Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fury Is Terror, Mr. Gautier!

Gautier's article The Hindu Rate Of Wrath is just another cleverly mixed up defense of the atrocities of the Hindutva Brigade that is being ruthlessly perpetuated on hapless Indians in the name of defending Hindusim. That Francois Gautier is a darling of the Hindutva Brigade for churning out article after article in support of the cause of the RSS/BJP is no wonder at all. The so called nationalists who swear in the name of Hindu nation have no qualms about hiding behind Gautier, gleefully accepting and mass circulating whatever he writes. Hindutva forces thrive on such foreign tonics, be it Gautier or the US patents for cow' urine. No nationalistic fervour there! It is a give-and-take symbiosis and Gautier admittedly longs for it.

That the Hindutva Brigade shamelessly turns to anything to prop up support is clear when one finds them invoking the name of the Mahatma, one of the earliest victims of the Hindutva terror. Murder someone and then use his legacy! Chilling, Mr. Gautier.

What Gautier has written is not only sickening but also dangerous. Gautier is only half correct when he says "I have never been politically correct"; he is factually not correct either.

Gautier seems utterly confused (or its his deliberate ploy) and wants to spread this confusion about the identities of India, Hindu religion and Hindutva and then tries to defend one using the other. That is a leaf straight out of the books of the Sangh Parivar: it not only equates these three but also demonsises anyone criticising its Hindutva agenda as being anti Hindu and anti national. But Gautier should get his facts right. When he writes about the greatness of this country, it is not about Hindus, but about India. The tolerance he is writing about is not of the Hindutva brigade but of the downtrodden, outcasted, banished, untouchable Indians who make up the vast majority of the Indian nation. These tolerant Indians have no access to the temples and the mainstream Hindu religion, a fact Gautier is either unaware of or is feigning ignorance of. And the vast majority of Indians that belong to every religion, caste or other diverse identities silently suffer the exploitation, malnutrition, poverty, hunger and disease, the problems that do not find any space in the schemes of Gautier and his Hindutva votaries. Hindutva, or the many terms that have been assigned to it over the past 7-8 decades under various exigencies, on th eother hand, has always been known for harbouring and spreading intolerance, from Savarkar's support to the two nation theory and the assassination of the Mahatma to the innumerable acts or arson, rapes, murders, mob violence and even bomb attacks on innocents. And this intolerance is not only directed at other religions but also towards the Adivasis, dalits and such other Indians relegated to the lower strata of the society by the Hindu religion. Not surprising then, the Hindutva became more belligerent and more violent following the decision of the Govt. of India to implement the Mandal commission report. So, the intolerant Hindutva has nothing in common with the tolerant India and the Hindu religion: let us be crystal clear - Hindutva of the RSS variety, Hindu religion and India are not synonyms. And in drumming up support for the intolerant Hindutva extremism by invoking Hindu religion and the Indian way of life, Gautier is doing a great disservice to the Indian nation, a country where is now lives as well as himself, a self proclaimed lover of India and Hinduism. If you indeed love India, Mr. Gautier, get your facts right.

Again Gautier deceives himself when he says 'it hurts' but 'it isn't terror'. And he doesn't care to explain how intentional hurt fails to terrorise. Gautier provides his own, self-serving but dangerous definitions for terrorism that is far from the general understanding of terrorism, This is not surprising at all.

Gautier conveniently juxtaposes bomb blasts of the jehadi terror with 'ordinary, angry Hindus burning churches without killing anybody' and then finds fault with those equating these two. He shifts the Hindutva bombings and mass murders to another paragraph and brackets mob violence, rape, arson, burning, desecrating places of worship, destroying mosques and churches, terrifying people in the name of moral policing as mere acts expression of anguish by angry Hindus and not as acts of terror! According to Gautier, it is okay to destroy anything, as long as the crime is committed by an angry Hindu and no one gets murdered. But the right thinking, peace and freedom loving people of this country have a problem: they see the pattern of violence perpetrated by the Hindutva Brigade as a spectrum - from the terror of moral policing to mob terror, rapes, arson, destroying places of worship and also bombing. If the intention is to hurt, to create fear, and to terrorise, then it is terrorism. It can't be anything else. Bomb for bomb, Hindutva terror is no less than the terror of any other brand; in fact, home bred Hindutva terror has been here far too longer than any other. Gautier and the minority Hindutva Brigade are free to disagree.

