Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's mystery all over around vit D

Vit D is the new craze in medical science today. Most pharmaceutical companies are now out for making a killing out of this trend. You would now see a plethora of seminar or CMEs being held at big city hotels organised by different companies, where the eminent doctors speak to their listening colleagues on the benifits of vit D.

Nothing wrong with it, apparently. But I was surprised when yesterday at such a seminar at HHI, Kolkata, a lady speaker claimed that every Indian - herself included - today suffers from vit D deficiency. Such a sweeping claim unsupported by any worthy data evoked no critical response from the audience. I felt like blurting out, but in such a formidable milieu, I could not summon up the courage.

Not so long ago, I remembered, in another seminar organized by yet another company at a differnt five-star, two eminent endocrinologists concluded that there is not enough data to prove that Indians are suffering from vit D deficiency that much because it's the land of sunshine and Indians still get a lot of expose to sun, the main source of vit D.

The speakers of yesterday's seminar - among them the legendary M.S.Ghosh - trotted out a quite opposite line. In fact, they advocated to the doctors that all patients should be given vit D irrespective of age or ailment.

The doctors had visibly bought the speakers' mandate before they turned to cocktail dinner.

It's mystery all over around vit D. What's the truth, I wonder.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Arundhati Roy on India's new Land Acquisition Bill

Oh, I missed it. The Hindu published an illuminating interview with Arundhati Roy in May.

The corporate land grab is the fundamental drive of the new economy. Whether they are IT, coal or steel companies, the first move is to take over and then control land and water resources. The notion that you must allow them to do it and that will generate jobs is a myth. The statistics say that we are only seeing ‘jobless growth.’”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Study of Literature=Study of Data?

The study of literature is becoming, or has already become, the study of data. Every Dickens novel has been mined, every Nabokov character described as having phallically long toes has been tagged. Deconstruction—unconscious betrayal, or betrayal by the unconscious—is for the microchips now.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Racing has not stopped in Kolkata. Dr A Chakrabarty told us while we were moving in a car by the side of the race ground. It’s still here, but once a month or so.

I read somewhere that racing had been banned. Is it in Mumbai or somewhere? Anyway, Kolkata’s racing horces are still running.

In a similar way, anatomy dissection, which somebody told me has stopped, is still there. Dr Mondal, an assistant professor of medicine, Sagar Dutta Medical college, confirmed me his medical students were practising it in their classes. They import the body from R G KAR Medical college or somewhere.

Of course I’m ignorant and  not savvy enough these days.

Ashamed to admit that I didn’t know early morning urine is best for detection of albumin. The British speaker at Taj Bengal auditorium further enlightened me by saying that  the patient must not take any protein-rich diet for three days, must not suffer from any infection or fever before his urine is taken for examination.

It’s the most inexpensive test for albumin, he said(The British still cares about patients’ expenses).

RN Tagore Hospital charges 50,000 rupees each day if your patient is on ventilation. Apollo takes 70,000 rupees for the same thing.

Dr Chakrabarty said, “Mamata should close these hospitals, if she wants to keep her mark in health-care.”

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Recommended reading: Pankaj Mishra-Aman Sethi conversation on politics of aspiration, Narendra Modi and future of journalism

Neo-liberalism creates its own human subjectivity. So everyone – whether writers, cotton farmers or mere tweeters – is supposed to turn into an entrepreneur now, set up their own stall in the marketplace, compete and clash with other entrepreneurs – the day is not far when everyone will be expected to float individual IPOs! The overall result is a culture of aggressive selfishness, envy, rancour and animosity, which eventually exhausts and corrodes its participants from within.  I find it extraordinary and deeply depressing that the idea of caring about the weak is scorned as ‘socialist’ by many rich and powerful Indians today – derided as the pitiable obsession of deluded jholawallahs. The caste system was bad enough in encouraging callousness; we have also bought into this bogus neoliberal ideology of meritocracy, which exempts many people from thinking about the disadvantaged and underprivileged.


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