First the personal facts briefly:

I obtained MBBS degree dated 15th February, 1975 from University of Delhi.

Obtained Master of Surgery (Orthopaedics) degree dated 23rd March, 1979 from University of Delhi.

Worked in Bihar in 1975 in the Small-pox Eradication Programme under the joint Govt. of India-WHO Project. Testimonial dated 6 February, 1975.

Worked as Senior Research Fellow in an ICMR project from 26.11.81 to 30.11.82 under Dr. B. P. Yadav at Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.

Worked as Research Associate in an ICMR Project from 27.12.82 to 29.12.83 under Dr. S. K. Verma at AIIMS, New Delhi.

 

Work experience amongst 5 epidemics over a period of 5 decades:

 

  1. In 1971, worked amongst refugees from Bangladesh at the Indo-Bangla border. Cholera epidemic was in rage amongst the refugees. A group of medical students from Delhi (including me) had set up a dispensary right in the middle of this camp.

 

  1. In 1975 worked in Bihar in Small-pox Eradication Programme under a joint Govt. of India-WHO Project. Work involved moving on bicycle from village to village vaccinating all residents; and quarantining those afflicted with Small-pox in their village hut itself.

 

  1. In 1988 worked during the Cholera epidemic in Delhi as a member of Nagrik Mahamari Janch Samiti. We had documented the work in a Citizens’ Report: “Crime Goes Unpunished.” The Supreme Court of India took cognizance of the Report.

 

  1. As a co-founder of ABVA (AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan) we were one of the first organizations to work during the AIDS pandemic in India. The work started in 1988 and continues till date. We documented our work through a series of Citizens’ Reports available on ABVA’s blog.

 

  1. As a member of Nagrik Mahamari Janch Samiti worked during the Plague epidemic in Delhi (September-October, 1994) and documented our work in a Citizens’ Report: “Is Plague Over?”

 

During 2020 (January to September), we had written a series of articles – 18 in all, including 5 co-authored with my colleague Shobha Aggarwal – on COVID-19 Pandemic which were duly published in Countercurrents.org. We had demanded then:

“… the politicians and bureaucrats in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs; as also Health and Family Welfare; and top-most doctors in the Indian Council of Medical Research as well as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi should be asked to submit their resignations.”

However since early this year, the acts of omission & commission by the politicians – the full spectrum from all parties – has resulted in unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases! Media reports indicate India registered 408,331 new infections and 3523 COVID deaths on 30 April, 2021! All political parties who fought the recent assembly elections maintained a deathly silence over the large election rallies.

By February, 2021 the number of cases reported per day in India had declined to a few thousand; the number reached about 11,000/day by 11-12th March, 2021. Medical scientists at ICMR & AIIMS would have learnt by then that a resurgence is at hand.

Either these medical personnel failed to grasp the available medical intelligence about the doom that awaited the country; or they were aware but did not have the courage to tell the truth to their political masters.

These scientists needed to urge the Indian Govt. to:

i) Suspend the Kumbh mela where finally over 9.1 million pilgrims (official data) participated. This warning should have gone by 11-12th March for immediate action. Only symbolic ceremony – with full precautions – should have been allowed respecting the religious sentiments of the majority community.

ii) Ensure that large gatherings at rallies during the assembly elections in 5 states were prohibited.

On both these counts the action was too late and too little to be of any consequence.

As one of the few living doctors to have worked (in the affected community & not in AC offices in metropolis) in epidemics since 1971, I feel the ‘sarkari’ medical experts let the people down. No one has owned up. No one has been punished.

A small personal protest

As long as I live I’ll never use the prefix ‘Dr.’ with my name. This is a personal, principled protest against the ‘sarkari’ (read ‘durbari’) medical experts; a section of bureaucracy and politicians of all hues (opposition as well as ruling party).


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