The mass murders and pogroms by the Hindutva Brigade find a different and safe place in Gautier' scheme of things. No, this is not terrorism, but it is the Hindus erupting in uncontrolled fury and this should be understood as spontaneous revolution on the ground, by ordinary Hindus, without any planning from the political leadership. Should be understood? By Ordinary Hindus? Without any planning from the political leadership? Gautier does not care to tell us as to why it should be understood the way he wants it to be understood and how he came to the conclusion that these are acts by ordinary Hindus and that there was no planning from the political leadership! Should the Trishul wielding, torching and raping and murdering and bombing Hindutva cadres be considered as ordinary Hindus? What about the well planned attacks under the direct supervision of Advani & Co on Babri Masjid, the Gujarat pogrom, Orissa violence and the recent well coordinated attacks on the churches and places of worship in Karnataka? Politically incorrect Gautier or factually misleading Gautier?

And the most dangerous piece of all: However reprehensible the destruction of Babri Masjid, no Muslim was killed in the process; compare this to the 'vengeance' bombings of 1993 in Bombay, which wiped out hundreds of innocents, mostly Hindus. Yet the Babri Masjid destruction is often described by journalists as the more horrible act of the two. Is Gautier trying to tell us that the bombs were designed specially to kill only the Hindus? Did the bombs that exploded kill only the Hindus or killed all human beings, irrespective of age, sex and religion? And why does Gautier bring in only the Babri Masjid here in comparison? Why not Gujarat, where thousands of Muslims were specifically targeted for rape, murder, butchering and looting, or Orissa where thousands of Christians were targeted for similar atrocities? Why does Gautier find the bombs that can kill anyone more dangerous than these targeted mass murders, often committed with the tacit support of the state and its police?

He has a piece of advice for the BJP too (and the BJP probably does not need this): Therefore, the BJP, instead of acting embarrassed, should not disown those who choose other means to let their anguished voices be heard. Does Gautier 'offer' this right to choose the means to let the anguish out to all other Indians? Is letting out the anguish permitted under the constitution or the law of this land? If not, how do such acts of choosing to let out the anguish in whichever way one deems fit become expressions of patriotism? And how can Gautier equate these elements of the Hindutva Brigade who have no respect for the Constitution and the law of the land with what he calls the most successful, law-abiding and integrated communities in the world today? Being politically incorrect, he does not seem to care.

But just who is Gautier to provide this license to the angry Hindus (read Hindutva Brigade) to erupt in uncontrolled fury? Is he the Constitution or the law enforcing agency or the Parliament? This is India, Mr. Gautier, and the law of the land is catching up with the Hindutva terrorists, Sadhwi, Swami, Purohit or any other. And Gautier's definition of terror is yet to find its place. For now, he can find solace with the fact that his angry Hindus enjoy the covert or overt support of the state in Gujarat, Karnataka and Orissa, but hopefully it is only a question of time before the laws of India will catch up even in these states.

So it is time we put Gautier's piece in its right place:

His argument that Hindus are tolerant - cannot be terrorists - but now have erupted - still cannot be called terrorists has a fatal flaw: The tolerant Hindus are entirely different from the ever intolerant Hindutva brigade. Forever forced to be tolerant, the vast majority of Indians suffer more of the tyranny of the upper castes of the Hindu religion than of the atrocities perpetuated by any other religion or anything else. Those who have erupted are the Hindutva Brigade brainwashed and masterminded by the RSS/BJP combine that is blatantly using the name of the Hindu religion and its sentiments to establish a fascist rule in India. And these acts of uncontrolled fury are acts of terror, acts of lawlessness, acts that are against this country. And the recent arrests of Army officers, in service and retired, on charges of bombing the nation are portents of the dangers of this fascist agenda. Gautier should get his facts right.

