Compare Med Reports, Not Horoscopes

MARRIAGES ARE, IT IS SAID, ARE MADE IN HEAVEN. IN INDIA MOST ARRANGED marriages take place only after the horoscopes of the boy and the girl ‘match’.

Rarely, or almost never, are their medical reports matched.

Many do not know that if the two have different Rh factors, i.e. one is Rh positive and the other Rh negative,  there can be complications in pregnancy  as the Rh antibodies from an Rh-sensitized woman cross the placenta and attack the blood of an Rh-positive fetus. The Rh antibodies destroy some of the fetal red blood cells.

This causes hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them.  In some such cases there are still births or infant mortality unless doctors know and take preventive action.

It was, therefore, an eye-opener when a reader in his ‘like’ message on LinkedIn for my blog sent me a link to a You Tube video ‘Dhoka‘ (Betrayal). In the video, a widow with a girl child objects to the fixing of a marriage without comparing medical certificates as her own husband died in his thirties as she had congenital heart problem, which was not disclosed when the match was fixed.

Superstitions abound in a tradition-bound country like India. Many, especially in rural areas, believe that some health and psychological problems would automatically get resolved by marriage. Mostly due to ignorance about problems like mental retardation are attributed to fate and it is believed that the good fortune of the other party would set them right.

There are many cases where genetic factors play an important role.  Three members of a family where both the mother and the father were highly diabetic,  died of kidney failure and one more is undergoing dialysis. A cousin on the father’s side  (with the same family name) also died of renal failure after decades of diabetes. In all four cases the family medical history was not known.

The practice of basing marriages on the ‘gotra’ (ancestry or the name of the foregather whose progeny the family was supposed to be) of the two families and the prohibition on marriages within the same ‘gotra’ are, perhaps, based on  principles as the genetic traits of the gotras were known. This soon deteriorated into a ritual and such knowledge also does not exist any more.

The message of the video clip is:  Just as you enquire about the social and financial status of the family and educational qualifications and employment of the boy or the girl, you must also have the medical records of  both of  them examined for compatibility.

A new medical speciality may develop if this becomes a common practice. Five-star corporate hospitals may open special departments for this. And make morfe money

Marriages may be made in heaven, but they must also be cleared  by doctors.

Political Rivalry Not Enmity

China Rahul
Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka, Robert Vadra and his mother with the Chinese Ambassador

SEVENTY YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE AND DEMOCRACY SHOULD HAVE TAUGHT INDIA one of the most basic axioms of politics — political rivalry is  NOT enmity.

It is said there are no permanent enemies in politics. Those who criticised a party’s Continue reading Political Rivalry Not Enmity

And Now Sops For Corporators

Civic bodies’ great “achievements\” — piling up garbage and polluted lakes in cities           

IT WAS JUST DAYS AGO THAT THE BJP-RULED MAHARASHTRA, CLAIMING TO BE THE most progressive state in India, decided to dole out 100 million rupees of tax-payers’ (your and my) money annually for  health insurance to its already-pampered legislators.

And now it proposes to squander about 600 million rupees a year  to  raise the salaries of the members of the municipalities and corporators in the state,  again controlled mostly by BJP and its ally, Shiv Sena. Continue reading And Now Sops For Corporators

Five-Star Jails For Politicians

Behind Bars
V.K. Shashikala  ruling from her new Secretariat

GOING TO JAIL FOR TAKING PART in the struggle against British rule was a  status symbol in the early days of India’s Independence. Many got pensions as ‘freedom-fighters’  for that  (though some politicians could have manipulated to show that their jail terms for crimes were for participation in the ‘Satyagraha’- peaceful civil disobedience.)

During decades of Congress rule corruption and highhandedness of the ruling class was so rampant that one felt most of them deserved  to be jailed.  Few were prosecuted  Continue reading Five-Star Jails For Politicians

Idiot’s Tale Signifying Nothing


cartoonWHEN I INCLUDED A WHOLE CHAPTER ON CARTOONISTS   IN MY BOOK ON  Journalism ‘A TOWN  CALLED PENURY – the Changing Culture of Indian Journalism’, I did not even mention Mangesh Tendulkar, the cartoonist who died a few days ago.Penury

That was because of my ignorance about many cartoonists in language publications, like Tendulkar was in Marathi periodicals.  But his one cartoon  on death (see  above) published following on his own death — made me think deeply about our own lives and achievements, the pride and ego about a momentary ‘greatness’ soon forgotten.

That was what Tendulkar’s cartoon was about. For the uninitiated the top letter on the tomb- stone (in Marathi) is ‘Kai‘ (short for Kailaswasi – meaning ‘now in heaven’) an equivalent of ‘the late’. Under it  ‘Mi‘, in Marathi means ‘myself‘. It is,  therefore,  about  his   own  tombstone getting the treatment which poles and such structures usually get from dogs. Continue reading Idiot’s Tale Signifying Nothing

Let’s Have More of Corruption

Image Credit: Bolte Raho (even the spelling is corrupted!)

A FRIEND SENT ME YESTERDAY A FILM CLIP which, according to him, was the shortest film ever made in the world to have won an award.

It showed an official sitting in his drawing room with a pile of files, as his little daughter played around the room. As each file is opened he finds a currency note and signs the paper.  He throws on the floor any file that does not have a note. His daughter picks up the file but he puts it aside. She sees that he signs only the files which have money.

The little girl then puts before him her school  ‘Report Card’ and gets scolded for poor marks in some subjects. He refuses to sign the card and puts it aside.

