John Brinkley, Diabetes and Quacks

John Brinkley was an American doctor who claimed to have found cure for impotency. John didn’t have any medical degree and he was a quack. His came up with innovative idea of using testicles of goat to cure impotency in humans. In 1918 he started a 16 room clinic to treat his patients. Since these testicles were treated as foreign objects by patient’s immune system, many suffered from infections and some died.

He placed advertisement in newspaper which had photograph of him with a baby boy, which he claimed was delivered by woman whom he had treated with goat gland surgery. He even started his radio station to give publicity to his goat gland treatment.

He managed to get lot of patients and earned thousands of dollars ( millions at today’s rate) and became a rich man. He lost all his money when he was sued for malpractice.

A film was made on him called Nuts!

India too has its share of quacks- the Bengali babas, roadside quacks, compounders and nurses who start their own clinics and claim to be doctors. These people manage to get lot of patients in India as they charge less and are accessible to people whom medical practitioners do not treat ( esp. in rural areas where no medical practitioner wants to go).

One alternative suggested is to give training to quacks so that they can treat a person at first level ex. Barefoot doctors of China ( they were farmers who received minimal basic medical and paramedical training and worked in rural villages in China) , Heilpraktiker in Germany or Feldsher in Russia.

With 82 million of the world’s 425 million diabetics, India is the second largest hub of the disease globally. It will soon take form of epidemic. India needs a team of trained medical professionals who can help these people, else they will be forced to go to quacks.



Domestic Violence, Adapted Child and Learned Helplessness

“I remember the first time I left  home was in 1973. I had made a half boiled egg for him and he was in a hurry to go to work. I brought the breakfast and gave it to him. To my ill luck, in the first spoonful he took, there was a bit of shell. He spat it  out  on  my  face  and  gave  me  such  a hard slap that my lip was cut. Then he beat me very badly, saying: “Haven’t you even learnt to make a halfboiled egg ?”

-Rinki Bhattacharya in magazine Manushi

Mallika Amar Sheikh, daughter of Shahir Amar Sheikh, fell in love with poet Namdev Dhasal. She married Namdev Dhasal. In her autobiography “I want to destroy myself” she talk about suffering domestic violence.  But she never left her husband and helped him when he was seriously ill.

“Aai was truly frightened of him. And this angered me too. We had severe fights and I could see that these tormented both of us but I never stopped hurting him. I wanted to take revenge on him, revenge for all that he had done.”

-Mallika Amar Sheikh in her autobiography

Rinki Bhattacharya was daughter of famous film maker Bimal Roy. She fell in love with film director Basu Bhattacharya and married him. She suffered domestic violence for 18 years and finally left Basu. She has edited a book on domestic violence-  Behind Closed Doors

“He would imagine that I was disobeying  him  or  slighting  him, Sometimes,  a  verbal  exchange  would build up and end in a beating”

-Rinki Bhattacharya in magazine Manushi

Famous actress Zeenat Aman was beaten up by her lover Sanjay Khan. She married Mazhar Khan and suffered domestic violence, if this was not bad enough, she was beaten by her own son.

Zeenat Aman was financially independent person yet she suffered domestic violence.

It is difficult to understand why women who are either from financially well off families or are financially independent tolerate domestic violence.

Possible explanations could found in research done by Eric Berne and Martin Seligman.

Martin Seligman talks about learned helplessness- where are person simply gives up hope of escaping from adverse conditions even when situation becomes favourable and person has chance to escape.

Eric Berne talks about critical parent state, where a person ( husband) is critical about behaviour of other person ( wife) and keeps criticizing her. Then there is adapted child state- where person tries to fit herself in given situation, the abused wives are in this state.

The transaction between critical parent and adapted child is You are OK, I am not OK.

This combination of learned helplessness and adapted child state result in women suffering domestic violence for long period of time and make no efforts to get out of situation as fast as possible.


Varlık Vergisi, Yılmaz Karakoyunlu,Tomris Giritlioğlu

Two events had significant impact on minorities in Turkey – one was introduction of Wealth Tax ( as called Varlik Vergisi) in 1942 and second was Istanbul Pogrom of 1955.

Turkish novelist Yılmaz Karakoyunlu has covered these events in his novels Salkım Hanımın Taneleri ( which won Yunus Nadi Novel Prize) and Güz Sancısi which also won prize.

Varlik Vergisi was tax levied on citizens of Turkey to collect money to fund entry of Turkey in Second World War ( something that did not happen). Though tax was to be imposed on all citizens, in reality it was minorities like Armenians, Greeks, Jews who were heavily tax. The tax ruined many minorities who had to sell their possessions to pay tax, their property was purchased by Turkish Muslims at cheap rate.

In case of non-payment punishment for minorities was harsh, while lighter punishments were given to Turkish Muslims.

Yilmaz wrote about plight of minorities in his novel Salkım Hanımın Taneleri ( Mrs. Salkim’s Diamonds), it is story of Halit Bey, his non-Muslim wife Nora, her brother Levon and how they suffer because of this tax. How a Muslim called Durmus takes advantage of situation and acquires their property.

Later film maker Tomris Giritlioğlu made film on this novel.

Tomris and Yilmaz again came together to make film on his other novel Guz Sancisi ( Pains of Autumn) which is about a Turkish Greek prostitute called Elena and her lover Behcet who is law research student in law. The riots of September 1955 which were directed against minorities esp. Greeks result in Elena getting killed.