It probably serves Francois Gautier to sound different. But do we need a Fancois Gautier to show us the greatness of our land? We know better. We proudly sing Iqbal's Saare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan Hamara just as we take pride in Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal. There is no India without all its children, no matter what religion. This is not tolerance, this is our heritage, our way of life. Sorry Mr. Gautier, get your facts right.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Aravind Adiga's Gesture: A Rebuff To Hindutva Forces!

Aravind Adiga, the winner of the Man Booker Prize for 2008 for his first literary work The White Tiger, has donated almost one third of the Prize money to his alma mater, St. Aloysius High School in Mangalore. [1, 2, 3, 4]

In his own words:
"I have donated a part of my prize money for winning the Man Booker Prize for 2008 to my old school, St. Aloysius College of Mangalore, in gratitude for the fine education I received there. I wish to donate the money in the name of the late Father Victor D'Souza, a great teacher of physics and chemistry, who also always reminded his students of their responsibility to help and defend the poor and underprivileged. St. Aloysius is one of the gems of Mangalore and I hope it will continue to shine brightly in the years to come, as it has done for over 100 years. Lucet et Ardet." [See]

In my view, this is a fitting rebuff to the Sangh Parivar that has been harping about the role of Christian management schools in the conversion of students to Christianity. The activists of the Sangh Parivar had staged protest demonstrations in front of many christian schools, including St. Aloysius College just a few weeks ago and had threatened that they would launch a mass movement urging Hindus to boycott christian institutions. I also remember the occasion when a former MLA belonging to the Sangh Parivar had tried to tell me how St. Aloysius College was in the forefront of attempting conversions, only to be rebuffed by me that most freedom fighters from this place were the students of the same school and had no problem what so ever in pursuing their education, even after being arrested by the British Police. So this gesture of Aravind is a fitting rebuff, vividly illustrating how the school had helped in shaping his personality, inculcating the highest moral values.

It would be interesting to see how the Hindutva Brigade would react to this!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Religious Terrorism in Mangalore

Serial Attacks on Churches in Mangalore

The day after the serial bomb blasts in Delhi, Dakshina Kannada witnessed terror attacks of another kind: co-ordinated, serial attacks on churches and other places of worship of Christians, under the pretext of opposing forceful conversions. Bajrang Dal and VHP, extensions of the party in power in Karnataka, took responsibility for the attacks, even as the Chief Minister blamed the opposition for ‘engineering’ them! The Home Minister, sworn in to protect the life and properties of the citizens without bias, aired his opposition to conversions rather than initiating action against the rioters. And a prominent leader of the Congress Party, asserting her Christian credentials, claimed that youth squads had been formed for self-protection. And there were instances of stabbing, stone throwing and arson. As the parliamentary elections are nearing, Mangalore is once again caught in the cross fire between religious groups.


Situation grim in Mangalore
Situation grim in Mangalore

Karnataka CM visits violence-hit Mangalore
Karnataka CM visits violence-hit Mangalore

Karnataka churches vandalised
Karnataka churches vandalised

And See How Impartial The Home Minister Is!
His mind highlighted in RED on his OWN Blog!

And he claims that action was initiated only after he personally visited the sites of violence! Wah Home Minister! Safety of the people of Karnataka is ensured as any action would be initiated ONLY after the Home Minister reaches such sites, be it attack on churches or bomb blasts! Expect to have an airport at Udupi soon!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Our Silence Continues...

Last weekend was particularly busy for the Hindu fundamentalist forces in Mangaluru, with three unrelated and diverse events raising their hackles, prompting them into ‘action’. The decision of the educational institutions run by Christian charities to remain closed for a day in protest against the anti-Christian violence in Orissa, the preparations of Team Mangalore to fly a kite depicting Lord Ganesha and the death of a minor girl at Fr. Muller’s Hospital kept them busy, revealing the dangers of their hypocrisy and perils of our silence at the same time.