A few minutes later she returns with the card. When he opens it he finds a few coins from her pocket money inside the card. That opens his eyes; even his child knows that he is corrupt and signs only when he is bribed.

Next to the ‘love’ theme with the hero and heroine dancing around trees singing duets, Indian films focus on social evils like corruption, dowry system and caste

A  decade of  ‘Scamocracy’

discrimination. Millions see the films and even shed tears for those wronged by the evils.


And yet the social evils not only continue but thrive. During the last government in India a new scandal got exposed every day. Some of that regime’s scandals are still being exposed. A cartoonist once showed a newspaper vendor shouting that day’s sensational headline: “NO SCANDAL TODAY’!

No amount of sloganeering and condemnation in films and editorials  have reduced the evils. They are accepted by the society as normal. As I mentioned in another post, no parent would refuse a match for his daughter (in India’s arranged marriage system) because the boy’s father made money by corrupt means.

Even our religious rituals – making an offering to God and asking for a favor in return – promote bribery. There is no social stigma attached to corruption. It may be illegal, but is not considered immoral or unethical.

It took an extreme step like imposition of Emergency with Press censorship and jailing of thousands dynasty rule to be ended. And it came back when its replacement was a weak, divided, coalition.

India threw out a corrupt government to elect the present NDA government. But it has not yet thrown out corruption itself. So extreme corruption which makes life difficult for millions may be required to make people fed up and finally throw out corruption.

Let corruption grow — to end it.

PS –The friend claimed the two-minute film was the shortest ever made to win an award (he called it an Oscar, unaware that there are no Oscars in India).  If I remember right around 1966 Promod Pati won an award for a 50-second documentary  (yes, less than a minute) titled “And Miles to Go“.

In it the camera spans down from a jet plane flying across the screen to an old woman and a child holding a slate (those days children used slates to learn writing). For a second you think the grandmother is teaching the little girl.  Then you realize it was the other way around. ‘And Miles to go’ were words from a Robert Frost poem, found scribbled on a paper on first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s desk after his death.

Yes. Half a century later, it is still miles to go for a corruption-free society.

                                 Congratulations on getting 500 total likes on UnstoppableAfterSeventy.

And More Sops for Legislators

Yes, but do their hearts —  if any — beat for the poor?

THE POST URGING PRIME Minister Narendra Modi to abolish lifetime pension to politicians keeps doing the rounds on WhatsApp and other media,  coming again and again.


It  had prompted my posts supporting the appeal.  The second was when Telangana  government  of decided to build big bungalows for MLAs, mostly big landlords, in their constituencies. Another post Continue reading And More Sops for Legislators

Boycott China Call on Chinese Phones

DIGITAL MEDIA LIKE WHASTAPP,  TWITTER  AND OTHERS  ARE AGOG WITH CALLS TO boycott  Chinese goods in view of China’s  belligerent and aggressive moves in Sikkim and Arunachal

Boycott call
Acharya’s cartoon, tweeted by Kurmavatar, Srikakulam

states  of India on the border between the two countries

An association of school         principals in Mumbai asked schools to discourage their students and  parents from buying Chinese water-bottles, pencil boxes, sketch pens, measurement rulers,  writing pads and erasers.  Indian  markets are overflowing with Chinese goods ranging from crackers to mobile  Continue reading Boycott China Call on Chinese Phones

Grey Matter Or Grey Hair To Look Old
                                                    Image  courtesy   ‘amdavadis4ever’  email sharing group on yahoo

I REMEMBER, AS A TEENAGER,  TRYING DESPERATELY TO LOOK OLDER AS I THOUGHT grey hair was more valued than grey cells in the brain in the profession I was keen of joining.

Having got the first two bylines in a publication at the age of 16 and  called by the editor after he accepted the third one. I tried to look older by wearing zero-power ‘spectacles’ as he thought I was a boy running errands for the contributor.

Now that I have natural grey hair I wonder: Does grey hair bring respect to people more than the ‘grey matter’ in their brains (symbolizing intelligence)?  Do people jump to  a conclusion that a very young  person is immature and that a grey-haired person has more intelligence coming from greater experience.

In Hindi there is a saying , “I have not got this grey hair just from exposure to sun”,  i.e. the grey hair indicates not just age but also experience. Is grey hair, therefore, something to be proud of and exhibited?

Just as grey hair gives some dignity to a person, it may also result in his being looked down upon. In a country where people shout at a stumbling blind man “Are you blind?”, an old man can be ridiculed as a “Buddha” or pitied.

The country does not have a policy for the elderly — only some concessions for senior citizens. Their potential is wasted. In India grey hair is no guarantee of maturity. Yes, experience  does give one knowledge, which may or may not mean wisdom.

Just as pleasure  is not happiness, knowledge should not be confused with wisdom. Or degrees with education.

‘The Last Post’ Origins Lost?

Last PostFOUR   MONTHS AGO, I  POSTED  BOUT  THE ‘nuisance’  of WhatApp forwards  (Forwarded As Received, Feb. 24) being  sent by people without even  verification. So when a friend forwarded a message about the ‘Last Post‘ played by buglers at military funerals, I ‘Googled’  to find out more.

The serious-minded lady associated with social work is specially interested in holding events to pay tributes to martyrs and promote welfare of and respect to the uniformed men who lay down lives for their country.

Her post said the ‘Last Post ‘ played by military bands at funerals of armed forces men  began in 1862 during the American Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia ..

The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.Final salute

When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead..The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier.. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army. Continue reading ‘The Last Post’ Origins Lost?