The Hindu notions of purity and pollution, inextricably linked with the caste system and the practice of untouchability, underlie the unsanitary practices in Indian society. These beliefs perpetuate the oppression of the “polluted castes,” who are forced to undertake manual scavenging, unclog manholes and clean other people’s filth. The availability of cheap Dalit labour to do these dehumanising jobs can be cited as one of the reasons why development of toilet facilities and a modern garbage and sewage management system have been neglected so far. As long as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan attempts to delink the relationship between caste and sanitation, its lofty goal of cleaning India will remain unachievable.
The following is the text of a letter written by activists and scholars working in the field of medicine, public health and women’s rights, to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare:
Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda,
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare,
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,
Nirman Bhavan, Maulana Azad Road,
New Delhi 110 011
22nd September 2015
Statement Protesting the Approval to Introduce Injectable Contraceptives in the National Family Planning Programme
We, the following health groups, women’s organisations, peoples’ networks and individuals are extremely disturbed by the news report published in the Times of India (dated 16th September 2015) that the Union Health Ministry has approved Depo Medroxy Progesterone Acetate (DMPA) for use in the National Family Planning Programme (FPP).
It may be re-called that following a Supreme Court case filed in 1986 by women’s groups regarding serious problems with injectable contraceptives like Depo and Net-En, the Court directed the government to monitor safety issues in use of injectable contraceptives but did not ban its use. While they are available in the private medical sector, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), the highest decision-making body on technical matters in the Ministry of Health &Family Welfare, in 1995 held that Depo-Provera is not recommended for inclusion in the FPP. Continue reading A Statement Protesting Approval to Introduce Injectable Contraceptives in the National Family Planning Programme→
The following is a statement issued by some concerned public health professionals in New Delhi, on 21st July, 2014
The world is once again witness to the macabre dance of death in Gaza unleashed by the Israeli aggressors, and once again the news of scores of innocent Palestinian deaths, including those of a number of women and children, is flooding in. The tragedy is compounded many-fold by the conspiracy of silence on this issue entered into by all the major powers of the world, who have singularly failed to take any effective measure to restrain the Israeli aggressors. The only exception to this silence is USA, Israel’s long time sponsor, which has once again blocked efforts at the United Nations to pass any motion of censure against Israel.
Israel’s alibi for the latest attack – to punish perpetrators of abduction and murder of three Israeli boys, holds little merit when Israel is the occupying force in first place and its leaders are belligerently calling for annihilation of ordinary Palestinian lives without discretion in accordance with their doctrine of ‘collective responsibility.’ The deputy speaker of Israeli Knesset, Moshe Feiglin has called Arab people “a gang of bandits” and has argued in favor of Israeli government cutting off electricity supply to Gaza in order to paralyze its hospitals. His reported statement is – “The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza is not redder than the blood of our IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter Gaza.” Continue reading Concerned Public Health Professionals on the Israeli attack on Gaza→
This book, a brilliant book, received extraordinary attention in India.
You might disagree with me, but I believe we do not have a rich literary culture. This is of course fundamentally related to India’s caste structure, and that we haven’t changed that much since Independence. There is little public space for books, a space that has shrunk in the last 20 years, even as book sales have increased. But there lies another story – of the dumbing down of publishing, of the Chetan Bhagatisation of reading. All leading English language newspapers – who have over the last 20 years dispensed with their book review editors, and indeed often book reviews unless they deal with fashion, food, fucking and the First World – discovered the book after Dr.Mukherjee had won the deserved Pulitzer Prize. They celebrated the book, highlighting the fact that it had been written by an Indian, with interviews of his family and school teachers in New Delhi and so on. Dr Mukherjee is also seriously good looking, and I heard, he is doing a role in a Bollywood film. I even know he has celebrity friends like Salman Rushdie. Continue reading The Teleology of Gilded Clinics: Mohan Rao→