The story of JP, his transformation from a Marxist to a Gandhian, his
daring acts during the Quit India Movement, his escape from jail, his
rearrest and torture by the British which made him a legendary hero, his
joining Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement, his emergence from isolation
and providing leadership to the people groaning under the tyranny of the
Emergency, have all been described by the author in a manner and style
that makes the entire range of his personality and the sequence of
events run before your eyes like a movie.
This finely written and
beautifully produced book will certainly induce the reader to know more
about the man who remained passionately devoted to the hopes and
aspirations of the masses of India.
by D.N. Dhar and Rupa Dhar. Orient
Pages 184. Rs 140.
Man must have noticed the
curative qualities of certain herbs and plants by accident, and then
confirmed these through observation and experience. Since then herbal
treatment has been the only form of medicine available to a large part
of the world’s population. Even modern medicine draws heavily on herbs
in the preparation of a number of pharmaceutically useful drugs. A
recent survey in the USA has revealed that about 50 per cent of
medicines used by doctors today are of plant origin.
India has a vast reservoir
of medicinal plants which form the principal source of drugs used in the
indigenous systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani and Sidha. But
the tremendous advances made by modern medicine have caused the people
to become sceptical about the utility and effectiveness of these herbal
medicines, which are generally described as "home remedies"
and often looked down upon.
In this scenario, when the
authors of this book, who are scientists in their own right, speak of
herbal remedies, they impart an authentic ring to the text. They
maintain that the indigenous systems of medicine offer safe cures, free
from side effects, and in many cases are based on sound scientific
principles. They have listed more than 200 medicinal plants, given their
common names, their botanical names and also their Indian names wherever
possible. Each disease has been given a brief introduction with its
causes and symptoms. The list includes some common ailments as well as
some that are not so common and deserve serious attention. Then come the
methods of preparing the herbal brews. They use the word "tea"
for any concoction that contains an extract of herbs.
However, they also sound a
note of caution. Herbal medicine should be considered an adjunct to and
not a substitute for modern medicine. They also maintain that any
prejudice against traditional herbal treatment would be unfair.
Combining the simple but effective traditional practices with modern
therapeutics would be a sensible approach to health care.
At the very outset, the
authors and the publishers make it clear that the information in the
book is not intended to replace medical consultation. They do not hold
themselves in any way responsible for any loss or damage caused to any
person directly or indirectly by the information in the book.