Healthcare system in Uttar Pradesh not in the best of health

The sad reality of Uttar Pradesh’s failing healthcare system has been highlighted by the tragedy that showed its ugly face in Gorakhpur, where as many as 60 children died at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College. Call it a coincidence, but it comes as a surprise that the tragedy occurred in Yogi Adityanath’s turf. He has been representing the constituency since 1998. His government has presented statistics to suggest that fatalities aren’t unusual given a large number of patients being treated at the hospital. Continue reading “Healthcare system in Uttar Pradesh not in the best of health”

Do the right thing…

While flipping through the pages of an old textbook, I came across an excerpt from Anis Jung’s ‘Lost Spring: Stories of Stolen Childhood’ The Story revolved around a boy named Sahib who happened to be one of the countless street dwellers living in Seemapuri, a district in North-Western Delhi. The story focuses on the plight of street children in a country as big as India. It further throws adequate light over the fact that these children have been living in a dire state of poverty for ages.

The story also explores the problems he faces, getting exposed to hazardous waste in the garbage dumps, roaming around barefoot without adequate nourishment or clothes on his body. Sahib, like many other children dwelling in slums is a rag-picker. Finally, he finds work at a tea-stall, but is unhappy because he ends up losing his freedom in the process.

Stories like these keep emerging out of thin air every now and then, but we hardly pay heed to them. Perhaps we’re a bit too busy, or perhaps we see it happening and we turn a cold shoulder. Not paying heed to such incidents is perhaps the easiest way for most people to ignore what’s happening around them.

It reminds me of one of the major projects I had undertaken with my batchmates during my days at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). The project dealt with preparing a campaign for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The campaign drew attention towards the need to inculcate a sense of sensitivity towards juveniles who are being subjected to inhuman treatment in countless juvenile rehabilitation centres spread across the length and breadth of the country.

I remember the groundwork we’d laid down to make this campaign a success. We’d travelled all the way to a prison (I won’t name it) where juveniles had been mercilessly thrown behind bars. We’d also made our way to various government schools across Delhi to urge students to channelize their energies and talents in order to fulfil their dreams, but it was easier said than done.

So,  our team decided that instead of telling children not to do something wrong, we’d tell them to do the right thing. And,  it is here that we came up with a creative tagline for our campaign. The tagline was: ‘Karo wahi jo hai sahi'(do the right thing). The campaign was named: ‘Thaan lo’:Karo wahi jo hai Aaho. (Take a pledge to do the right thing).

As part of the campaign,  we asked school children to channelize their energies towards something that they enjoyed doing.  Some of them wanted to play,  others wanted to draw and sketch. There were those who wanted to write.

We even prepared promotional material for people to see. The entire idea behind the campaign was to come out with something which would encourage people to do the right thing.

It is often witnessed that poverty makes street children indulge in things such as petty thievery. To help them rise above these problems, we encouraged them to get enrolled in schools. Financial constraints are just one of the many excuses we came across.  The truth however,  was completely different. Children didn’t want to go to school because they were unaware of the role schools play in a child’s life.  Life,to them was all about roaming around doing nothing.

So,  this is pretty much what was undertaken by us as part of our attempt to make a difference.

Whether we could win the campaign or not is a separate discussion altogether,  but our efforts didn’t go unnoticed as we got rave reviews from the faculty @ IIMC.
 

 

India versus Pakistan: Rivalries, sub-plots and cricket…

The moment people hear about an India-Pakistan cricket match, blood starts gushing through their veins. Cricket freaks across the globe have their hearts pounding in their chests. Work gets sidelined, with emails piling on at a rate of knots in mailboxes, and all of us are there, with our eyes glued to the TV screens, desperately waiting for a miracle to occur out of nowhere. Every time Virat hits the ball all the way to the fence, the entire nation erupts in jubilation. The entire nation is there, hopping and jumping in excitement. There’s anticipation wherever you look.

Continue reading “India versus Pakistan: Rivalries, sub-plots and cricket…”

Menstrual taboos…

“ All of us were born because of menstrual blood, yet it’s considered impure”

I’ve read close to a thousand articles around the very concept of women empowerment. You see women taking giant strides in each and every sphere of life. Be it work, sport or business, women are everywhere. It’s really heartening to see women finally coming out of the clutches of poverty and making their presence felt. But hold on, there’s one thing that keeps bothering me. I really fail to understand why on earth we consider women ‘impure’ during menstrual cycles?

Continue reading “Menstrual taboos…”

Tackling the bullies…

Student days are tough, not because of all those tests and assignments. Tests and assignments were the least of our worries. The tough time I’m talking about is the tough time kids sometimes give to other kids, something which we call bullying. A majority of us end up facing at least one such incident in our student life. A countless number of children are bullied in India every day, it’s never-ending.

Continue reading “Tackling the bullies…”

A state of intolerance…

 Filmmaking is rightly considered a profession allowing the creative juices to flow out of people. It provides people with the widest extent of unleashing their creativity. A director puts his creativity to use in an attempt to create a world of his own. A film maker takes all sorts of cinematic liberties (He’s bound to). Historical depictions are subject to a considerable amount of distortion. History is something which is always created. Distorting history can prove extremely fatal. The recent attack on director Sanjay Leela Bhansali comes as a wake-up call that Hindu extremism is no longer a myth, but a harsh reality.

Continue reading “A state of intolerance…”

Film review:Assassin’s creed-A total ‘paisa-vasool’ flick

This morning I decided to go and watch The Assassin’s Creed, not because I’m a big fan of the video game but because I didn’t have anything to do:)

Let us take a closer look at Assassin’s Creed, the film. Assassin’s Creed trailer

An Overview:

The story begins exactly the way stories like these usually do. A convicted criminal being rescued from prison (Fassbender) and learning that the organization which planned and executed the rescue (Abstergo Industries) is madly searching for The Apple of Eden (Now, that’s interesting:)) How these men (and woman as well) go about their business forms the crux of the story.

