Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Never Tolerate, Retaliate!

There's been a great deal of hullabaloo about the whole tolerant  aspect of India. Or rather the intolerance of those practicing the Hindu faith towards the hapless minority.
Every worm is crawling out of the woodwork decrying how a once secular and tolerant nation is now becoming intolerant towards a defenseless majority who only wish to live in peace and harmony with their brethren.
But that makes me wonder, given my own personal experiences in life, is intolerance such a bad thing? I don't see any visible logic so as to why a person ought to continue to be apologetic to a ruthless and manipulative cretin just because an outburst will make him intolerant.
Why should someone live under the yoke of tolerance whilst being constantly subjected to humiliation and embarrassment?
What battles has tolerance won or what feats has tolerance achieved?
Even nature isn't tolerant.
One cannot expect the banks of a river to hold out forever during a storm. A calm placid mountain could actually be a seething Vesuvius ready to explode. 
Tolerance has been the greatest ruse devised by human society. An unwritten unnatural rule that exists in order to make sure one doesn't overstep one's boundaries.  Lest there be revolution that upsets a social order based on subjugation.
The end point of endless tolerance is rebellion. And the result of rebellion is chaos and anarchy. Its when small twigs unite to ignite a massive forest fire.
I believe intolerance is only natural. A natural mechanism of self defense. In order to challenge the yoke of the manipulative oppressor.
In today's heyday the oppressor is the wolf in sheep's clothing. Seemingly placid, harmless, always timid in tone and approach, constantly reminding you of how peace loving he is, when in reality his fangs are hidden behind the smile of deceit.
The one who reacts is the villain. Whom society blames as an intolerant being, out to ruin the fabric of social order.
But in reality the one who reacts is someone who couldn't stand it any longer. When every fabric of his being screams to be let free, to break the bonds imposed upon him and to be able to breathe the free air which was his very right.
Take the example of a spouse in an abusive relationship. He or She continues to tolerate the torture and idiosyncrasies of his or her "better half." Months go by, even years, till a day comes when one cries "no more". Until finally, he or she breaks and decides to never tolerate the abusive relationship any further and in due course, retaliate.
If its a woman, society will brand her a harlot, a she devil who wrecked her relationship instead of suffering the continual onslaught of her abusive husband.
If its a man, he will be branded a womanizer, a chauvinist and an irresponsible wastrel who abandoned his seemingly loving wife.
But in truth they let go of the chains that bound them to a pointless relationship. They refused to tolerate any longer, and finally chose to save themselves instead of tolerating and succumbing to their abusive spouses.
Our "democratic" nation is in shambles because of our tolerance.
There's an overall decrease of morale because we're forced to tolerate.
Forced to tolerate corrupt politicians.
Forced to tolerate repeated acts of terror lest we're branded intolerant to a particular faith or race.
Forced to tolerate repeated humiliations by our troublesome neighbors.
Forced to tolerate our shrines being razed since time immemorial lest we appear intolerant and cause discredit to our own faith.
Wasn't it the intolerance of our British masters that won us our independence?
I doubt tolerance did any good to the Incas and the Aztecs who had their race nearly wiped out by the Spanish Conquistadors.
Nor do I think tolerance did any good the scores of women burned alive by the Salem witch trials. Nobody made them martyrs and for that matter, there were no apologies.
Nor will it do any good to the victims of the Mumbai attacks and the recent Paris attacks.
If there's one thing France ought to realize, is that its modern inception is the due to the seed of intolerance sowed by a corrupt and a wayward monarchy. The intolerance that gave birth to the french revolution and modern day France.
I think one ought to stop being apologetic towards something that has always been our birth right.
If there's injustice of any sorts at any point of time, never tolerate, retaliate!
Retaliation might make one seem like an aggressor, but in reality its to save one self and safeguard one's future.
Everyone has the right to live and lead the life they chose best for themselves, as long as it doesn't involve harming others for one's manipulative need.
Never tolerate repeated attacks on oneself.
It's this continued tolerance of injustice that has led to the subjugation and persecution of millions of people worldwide.
Never be apologetic to defend and demand that which is rightfully yours.
Never tolerate, retaliate!!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Of People And Politics