Following the closure of the schools and colleges, the various chauvinist outfits put out their venomous statements and even held demonstrations at the gates of some well known institutions. There were threats of closing down these schools, of campaigns among the Hindus to boycott such schools etc. The Minister for education even served notices on these institutions, seeking explanation for their ‘unilateral, unpermitted’ decision to close down for a day. Just a couple of days earlier, the students’ wing of the RSS, the ABVP, had dragged the students out on the streets in protest against the Amarnath shrine land row and blocked the main roads of the city for more than half an hour with the police standing as mute spectators all along. It is another matter that many of the ‘leaders’, legislators and ministers (and their children) of the fundamenatlist party in power have all had their education in schools and colleges run by the Christian charities! And in the city of Mangaluru, known for high standards of education, one has to struggle to find any school worth its name run by any Hindu chauvinist outfit. So much for the dangerous hypocrisy of these outfits spewing communal venom.

Team Mangalore is an award winning, internationally known group of Kite enthusiasts, striving to popularize the hobby among Mangaloreans. Many of the Team’s beautifully designed kites, depicting the vibrant colours and culture of our country, have won international acclaim. The team had prepared a kite depicting Ganesha, the most affabvle of all Gods, for the Paris Kite Festival to be held at Tieppe, France from Sep 5-14, 2008 and had planned to have a trial at the Panambur Beach during the last week of August. But that was not to be. Hindu Janajagruti Vedike, a self-styled outfit that seeks to ‘protect the interests of Hindu Gods’ raised objections and threatened against any attempts to fly the kite, either in India or abroad, ostensibly because the kite ‘hurts the sentiments of all Hindus’. It is not clear as to who appointed these people as the spokespersons of the entire Hindu community or how the ‘hurt’ felt by one or two can be attributed to the entire population and why everyone else should be deprived of an opportunity to witness a new and beautiful work of human craftsmanship. It appears that this particular group comprises of about three members and the so called spokesperson had no answers to offer when confronted as to how Ganesha on a kite is an affront to Hindus (and almost everyone involved in the project being a Hindu!). It may be recalled that the same outfit had earlier objected to the screening of the movie Jodha Akbar and the success might have emboldened the group to issue more such threats. Our shameful silence certainly helps such groups.

And these forces, strengthened not only by our silence but also by the inaction of the law enforcing agencies, have made it a routine habit to attack without provocation and to take the law into their own hands. Attacks on places of worship are continuing, latest being the one at Pachanady on the outskirts of Mangaluru. Many young boys and girls, sipping coffee or a glass of juice have been rounded off and beaten. None of these have been punished. And it did not surprise anyone when these forces attacked the doctors on duty at the Fr. Muller’s hospital following the death of a young girl who had consumed kerosene in an attempt to commit suicide. But our silence continues…

Monday, June 30, 2008

Chikungunya, Dengue, Leptospirosis and Malaria: A Simple Algorithm to Differentiate

Chikungunya epidemic has now spread to most parts of Dakshina Kannada District and a few deaths have also been reported. Added to this, there are reports of Dengue, Leptospirosis and malaria from the affected areas. This has resulted in lot of anxiety and fear among the public and confusion among the medical fraternity. There is a felt need for a simple algorithm to help in the diagnosis and treatment of these infections and therefore we suggest the following, based on the review of the relevant literature:

There are many similarities in the clinical manifestations of chikungunya, dengue and leptospirosis and it may not be easy differentiating them. Fever, joint pains and rash are common to chikungunya, dengue and leptospirosis. The fever in chikungunya and dengue starts abruptly, and remits after 1-2 days and can recur after 1-2 days for another day or two. Usually, therefore, the fever lasts 5-6 days and subsides on its own. Dengue fever is characterized by severe headache, pain in the muscles of upper and lower limbs, joint pains and pain on moving the eye balls. In chikungunya, pain and swelling of the joints is a characteristic feature. In chikungunya, a reddish rash appears on the second or third day over the face and the chest. The rash in dengue appears on the third or fourth day, predominantly over the legs and trunk and in some, these rashes may be haemorrhagic (purpuric). Abrupt, high grade fever with severe aches in the muscles of the limbs and the back is seen in leptospirosis too. Over the next 4-7 days, the fever continues and suffusion of eyes, headache, cough etc., may appear. After remitting for 1-2 days, the fever recurs, along with complications like jaundice, kidney failure and bleeding disorders, resulting in haemorrhagic rashes over the legs. In malaria, joint pains, muscle pains and rash are not seen and the fever occurs daily or intermittently on alternate days; some patients may have jaundice.

