My country is getting sicker day by day!

I have been chauffeuring my mother and two of her colleagues from and to her work today and caught in between of women’s chit chat on several occasions. Among all the womanly gibberish there were some concerning and interesting elements that caught my attention. Most concerning was that many hospitals both private and public have sprung in our city and none of them seem to be empty due to lack of sick people. On the other hand most of them are over crowded and sometimes patients are on the waiting list to be seen. For a country like India it is a good thing that we have an increasing number of hospitals to take care of our people, but it is also a matter of great concern that so many people are still getting ill inspite of all the advancement in health care and clean India movement run by the government.

Some of the reasons that I could think of concerning the health of the Indian people are lack of awareness about health and hygiene, food adulteration, increasing mental stress to cope up with the lifestyle of a growing economy and lack of physical exercise. Of these I think the most concerning are food adulteration and lack of awareness about the hygiene.

I have traveled many places in India and I have never seen a clean public toilet that is maintained by the government. In many places including my city even the private malls do not have clean toilets. Sometimes it feels like that our benchmark for a clean toilet is so low that no matter how much of cleaning is done it is still dirtier as compared to toilets anywhere else in the developed world. Government of India has launched Swach Bharat abhiyan to promote use of toilets and hygiene in the country. However, a turn around change would only be possible when common people understand the importance of hygiene in the context of herd immunity. It doesn’t matter how strong your immunity is, if your neighborhood is weak in collective immunity, then you are more prone to falling ill as compared to the person whose own immunity is low, but lives in a stronger herd. We also have to improve our thinking regarding the importance of constructing good toilet setups at our home. In most of Indian homes toilets are the last place that people allocate the space for while designing their houses. In many homes it is not surprising to find toilets below the stair case or outside in the veranda under a shed or the smallest place possible in the house. To be honest it doesn’t matter how big or small is your toilet as far as it is clean, but it does show the temperament of the people towards hygiene.

We will be celebrating our 70th Independence day tomorrow and even after becoming 70 years old we are still teaching people the basics of health and hygiene. We still do not have any understanding of throwing rubbish in the bins or how to segregate rubbish into wet and dry waste. If you ever go to an old crowded parts of Indian cities you will find people throwing rubbish from their balconies on the street, thinking that their job is done and now it’s government’s problem.

To add up to growing waste management and hygiene issues the current government is all about putting cows on the alter. So many cows on the street littering wherever possible is another nuisance. Hindu people believe in the holiness of cows and therefore anything that comes out of a cow is either holy in itself or has therapeutic value, for example drinking cow piss can get rid of stomach related ailments or rubbing it on a wound or skin allergy can heal it. Many of the Ayurvedic medicines have cow piss as an active ingredient.

Indeed it is proud to think that we are advancing in medical sciences, but having more hospitals does not only shows our advancement but also shows the state of our health. Hence, the more number of hospitals in your city is directly proportional to the more number of sick people your city is generating. The underline cause of the illness is not the lack of medical facility but the lack of hygiene. And in the end we always need to think about our immunity as a fraction of the herd we are part of.

 

Baba Ramdev, NCBI, Mineral Oil

Bab Ramdev is a figure head of Yoga and Patanjali Ltd. in India. He became famous for his yoga teachings around the country and due to  his liaising with influential people. Through his yoga and public appearances he earned popularity among the people and gained the capability of manipulating them by using their nationalist emotions. He has a staunch pro Hindu and pro BJP stance.

Though he gained his popularity because of his Yoga classes, but now he is known more for his company called Patanjali. He himself does advertisements for many of Patanjali’s products and because of his image as a yoga guru people blindly fall for his products. He boasts about his food and cosmetics products being all natural and condemns all the similar products being sold by other companies for being just harmful chemicals.

In one of his advertisements regarding Mustered oil he claims that a USA based agency called NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) has proven that adding mineral oil to Mustered oil leads to cancer and hence Patanjali is the only company that is preparing Mustered oil that is free from mineral oil and is prepared by natural process. There are few things that Mr. Ramdev ignorantly doesn’t know about, that NCBI is not the kind of research center that does such kind of research. It is a federal government center that maintains several databases to store publicly available biotechnology related data. The research paper that is shown in the Patanjali’s advertisement is actually a research paper that is stored in NCBI’s PubMed/PubMed Central literature database. The actual research is done by someone else and not by the NCBI itself. Ramdev did not even bother to show the title of the research paper that claims such an evidence and nobody even knows if there is a statistically strong evidence to support this hypothesis.  Claiming that NCBI has proven something is actually stupid. It is similar to saying that Google tell us that cancer is a disease. Google doesn’t tell anything it just gives you a list of websites that carry your searched terms. Google itself doesn’t have those pages. However, people in India are so blinded by his aura that they just given into whatever he says on the national television.

Apart from Ramdev’s mineral oil nonsense, he is also very loud about his food products being FSSAI approved as though every other food product in the Indian market is not FSSAI approved. His biggest bullshit is that every other product is made up of chemicals that are not good for humans. One should explain to him that even natural products are chemicals themselves and not all of the them are good for humans. Snake venom is a natural product, is it good for humans? Pathogenic bacteria and virus are natural, are they good for humans? No, not everything thing that comes out of nature is good for humans.

One of the things that really irritates me is that he doesn’t like to call India as “India” instead he prefers to call it by its Hindi version “Bharat”. According to him India is a word given to us by the Britishers and he despises it. Ironically all his products are named in English and on their packages everything is written in English including the phrase “Made in Bharat”. He simply uses nationalist and Hinduism stance to emotionally manipulate people to fall into his prey.

I don’t know how long would it take for India to eradicate such phony people out of the country. It may probably never happen because the divide in India due to caste and religion is so deep that people would always find one or the other way to hack into the hearts and brains of Indian masses.