Sometimes in all earnest I wish my ecosystem would just consist of me and only me. I always looked upon people as a pestilence. In the 29 years of my life there would be just a handful of people who's company I found to be enriching or for that matter of some remote interest. The rest were a plague on my senses.
That being said whether you like it or not, one doesn't always get what one wants.
Its not that I'm snobbish. Even in social circles I'm affable at best. Of course most of my laughter and mirth when I'm with "close company" is pure diabolical pretense. In reality I'm just dying inside.
When I was single I would just rush back home to bask in my own company. I"m not a loner, although having grown as a single kid without siblings makes me relish my own company more than that of others.
But some things on account of social protocols are not meant to be.

If one would compare the progress of India with that of other countries one would realize how far behind we really are. 
While other countries are up to speed with their decisions, our country remains mired in petty politics. One good decision requires the consent of hundreds of politicians who will thwart it on account of their boated egos and personal agendas.
But politics isn't something that is restricted only to the Indian Parliament.
It resides in the average Indian home.
Its the microcosm of an Indian household that transcends into the macrocosm of Indian politics.
And whoever manages a cosmos of such chaotic proportions would lose himself in petty squabbles.
An average Indian householder who I presume is living with a family consisting of at least his parents, his wife, his kids and the servants, would come home to listen to the constant bickering of the household. The wife will have an issue with the servants and the mother in law. The mother will anxiously keep pestering the son a about the idiosyncrasies of the daughter in law. The father will wring his hands and bemoan how he managed the household a lot better back in his time (which is subject to speculation). And amid'st all this the said householder would think of packing his bags and running off to the hills.
Progress in life requires the freedom of thought. And its thought that transcends into action. If ones thought process is consistently occupied by petty domestic squabbles there can be no progress and thereby and absolute stagnation of action.
Try as one might there will come a time when one is utterly exhausted in dealing with life's petty squabbles.
It's for this reason a western household stands in stark contrast with that of an Indian one.
A child in an average western household if off to college by 18. Packing up and leaving for good. The parents although sad, contemplate on their future without their son or daughter. The son graduates, looks for a job, falls in love gets married independently. The parents do come into the picture intermittently. In the form of telephonic advice or family gatherings.
A child in an Indian household never leaves his home. The concept of independence does not exist. Right from his college, his or her marriage, his job is funded, hunted and sponsored by his or her parents.
Its this interdependent bond that stands out in an Indian relationship.
But this relationship has numerous drawbacks.
It inevitably results in domestic squabbles fueled by insecurity and bloated egos.
Its for this reason India has an television industry devoted solely to Saas Bahu (Mother in law Daughter in law ) soaps. Soaps that are based on mindless household politics between two harebrained women who scheme again'st one another as the helpless son watches on, used as a pawn.
While American soaps consist of crime or medical dramas, Indian television is just bombarded the entrenching politics of pestilential women.
Its this reason that lead to the deterioration of the "joint family" system.
Petty politics is the bane of Indian civilization.
Its the one thing that has thwarted this nation from even an iota of progress.
Imagine if the same householder came home to an amicable environment where people just got along setting aside their prejudices and fantasies of self importance.
He would have time to devote things to more useful endeavors,
He could read a book, perhaps do some research on how to better his career.
That in turn would help him progress further, thereby helping his household live more comfortably.
But if he lived in a microcosm seeped in pettiness, evil intentions, bloated egos and wanton insecurities, his future as well as that of his household is doomed to failure.

