The death toll from flooding and landslides following heavy monsoon rains in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand is close to 600 at the moment.

More than 40,000 people are still stranded in what the government has described as a “national crisis”.

Officials have admitted a lack of co-ordination in the rescue effort.

Early monsoon rains in India this year are believed to be the heaviest in 60 years.

The rainy season generally lasts from June to September, bringing rain which is critical to farming. This year the rains began early and were heavier than normal. While this means that crops will be better, it also means flooding, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, dengue and chikungunya.

Thousands are still missing in Uttarakhand, many of whom were on pilgrimage. Aid collections have begun with many charities sending supplies and workers down to assist.

SSA May Day Mayhem Blogathon – Karma, Dharma and Dogma

Atheism in the land of a million gods is on the rise.

For all of India’s secularism (like the USA it is entrenched in the constitution), there is a rise of religious fervor in the nation. As India has grown so has it’s superstition. Caste based politics are rife across the nation. Religion based politics are equally rife with various parties drumming up dissent via the time honoured medium of an angry uncontrolled mob to scare people into doing what they want. [Read more…]

Age of Kali – A Thug in Velvet – The Indian Man

Around a decade ago there was a watershed in Indian culture.

We saw a concept come about in India and abroad.

It was called the New Indian Male. The very idea of the New Indian Male was a gentleman. He wore clothes that fit and wasn’t picked out by his mother. He understood fashion. He was gentler, kinder and indeed “more in touch with his feminine side”. His image on the big screen and in populist media was not one of the country boy or poor, but a middle class hero and his actions resonated the most with that demographic. In the minority of India that is Upper Middle Class this may hold true. More men broke gender roles and cooked, cleaned and raised children and this allowed more women to break out of those traditional roles and do non-traditional roles such as working. More men cleaned up themselves and after themselves. But what happened? Why have we shifted out of that? [Read more…]

Age of Kali – Offended!

Last night I posted a piece on “offence”. Basically? A bunch of people got “offended” by the facebook status of one person reposting the statement of another and were sufficiently offended to start a riot. The police responded with typical aplomb and injured people and then promptly arrested everyone including the people who exercised free speech. [Read more…]

The Price of a Big Heart

I got approached by two patients today, they lay on the floor of the hospital. This is not a new thing. People sit on the floor all the time. There isn’t enough seats sometimes and the Indian habit of the lotus position lends itself to sitting on the floor. The young woman pulls herself up and starts crying.

“Doctor! I have no food, I came here to take my mother to the hospital. Just look at her foot! (I look, it’s a diabetic ulcer and it needs to come off). We don’t have enough money for even a cup of coffee (South Indians are bigger fans of coffee).”

The ulcer is nearly 20 cm in length. It’s clear that her foot will need amputation some time soon.

She couldn’t get care for her foot and needed diabetic shoes to help her walk. All of this costed money.

This woman wept and it hurt to see someone like that.

So I gave her my month’s luxury budget so she could buy the things she needed and left feeling my heart grow a size and feeling like I had done something to help. I had also gotten her free treatment for the foot.

Less than 5 steps later I get told by one of the ward attenders that she is a con woman, who tricks the charity doctors into helping her. She is a psychiatry patient from a fairly well off family who pretends to be poor to get money out of people. I didn’t believe him.

Until I saw her pull off the same stunt in a ward.

Sigh. Such is the price of having a heart…