The diagnosis is helped by simple tests in the blood and urine. The total leukocyte count is lower in chikungunya and dengue while it is elevated in leptospirosis. As the kidneys are invariably affected in leptospirosis, urine examination in these cases would show abnormalities. Malaria can be confirmed by a peripheral blood smear.

Chikungunya and dengue are self limiting infections and do not need any specific treatment. If the fever and/or joint pains are very severe, simple analgesic like paracetamol can be used. Potent pain killers can cause more harm than good. Steroids have absolutely no role to play in the treatment of acute chikungunya and dengue. If the joint pain and swelling in chikungunya persist even after 10-15 days, chloroquine can be tried. Leptospirosis is treated with penicillin or doxycyline.

Fatal complications are extremely rare in chikungunya. Dengue, leptospirosis and falciparum malaria can lead to complications that may be fatal, if not properly treated. Any patient with the following signs should be immediately shifted to a tertiary care hospital: Hypotension (drop in blood pressure), bleeding, breathlessness, altered sensorium, decreased urine output, jaundice or convulsions.

Simple Algorithm to Differentiate Chikungunya, Dengue, Leptospirosis and Malaria

For details: http://rationalmedicine.org/chikungunya.htm

ಕನ್ನಡ ಲೇಖನ ಇಲ್ಲಿದೆ: http://rationalmedicine.org/chikungunya-kannada.htm

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Govt. stops ads promoting cell phone use by kids

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has cracked the whip on the ads promoting the use of mobile phones by kids.

See my earlier blog on this issue

See Reports
Hindustan Times
The Hindu

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chikungunya: Untreatable or Treatment Unnecessary?

Chikungunya has at last reached Dakshina Kannada (DK) with hundreds of cases reported from Sullia, Puthur and Belthangady taluks. The health authorities, as usual, seem confused and are making every possible effort to spread the confusion in the community.

The state govt. has published an advt. in all the leading dailies of the state. On the one hand, the advt. claims, rightly, that chikungunya is a self-limiting illness that abates within 8-10 days and that it does not cause any complications or deaths. On the other, it also claims that enough life saving drugs and other necessary medications have been supplied to the affected areas. The advt. further states that ayurveda and homeopathy drugs are effective in preventing the spread of chikungunya and the people can mak euse of these drugs so as to protect themselves. The district health authorities have gone on record saying lakhs worth of drugs have been distributed to protect against the infection.

If chikungunya is a self-limiting illness, where is the need to supply life-saving drugs? What are these drugs?

It was also reported that at the recent meeting of DK Ziilla Panchayat, a MLA expressed his anguish that 'even with all the developments in the field of modern medicine, no treatment has been found for chikungunya'. His anguish is understandable. But it is one thing to say that there is no treatment for chikungunya and just another to say that no treatment is needed for chikungunya. An untreatable illness is a serious problem. A treatment that does not require any specific traement is a simple problem. Chikungunya belongs to the latter category. It is self-limiting, resoloves on its own, does not cause any serious complications and is not fatal. All that is needed is to provide relief from the joint pains, sometimes severe, by using simple drugs like paracetamol. Stronger NSAIDs and steroids can themselves cause problems and prolong the illness and are therefore better avoided.

The claim that ayurveda and homeopathy drugs are effective in preventing the spread of chikungunya is not substantiated by any relevant data. Neither the WHO nor the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme support any such claims. It has been reported that the DK district health authorities have spent lakhs of rupees to procure and distribute such tablets among the people in affected areas. It is not clear whether the authorities have obtained prior approval from the NVBDCP for such an action. In any case, promoting such measures that are unverified would only help in increasing the confusion and encouraging unscrupulous practices.
We expect the govt. to be more rational an dprobing before spending public money on such things.

ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಲೇಖನ ಇಲ್ಲಿದೆ

Report in Udayavani, June 15, 2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Jodha Akbar 'Banned' in Mangaluru: Stand Up To Oppose

Movies as well as works of literature and art are the products of human creativity and expressions of the spirit of freedom. All freedom loving human beings would see them as such. Every one need not agree with the concepts depicted in such works and any disagreement should provoke only a healthy and academic debate and therein lie the health of the society and strength of the free mind.