I never wanted to stay in this country to begin with. Although I chose to stay to be with the ones I loved. But sometimes I really wonder whether this decision of mine will have its consequences.
One needs to either eternally indifferent or be a selfish snob to survive in the mire that is the politics of this country.
Those who cannot be either, have a poor outcome at best.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Of Maladies And Medicine (An emergency physician's perspective)

The other day, a particularly pompous neurosurgeon in my hospital likened the emergency room where I work in, as "a mere transit station, devoid of significance".
Now at that very moment, taken by surprise I was at a loss for words. Words always have in the past failed me during the most trying of circumstances.
Although absolute rage and loathing did set in much later. But the damage was done. He walked away with a harebrained comment presumably content with his over inflated ego as he verbally denounced the very department that is the backbone of our hospital.
Now a significant lot of you might not be aware of the very concept of emergency medicine. Not just the non medical personnel but even the so called "esteemed" medical consultants of many a institution.
That is because the emergency room in most multi specialty hospitals consist of something known as "casualty". Its where a "casualty medical officer," a doctor of particularly limited expertise and perhaps intellect, twiddles his/her thumbs as they wait for a consultant to show up while a patient is probably going into cardiac arrest before their very eyes.
An emergency room and an emergency physician however are a different cup of tea.
Our days begin and end on the note that every patient who walks through our doors must be immediately catered to. Not in a matter of hours but in minutes or if need be seconds. International medical protocol has standard door to needle times for patients presenting with a heart attack or a stroke. Moreover every patient who presents to the emergency room is an absolute priority.
The very concept and aspect of stabilizing a medically unstable patient falls in the hands of a emergency room physician.
Most medical consultants, however long and illustrious their practice might be, are ill equipped to deal with acute medical emergencies and catastrophes. Their so called training is best kept for medically stable patients who walk casually into their OPDs and narrate a years worth of information regarding their maladies and afflictions. The consultant in return listens patiently and informs the patient and the concerned relatives the due course of action he will be taking with regards to their treatment and the time it would take for the full resolution of the patients symptoms. All in a day's work for the patient and the physician.

Now picture a different scenario when the same patient presents to the hospital unconscious. The patient is unresponsive due to some medical catastrophe, like say an accident, a cardiac arrest, a stroke or perhaps low blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. The same relatives are now distraught, inconsolable, screaming for the consultant who earlier saw the patient in the OPD. Chaos reigns and no one is in the right state of mind to actually narrate what went wrong.
Under these circumstances the so called consultant has probably retired for the day. He is unreachable and not in the hospital premises. The assistant doctors (or resident doctors) of the so called consultant are clueless in the chaos that follows.
This is where the emergency physician comes in.
The patient is attended to in seconds according to the triage system. His vital parameters are evaluated, diagnosed without the aid of sobbing relatives and effectively stabilized depending on whatever that malady caused his unconsciousness and shifted for further intensive care.

Its these very minutes and seconds that make all the difference between life and death.
Emergency medicine is acute medicine. Where issues are dealt with immediately without waiting for the consultant or his harebrained assistants to show up.
I've seen many a medical consultant who are utterly clueless in times of chaos like these.
Moreover the chaos around them causes them to panic further which is different from their placid OPDs which probably have some tribal chanting or a mini waterfall rumbling in the background to soothe their nerves.
Most senior consultants panic in the face of a medical emergency. Many cannot even perform basic CPR. Most trained consultants subject a patient of massive blood loss to a series of CT and MRI scans without first correcting the patients vital parameters. One of the first rule of emergency medicine is to desist from diagnostic scanning of any sort if the patient is medically unstable.

