Doctor, teach thyself

THIS refers to “Doctor, Test thyself” (Spectrum, April 17) which gives the views of doctors regarding re-registration of doctors every five years. I support the need for a mandatory continued medical education (CME) programme without any exam for the doctors every five years to update them on latest drugs, equipment and medical practices.

It was surprising that no one pointed out the need for a crackdown on quacks and strengthening of the public infrastructure for health. More colleges to train physicians and primary healthy care centres are the need of the hour. Unfortunately, before making this policy for qualified doctors, whose knowledge is any day better that millions of quacks playing with the lives of innocent and poor people, quacks should be dealt with determination.

Despite the Supreme Court’s directions regarding quackery, nothing is being done. It is high time our policy makers woke up to realities of life, otherwise this exercise will only prove to be another inspector raj feature without improving health facilities in reality.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bhatinda





What is the need for re-validation of degree when a surgeon, posted in a rural area, does not have even a chair to sit on and he cannot see an operation theatre even in his dreams? I think it is due to the wrong policies of the government for the last 55 years that even now a majority of the population has no access to even basic health services. It's very easy to criticise the doctors for failure of various national programmes while sitting in air-conditioned offices and refusing to find the root cause of the problem.

The author may be right that the institutions like PGI and AIIMS are maintaining high academic standards but even these doctors have to go to court every year for their promotions and other dues.

The minister is wrong in saying that 80 per cent of the doctors are in this profession for just making money. I want to remind him that even the head of an institution like AIIMS is not getting even half of the salary being offered to an IIM or IIT graduate, even before his passing out of the college. It's high time that we should introspect and try to find a lasting solution to problems concerning healthcare. The wrong policies of the government and the bleak future in India is forcing more and more doctors to seek employment in other countries. I am one such doctor.

Dr VINEETA. Coventry (UK)

Saul Bellow: In memoriam

SAUL BELLOW (1915-2005), who is one of America’s greatest novelists, is at home “in a broad narrative framework.” His observations are usually confined to the life of the middle classes, making his books “fragments of a modern American ethos”. In The Adventures of Augie March (1953), he presents an expressive picture of poor immigrants in Chicago during the Twenties of the 20th century.

Indeed, Bellow is encompassed in three terms: “Freedom, identity and love”. His characters are lonely, when they are deprived of love.

In his essay, Distractions of a Fiction Writer, he says: “Society does not honour the imagination” and that “the writer feels society does not need him” and that “he is held in contempt.”

Thus, Saul Bellow, is sensitive to all the idiosyncracies of American society. Nonetheless, he is far from being a black humorist, and can extract the grain of comedy from the absurdities of modern Western civilisation.


Peace with Partition

Apropos of “Making peace with Partition” by Khushwant Singh (Saturday Extra, March 26). It is absolutely naive to be convinced about Jinnah’s belief that an independent Muslim homeland would bring lasting peace in the region. Jinnah wangled Pakistan for himself for slaking his thirst for power. All talk about Muslim interests was mere demagogy since it was he who created unrest in the country. As far as his religious credentials went, he could neither say namaaz, nor did he know Urdu, Persian or Arabic. He used the Muslim masses as pawns for his selfish ends.


Burman’s beats

I had the pleasure of meeting music maestro R.D. Burman in London during the 1980s. When I asked him which was the greatest commercial hit of his career, Panchamda replied it was Dum maro dum. His favourite duet was Jaan-e-Jaana, dhoondta Phir raha hoon. The most memorable composition of his career was Mera Kuch Samaan. The common thread uniting all these melodies is Asha Bhosle, whose glorious vocals, said Panchamda, inspired him to compose. Yet people believe that R.D. reserved the creme de la creme of his repertoire for Lata Mangeshkar. ‘Lata lunatics’ (a phrase coined by O.P. Nayyar for Lata fans) are welcome to such fantasising. Isn’t it ironic that R.D. Burman should himself have thought otherwise?


Race for colour

Bollywood is known for the mad rat race. After the success of the colour version of Mughal-e-Azam, some old classic black and white hit films— Do Ankhen Baarah Haath, Naya Daur, Dil Apna Preet Parayi are going colour.

If colour had been the sole criterion of a hit film, then Jhansi Ki Rani, Durgesh Nandni or Chitralekha had not been big flops. K. Asif could not produce his Mughal-e-Azam in colour for want of finance, whereas after the success of Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje, V. Shantaram had both the finance and experience to produce Do Ankhen Baarah Haath in colour but he produced this film in black and white because he visualised and conceived it only this way.

Black and white films have their own charm and are a source of inspirations for the coming generations. Present-day producers and directors lack creativity so they opt for cheap gimmicks.

C.R. JINDAL, Chandigarh

Unholy reaction

Apropos of Khushwant Singh’s write-up “Holi gift” (Saturday Extra, April 9), there was no impropriety in Vasundhara Raje Scindia’s act of sending him gulaal and wishing him a joyous Holi. Evidently, she honoured him.

According to the learned writer, a more appropriate gift for a man of his age was packets of bhang (hemp), which was de rigueur on this festival. In fact, many disciples of Lord Shiva take bhang on Shivaratri. It has nothing to do with the festival of colours.

Singh is a compulsive fault-finder and often disapproves even of some good things.



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