The Storyline:

The story could have been a bit tighter, but frankly, stories and films dealing with video games and stuff are pretty much ‘over the top’ action-packed entertainers and we want them to be that way. The best thing about the film is that it  succeeds in keeping the viewer hooked and guessing. It’s fast-faced and doesn’t give you an opportunity to blink your eyes. The film keeps you interested right from the beginning till the very end and its 2 hour run-time won’t appear long . The story loses pace on more than one occasions, especially post interval, but ultimately succeeds in delivering what it wants to deliver i.e. entertainment.

Rating:**1/2

Performances:

Fassbender is the star of the show, without a doubt. The film relies heavy upon Fassbender’s heroics and he has done quite a reasonable job. He’s quite similar to the protagonists we have in our typical Bollywood flicks. A guy with  a largely  shadowy past. Marion as Dr. Sophia adds glamour and charm to the film just like Katrina Kaif did in Ek Tha Tiger. The likes of Jeremy Irons and Micheal Williams have been given limited screen-space and you can expect that from a movie which is heavily dependent upon its lead pair.

Rating: ***/5

Music:

The director’s brother Jed Kurzel has composed the film’s music and it has to be said that the film’s music is one of the positives the film brings to light. Jed Kurzel, known for composing music for the highly acclaimed horror flick The Babadook has once again delivered the goods. The film’s music pumps up the viewer’s adrenaline and complements the entire setup. It adds that adventurous flavour to The Assassin’s Creed.

Rating ****/5

Direction:

Justin Kurzel has tried extremely hard to recreate the 15th century setup. The action sequences have been executed really well. The locations add authenticity to the setup. Most of the action sequences are extremely pleasing to the eye. The complexity of the entire plot has been maintained but the wafer thin plotline really leaves you with nothing except action sequences. the VFX team needs to be given a thumbs up for the effort they’ve invested.

Rating **1/2

Overall:

All in all, the film is meant for the sole purpose of entertainment. It is a perfect way to kickstart the weekend. If you’re a fan of Fassbender then you can definitely give it a go ahead. It would surely lure the video game and movie buffs in India as well as in other parts of the world as well. Assassin’s Creed has been made keeping in mind the younger audiences. It’ll do reasonable business (I would like to believe that) because of the popularity of the video game. Overall, it’s a fast paced,action-packed flick. Definitely a one-time watch.

Overall Rating:***/5

Organ trade…

India can be rightly proud of its status as one of  the world’s fastest growing economies but there’s an infamous label that refuses to go away. Despite the country’s best efforts to destroy the black market for illegal organ trade, India retains its reputation as an easy place to buy organs such as kidneys and livers.

Earlier this year, I saw a Bollywood flick titled ‘Rocky Handsome’ starring the burly surly John Abraham. The film struggled to attract audiences, but threw light on the ever-so grave and serious issue of illegal organ trade. The film saw an organized organ mafia active in the Indian state of Goa. The liver was being sold to one district, the heart to another.

There are quite a lot of reasons for this. First of all, the very concept of organ donation is new in India. Furthermore, the western notion of removing organs from people who have already been declared brain-dead is even more unfamiliar. India is a huge country with around 60% of its population still living in villages, so it’s not possible for all of them to know about the practice of organ donation.

The next problem is that not all doctors know how to identify people who can donate their organs. Also, you need to have fairly good connectivity.Imagine that the donor is living in some remote part of Chattisgarh, now to bring him to Delhi and to take out that organ would be a huge challenge.

It is basically due to the lack of awareness. A lot of people believe that organ donation is prohibited in their religion which, in reality, is untrue. No religion prohibits organ donation. And then, there are several horror stories that are a powerful deterrent. Earlier, transplants were misused (they still are) and got a bad name for themselves so, people are scared as well. All of us must have seen it on news channels where patients are admitted to a hospital only to wake and find their organs have been removed.

In the Indian state of Goa, the tourists who overstay after the expiry of their  visas are targeted by  the loan sharks and are tricked into selling their kidneys. In 2016, reports also surfaced from Pandoli, a small community in rural Gujarat where villagers were allegedly pressured into selling their kidneys to solve their financial problems.

Diabetes is rife in India. Untreated diabetes leads to organ failure, necessitating a transplant, but there aren’t enough donated organs to go around. The Indian hospitals receive countless requests for organs from abroad as well.And so the underground trade persists.

Although such illicit rackets have been flourishing since the early 1990’s, the growth and the rising popularity of social media has catapulted the trade into a new direction. Harvesters are openly lurking on dozens of Facebook pages fashioned as Kidney and transplant support groups.

The widening hole between the demand and legal supply of organs is being filled by what is believed to be the world’s biggest organ market spanning across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka,  Bangladesh and Iran. Sri Lanka has become the epicenter of illegal kidney  transplants over the years.

To promote organ donation as a positive practice, the authorities are enlisting the help of Bollywood actors. Aamir Khan, for instance, has pledged to donate  his organs. Earlier this year Sri Lanka suspended all kidney transplants for foreigners after Indian police linked a kidney racket in India to doctors based in Sri Lanka, allegedly operating on Indian donors and recipients.

All of these practices and initiatives have had limited impact over the ever-so-growing business of illegal organ trade primarily because of the fact that trafficking in organ trade is an organized crime. The recruiter who identifies the vulnerable person, the transporter, the hospital staff, the medical professionals etc. The trade is rarely exposed because of the large number of people involved in it.