Kuldeep Nayar and Indian Media in 1948, 1984 and 2002

Three events had deep impact on history of India- assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and riots in Gujarat in 2002.

It is interesting to see how Indian press reacted to violation of human rights and how things have  changed over a period of time. I feel Kuldeep Nayar personified Indian media.

In 1948, Congress leader Mahatma Gandhi was killed by Nathuram Godse. Nathuram Godse was Brahmin from Pune city in then Bombay Province. Killing of Gandhi by Brahmin resulted in riots in which Marathas took active part in killing Brahmins, raping women and burning their houses esp. in cities of Pune, Satara and Kolhapur. Hardly any action was taken against rioters and not much was reported in Indian newspapers. Indian press was more interested in reporting how upset Nehru and Patel were, than reporting of human rights violation of Brahmins of Maharashtra.

Kuldeep Nayar writes in details on how RSS planned assassination, how incompetent police department was under Patel, but no mention of human rights violation.

“The father of the nation was killed but nobody was taken to task, nor held accountable. Home Minister Sardar Patel offered to resign, as anyone in his place would have done. But there was no commission of inquiry. Patel withdrew his resignation as soon as Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru asked him to continue. The ban on the RSS was even lifted…

There is no doubt that the law and order machinery bungled. But it is strange that no police officer has left a plausible account of the events leading to the assassination. It is true that a few Hindu extremists were arrested. Yet I believe that the plot was larger, involving scores of people.”

-Kuldeep Nayar

We are not even aware of how many people were killed and what action was taken by Nehru, Patel and Kher ( Chief Minister of Bombay) and if at all any action was taken against rioters, whose leaders were members of ruling Congress party. Only newspapers in US talk about deaths due to riots.

In 1984, a Congress leader and prime minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguard. This resulted in riots in which hundreds of Sikhs were killed.

Things were bit different now. Nayar and his friends in Indian media recognised that killing of Sikhs was a human rights violation and entire community should not be punished for action of one person. Even in this case some leaders of Congress Party had instigated and actively participated in riots. But Nayar, a Congress loyalist, gathered courage to say that injustice was done to Sikhs and rioters should be punished.

Ruling Congress party did not take any action against leaders who encouraged riots but for a change focus was also on victims of riots not just on how Indira Gandhi was killed.

“During the sad happenings of Operation Bluestar and Sikhs massacre in November 1984, I joined prominent citizens like Inder Kumar Gujral, Air Marshal Arjan Singh, General Jagjit Singh and Justice Rajinder Sachar to raise voice against the excesses committed on Sikh community.“

-Kuldeep Nayar

In 2002, there were riots in Gujarat, this time hundreds of Muslims were killed. Nayar and his friends now had matured, they did not spend time on analysing why riots took place but instead focused on victims of riots. Some leaders were arrested and Nayar demanded justice for victims. Not that victims of Gujarat riots have got justice but atleast Nayars of Indian media have matured.

“Modi converted Gujarat into killing fields. He blackened the face of every Hindu …More and more gruesome details are going to come out every day. A book, A Journey to Mayhem, written by a journalist who covered Gujarat during the riots, has hit the stands to tell how a distinct pattern of ethnic cleansing was followed in the state”

-Kuldeep Nayar

Uyghur, Radil Abla, Rebiya Kadeer

Uyghurs are Turkic people found in countries of Central Asia, but majority of them live in Xinjiang Province of China.

Bring a Turkic ethic group, they consider themselves different from Han Chinese. Many are now demanding independence from China. China is not ready to give independence, it wants Uyghurs to think and behave like Chinese.

One of the key separatist leader is Rebiya Kadeer.

Don’t push the Uighurs to the edge and create a situation to radicalize the Uighurs, to push the Uighurs to a degree that then there will be violence.

– Rebiya Kadeer

Rebiya, a successful entrepreneur was once one of the richest lady of China. She started trading company called Akida Industry and Trade Company, and owned trading centres like Akida Trade Centre and Kadeer Trade Centre. She was active supporter of Chinese Communist Party. Gradually she became supporter of Uyghur nationalism. She left China and started separatist movement from overseas.

“I placed my hope in Arman to bring a better life for my family when I first set out in the private sector…And I still place my hope in Arman to bring a better life for more people – especially ethnic people from poverty-stricken areas.”

-Radil Abla

Another Uyghur who left his secure job to became entrepreneur is Radil Abla. Radil Abla started company called Arman Muslim Foods which sells halal meat and meat products through its food stores. Since most of the Uyghurs are Muslims, they prefer to eat halal meat. His company became very popular for its products and is growing rapidly.

“I hope by that time, when people mention halal food, they immediately think of Arman,”

-Radil Abla


Abla wants to expand his business in other parts of China and to other central Asian countries. He considers himself Chinese and sees future in China. He also sees growth as Uyghur cuisine is becoming popular. Dishes like Polu (similar to Pulav/Biryani), Samsa ( similar to Samosa, but has meat has filling instead of potatoes), Kawap ( Kababs), Leghmen ( a noddle dish) and Nut cake ( similar to Chikki) are becoming popular and this means great business for halal meat.

Within five years, Radil Abla envisages 20 central kitchens and 10,000 franchise outlets across the country.

“I discovered that supermarkets rarely carried halal food, and realized the market potential. It was then I decided to focus my business on halal foods. From there, I began to open factories. And before I knew it, my business was expanding and prospering like never before.”

-Radil Abla