&FWD dt 21/02/2011, aimed at stopping the victimization of traditional healers and long practising homeopaths going on in the state for long. This order is presently confined to the northern districts, erstwhile Malabar, for unknown reasons, but has aroused some protests from the so called qualified Homeopaths and Ayurvedics. The Act enables those practising for more than 20 years to get exemption from the prevailing statute. As such there is no harm in this new Act of government, anyway these people are doing so now paying bribes or otherwise, and the Act only legitimises their service. The need to demystify medical profession is a need and has to be supported by all those who honour the good intentions of the government. More, this has to be extended to the entire state with expert advise. The WHO itself is now promoting traditional healing as the reach and efficacy of modern streams are limited.

    First and foremost the monopoly tendencies of the so called qualfied practitioners, that is those with a degree, cannot be allowed. Their insecurity cannot hamper the society. That the Allopaths blocked the BAMS degree when introduced is history, as a threat. Calling Ayurvedics quacks just as the BAMS guys are now doing with traditionl healers. The fear of losing their jobs drove them, they claimed to be the only holy cows for public health. It is simple reason that with the mushrooming of medical colleges getting a degree is no big deal, anyone with money can get a degree. Years long training has its merits, but that is no reason to claim monopoly, also there are negatives in such courses as studies prove. Reductionist thinking in healing is anomolous as Bernard Shaw wrote in his famous play Doctor’s Dilemma. Each one claims they are right, they only are right. Thus the high talk of treason, commitment and concern for public health they are talking about are unwarranted.

    The Ayurveda medical college kids on war path should know that their ”degrees’ were not there till few years back, particularly so for the Ayurveda/ Sidha streams. Degree is a colonial invention though it has its role. For classical Ayurveda or Sidha, these are required to be learned under the Gurukula system under a Guru and not under the reductionist western paradigm, the so called qualified practitioners are not the authentic ones in that sense. How many of them can identify the herbs they should introspect. And for Kerala it was the same traditional vydyas who took care of the health, that includes the forefathers of all. And the prejudice to the root Sidha medicine, what predates Ayurveda, just as the Nattu Vaidya tradition, is another unhealthy trend in Kerala. Perhaps a spillover from the caste Brahmin phase of history. What also need correction.

    It is common sense knowledge to anyone exposed to traditional knowledge and spirituality in India that the most precious of the techniques are not published, neither transferred to those unknown. Thus the genuine streams as far as India is concerned are those with family or Gurukula ways. Not the certificate holders. And the certificate courses, like BAMS or BSMS patterned after the MBBS, were designed by the same people who were traditional healers. It has a bias towards Sanskrit texts is true but the practice is primarily tradition bound. It did not come from abroad as the others. But tragically the legendary houses in Ayurveda and Sidha patronised by millions are now treated as criminals, as they have no paper certificates, and this injustice was till now unaddressed. Where the health minister needs praise.

    It is Guruninda, dishonoring the teachers, that they are doing. Without traditional healers thre would have been no Ayurveda existing, they kept it going against all odds, from British insults to the days of Scientism and Communism in Kerala which called it superstition. Sastra Sahitya Parishad used to tell that antibiotics are only right. For Kerala which has a vibrant Ayurveda culture the contribution of the traditional healers cannot be under estimated. Even when the certificate holders were using Allopathy in the past, with no confidence, the traditional healers trusted their knowledge. It is only due to them that the stream gained respect and legitimacy. It is now geting acceptance the world over. Now for the upstart BAMS folks to condemn them all is plain unethical and the government cannot be cowed down by the lobby which aims at jobs and money and not public good as evident. The ancient healers with grace are not moneyed and organized and that weakness was being exploited for too long.

    To look at some other related issues, what is modern health care in India today, it runs on western Allopathy even decades after freedom, where a substantial part is plain loot. Chinese adopted their own healing streams as national health systems, not India. One reason how China excels in health care, getting Olympics medals are indicators. The mafias that operate the pharmaceutical, hospital businesses in modern medicine are well known. In countries like the USA there are studies that tell that the people who fall sick and perish due to medication and treatment are more than those being saved. With the medical profession now a business in India with exorbitant expenses the traditional healers are also the only solace for the poor, why deny the people even that grace.

    Two, for Kerala particularly, south India or India in general, healing was never a specialist job, it is a colonial legacy taking roots here. Every family had the basic material to treat, herbs, other materials, and also the knowledge, where the Vaidyas were only an extension. They were transparent and not secretive as the allopaths today. Allopathy is made a mystery and no patient gets to know what he is eating, what is being put in to his or her system. Which is a human rights issue. But the organized lobby, with its arrogance gets away. Apart from the side effects the vulpine Allopathy lobby’s profit motive is killing millions, making far too many sick and invalid. Traditional healers are less damaging, to call them all quacks is plain arrogance.

    Those who talk about price raise, about corruption, seldom talk about the medical profession which has some of the most anti-social and criminal elements. While acepting the contributions of modern medicine it cannot be over estimated. Sensitivity of the area they operate in, human health, prevents people from airing the woes. The traditional healers who treat many chronic ailments at cheap rates, even freely, are a threat to the qualified degree doctors is true. But they cannot be allowed to have their way. Not that they are all bad, but to over reach is bad. They have their place, sectors, also areas where the modern allopathy has no solutions, where the traditionalists often have. No one should forget that some of the traditional healers are gems in their profession and people patronise them for that reason. That list includes Allopaths as patients. An elected government has the mandate to look after public good.

    As far as the present order is concerned there was an undue haste in taking it along, understandably as no government wants to precipitate trouble. But there are lacunas that need to be filled. Colonial systems are not sacrosanct and should go if found inadequate, but the alternatives need to be built with care and planning. That there are illequipped people who create a bad name for the traditional healers is true, not that there are none in Allopathy or BAMS streams, and this aspect needs to be taken in to account. While resisting monopoly tendencies there has to be a panel of healers, not just the Allopaths who reign health departments now, and scholars who have the mandate to filter the practitioners. Then give them necessary licences for treating specific cases where they have skills. Say a Marma expert should only treat that case, not others. And for Kerala with its Kalari tradition, which included healing, to insult the traditions is unacceptable. Hope the governments in future sets up medical colleges for traditional medicine.

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