This is the sorry state of affairs in India where emergencies occur everywhere at a fraction of a second. Its even worse as majority of the hospitals do not have a properly designed emergency system in place.
Millions die on account of the lack of timely intervention. Unlike the NHS guidelines in the UK or the emergency system in US, India has no proper emergency system in place.
Moreover expecting a medical consultant to respond to emergencies is pointless as that is not his field of expertise.
That is why the very branch of emergency medicine exists.
And that is why it is the need of the hour for the public and the medical community to realize the absolute importance of emergency medicine and the role of an emergency physician.
We're not a mere transit station who ferry patients to and fro.
We're the ones who make all the difference between life and death.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Of Riots And Religion

Articles on religion have been done to death of late. They either stem from extreme criticism to ridiculous lengths of justification for the crimes people commit "in the name of God".
The latest unfortunate episode being the Charlie Hebdo attack in France by the so called "defenders of faith".
I believe that we've reached an impasse of sorts when it come to dealing with those who live in the paranoid insecurity that their faith or way of life is in grave danger.
An episode of mindless fanatical bloodshed is followed by more angry responses by the twitterati, "eminent" thinkers, pseudo intellectuals and sensationalist journalists. Which after a brief lull is followed by more bloodshed.
Notice a pattern here?
People find more time in condemning an incidence and lambasting a certain line of thought instead of finding actual solutions. While satire is an excellent tool in terms of keeping untoward politics and social tendencies in check, it fails miserably at dealing with the most glaring issue at hand here. That issue being religious extremism. And frankly satire is best avoided when it comes to dealing with fanatics I assure you.
The religious extremist is an angry, paranoid fanatic who is ridiculously insecure, not to mention dangerous and prone to extreme violence. A diagnosis so bleak needs a very different form of treatment. And obviously this is a plague that has gotten hold of multitudes of people. A pandemic of epic proportions, spreading fast and spreading with violent consequences. In 17th century England, families would visit a mental asylum to gawk at the lunatics housed there. They would even poke and prod at them with sticks to provoke them further. Well fortunately for them, the lunatic in question was safely housed behind bars, otherwise it would have lead to some unfortunate consequences. Now imagine if there were multitudes of these mentally deluded individuals. I suppose you know where I'm going with this.
Satire doesn't provide a solution. It merely states the obvious and succeeds in instigating the aggressor further.
Wars have to be fought with skill and intelligence rather than overt emotional reactions and extreme maneuvers.
A religious extremist's notion of a world where everyone adheres to the same principles that he does, and an atheist who wishes the elimination of religion altogether are going both going to be grossly disappointed.
The answer to religious extremism is in the hands of the religion itself.
As long as humanity has existed and will continue to exist there will never be universal method of worship. Variety and variation are the hallmarks of nature. Perhaps if majority of the faiths that exist today accept this central dogma we can be rest assured that plagues like these never surface. The very notion of a central dogma and a central mode of worship which governs the whole world is both ludicrous and impossible. That day shall never come.
Perhaps if the leaders of most of these faiths would get their judgmental heads together and spend more time in an inter faith dialogue and reforming their respective faiths, it would benefit humanity considerably.
The faiths today ought to learn from the old religions, which in my opinion were more inclusive and more open to ideas. The Egyptian Goddess Isis was worshiped in Roman Pompeii.  There was never an instance when a devotee of Isis would call a devotee of Artemis as a devil worshiper, heathen and doomed to spend eternity in hell fire unless they accept Isis.
Faith was more inclusive and accepting then.
Faiths today are more involved in mud slinging, accusations, judging people on their habits, converting others to their fold to score brownie points with God (which I can assure you is another ludicrous notion) and actually turning a blind eye towards extremism and social discord.
An idea that does not evolve is doomed to perish. It could be an art form, a system of government and in this case a religion.
Extremism is a scourge on religion. And any faith that encourages a notion that their central dogma holds true and the rest of the faiths are sacrilegious is doomed to extinction.
God doesn't need to be protected, propagated or jealously defended. The voice of God is the voice of reason. Its the defense of reason that is of paramount importance.
If Governments can get actually eminent thinkers and religious leaders with an open mind to openly condemn and reform their respective faiths, we all stand a chance of some peace in our time.
Else the situation from here on will actually become worse, and hell fire will actually descend upon humanity by these so called men of God.