Further adventures in ‘alternative’ medicine!

A cure is desperately needed…

Ajaz A Baba
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 15 2018 11:22PM | Updated Date: Dec 15 2018 11:22PM
Further adventures in ‘alternative’ medicine!Representational pic

Last week I had mentioned in this very space that on seeing a series of tents erected in one of the public parks in Lal Chowk I thought that it was some sort of a mega sale but on entering one of the tents I came to know that it was a protest sit-in-cum-hunger strike. The tents had been erected by these practitioners of various systems of ‘alternative’ medicine who were agitating to be recognized as a system of medicine and to be considered for government jobs. I went into various tents to check out the varied systems of alternative medicine some of which I have already described in last week’s column. While I was in one of the tents I was distracted by an uproar of slogans in the neighboring tent. This tent was the largest of all. I rushed there and found that it was an assembly of Footpath-y ‘doctors’!

One of the Footpath-y ‘doctors’ was delivering an impassioned speech: “It is the responsibility of the government to accommodate us in the medical services. Let it be as ‘alternative’ medicine or ‘native’ medicine or whatever! We have been serving the common man for years altogether on our ‘Footpath Clinics’! We are such a large community with all the specialties available, dentistry, bone-setters, you name it! Why even these gentlemen in red-light topped Ambassador Cars stop their cars to buy ‘tonics’ and powders and pills for ‘vigour and vitality’ from us. Sex scandals in every corner of the country attest to the efficacy and potency of our drugs! We demand instant recognition!”

I met a friend, who happens to be a very well informed journalist, outside this tent. I asked him, “Why are all these people agitating? Do they really expect the government to take them seriously?”

“Why not?!” he said. “You see if you are able to attract attention by dramatic gimmicks you are likely to get into the papers and on the news channels. And then there are always some people sitting in the law-making bodies who are ready to embrace such causes to cash on the publicity. Or again there is that greatest motivator of men, money, involved; you know the time-tested strategy of paying some fellow to raise a hue and cry in the corridors of power! Sometimes it is because the ‘specialty’ might be offered by an institution floated by men with influence in the right quarters. At times these ‘courses’ become a ‘trap door’ for including protégés of the men-in-power into government jobs, the ones that did not get into recognized professional courses through the back door that is! There are always these ‘Rural Health Schemes’ and things like that.”

“Looks more like scheming against the rural health!” I couldn’t resist saying.

While we were having this conversation, a small group of people timidly approached us and offered me a box. Seeing me going into all those tents they probably had got this impression that I must be a representative from the authorities!

“What is in this box?” I asked them. 

“Our certificates!” they said.

I opened the box and found that it contained Chicken patties (at this point it becomes imperative to inform a ‘non-native’ reader that due to the peculiarities of local pronunciation a chicken-patty is usually pronounced as a chicken-pathy!). Stuffing one into my mouth, I mumbled, “Delicious! But rather strange so far as certificates go!”

“Well sir, we are Chicken ‘pathy’ specialists. We make the best of these in the whole town so we thought that we might be considered as Chicken‘pathy’ ‘doctors’ and be made a part of one or the other system of medicine. Down the ages doctors have been prescribing chicken soup for the sick so we are not altogether off the mark! A chicken-‘pathy’ could very well be patented as a capsule!”

Unbeatable logic that as I am sure you will agree! So what could I say to them except inform them that I was not representing the authorities! They were very disappointed and wandered away looking for someone else to present their case to. 

“Why don’t the authorities take some measures to ensure that people are not duped into going for these ‘mumbo-jumbo’ courses? Ultimately to ‘rehabilitate’ these people it ends up promoting quackery! And that may be to the advantage of a few but is deleterious for the masses, obviously posing a great danger besides being a criminal waste of resources! It is unfortunate too that all this manpower which could be utilized in some really useful way is wasted.” I said wistfully surveying the gathering of protesters. “Do you think that the authorities will ever wake up to all this and do something about it?”

My friend shook his head in the negative and said, “That’s most unlikely! You see the authorities are specialists in their own right!”

“Really!” I said. “And what is their specialty?”

My friend smiled wryly and said, “Apathy!”

 

(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at snp_ajazbaba@yahoo.com)

 

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