Of late, there have been many instances of forcing such creative works out of circulation or in extreme cases, even violence against the creators of such works. This intolerant behaviour smacks of fascism and if allowed to grow, could spell the death knell for freedom of human expression.

The attempts to force out the movie Jodha Akbar from the theaters in Mangalore is an attempt of such fascist forces to probe the conscience of the freedom loving people and should therefore be condemned by one and all in strongest possible terms. If the twenty lakh intelligent people of Dakshina Kannada do not stand up today and oppose these forces rearing their ugly head, tomorrow these handful of freedom haters may dictate us on what to wear, what to read, where to go, what to see and what not to speak. The time to stop them is NOW.

More on My Times My Voice

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ban the advertisements that promote the use of mobile phones among kids

Mobile Service Providers in India are up to a new gimmick: Promoting the use of mobile phones among tiny tots! A father, so busy with his 'profession' with no time for his little daughter, instructs her over the mobile phone to look at the sky and count the stars! And another tracks his father returning late at night! Yes, in the all out war of cell phone operators to increase their subscriber base, the latest target are the kids. No matter their tender skulls and brains are highly vulnerable to the cell phone radiation.

Six of us, medical professionals from Mangalooru, have faxed a memorandum to Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, the Hon'ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, urging him to ban such ads promoting the use of mobile phones among children.

Here is the full text of our memorandum:

Drs. B. Srinivas Kakkilaya, Shantharam Baliga, Chakrapani, G.K. Hebbar, Rajesh Shetty, Raghuveer,
Mangalore, Karnataka

Dear Sir,

Sub: Advertisements promoting the use of mobile phones among children – request for prohibition reg.

We are writing this with deep concern regarding the new advertisements being telecast on prime time television that appear to promote the use of mobile phones by kids. One such advertisement shows a father looking at the sky and instructing her 3-4 year old kid to draw pictures of the constellations. Many available reports indicate that use of cell phones by kids may not be safe and should therefore be discouraged. We are providing the links here below to some of these papers for your kind perusal.

You have been at the forefront of the fight against many such marketing gimmicks that are harmful to public health. We therefore request you to kindly initiate immediate measures to ban such advertisements/promotional activities that encourage the use of mobile phones by our young children.

Thanking you, Yours sincerely,

Mangalore, Mar 26, 2008

Dr. B. Shantharam Baliga, Prof. of Paediatrics, Kasturba Med. College, Mangalore
Dr. Chakrapani, Prof. of Medicine, Kasturba Med. College, Mangalore
Dr. B.Srinivas Kakkilaya, Consultant Physician, Light House Hill Road, Mangalore
Dr. Rajesh Shetty, Prof. of Neurology, AJ Inst. Of Med. Scs., Mangalore
Dr. G.K. Hebbar, Consultant ENT surgeon, Sanjeevini, Falnir,Mangalore
Dr. Raghuveer, Asso. Prof. of Paediatrics, Kasturba Med. College, Mangalore

If you want to join us, send your request to the Hon'ble minister at hfm@alpha.nic.in

See Article

For Whom The Bells Toll: Another report links brain tumours to mobile phones
By Gauri Kamath - Businessworld 22-28 April 2008.
At http://www.businessworld.in/content/view/4364/4471


1. Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones: Report of the Group (The Stewart Report) - Mobile Phones and Health Available at http://www.iegmp.org.uk/report/text.htm
2. Cherry N. Cell phone radiation poses a serious biological and health risk Available at
3. Maisch D. Children and Cell Phones: Is there a health risk? The case for extra precautions. Available at http://www.emrnetwork.org/schools/maisch_3_03.pdf
4. Weinbergera Z, Richter ED. Cellular telephones and effects on the brain: The head as an antenna and brain tissue as a radio receiver. Medical Hypotheses. 2002;59(6):703-705 5. Cell phones may present health risks for kids: Scientists say parents should think twice before buying them. Available at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7251038/
6. Kids mobile phone ads 'irresponsible' Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/sci_tech/2001/

More on Cell Phone Hazard: