Mr Prime Minister, I was absolutely astonished by the way the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has treated The Argumentative Indian, a documentary on Amartya Sen by economist Suman Ghosh.
It’s an innocuous film, beautifully crafted.
Prof Sen in an interview said it was not so much the word ‘cow’, the fact that “I raised my eyebrows and complained whether in a country as multi-religious as India, whether cow slaughter could be banned, on which the lives of so many people depend.”
He also said “It’s not the use of the word ‘Gujarat’ that they didn’t like, but my reference to what happened in 2002 in Gujarat that they don’t like.”
The Censor diktat has raised a question: Is this the way the democracy is being interpreted now?
My destination: A medical camp at Sri Ramakrishna Sevashram in Dakshin Akhratala village in North 24 Parganas. Rivers Bidyadhari and Betuni meet here, about 70km from Kolkata.
Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Narendrapur conducts the medical camp on third Sunday every month.
I got into the Innova along with my friend Satyaki Pal (he’s been teaching English in Narendrapur RK Mission College since 1983) near Jadavpur police station around 8.45am last Sunday (July 16). Our next stop was SSKM Hospital where we had to pick up three doctors– Dr Anisha Rathore, Dr Akhansha Mishra and Dr Varsha Saboo– who volunteered for the medical camp.
As I was riding pillion, Anup kept telling me how mobile phones, especially smartphones, have changed the lives of rural folks. “TVs and cell phones have brought about a bewildering array of changes in values and aspirations of the villagers,” he said.
I was reminded of Tagore’s speech titled Robbery of the soil, which he had delivered at Calcutta University in 1922. “Villages are nearer to nature than towns and therefore in closer touch with the fountain of life. They have the atmosphere which possesses a natural power of healing. It is the function of the village to provide people with their elemental needs, with food and joy, with the simple poetry of life and with those ceremonies of beauty which the village spontaneously produces and in which she finds delight.”
As the Aranyak Express screeched to a halt at Garhbeta station around 11 in the morning, I was amazed by the quiet and serene surrounding of the station. Unlike any suburban station that we are familiar with, there was no crowd’s jostling on the platform and no scramble for seats as those waiting got into the train without any fuss. The May sun was unusually expansive and the heat and humidity wasn’t intolerable. What struck me particularly was the absence of din and bustle at the station. And I was lapping up every moment.
My destination: Prof H.S. Paul Memorial School about five km from the station.
Feluda Exhibition (April 30 to May 4) at the Bengal Art Gallery, ICCR, Kolkata to mark 50 years of Feluda, is a must-see exhibition not only for Ray aficionados but also for every individual who isn’t aware of myriad-minded Satyajit Ray.
Organised by the Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives, the exhibition brings to the fore the man who’s the only director in the world who apart from film-making is an incredible writer and an outstanding illustrator. He was a bestselling writer of novels and short stories, and possibly the only Indian filmmaker who wrote prolifically on cinema.
The robust enthusiasm with which the Clinical Establishments Bill, 2017 was passed by the West Bengal government on March 17 should not be allowed to flag. The Bill aims at bringing transparency, ending harassment of patients and checking medical negligence in private hospitals and nursing homes. There is no gainsaying about the CM’s well-intentioned initiative. But, what causes concern is that two probe committees have submitted their reports about a month ago. But the public is still in the dark about the details of reports.
Transparency is critical for efficiency in the healthcare sector and for patients.
KPMG, a global consultancy firm, in a recent study has found that India is second from bottom, only above China, in healthcare transparency. The global firm has surveyed the healthcare sector in 32 countries on transparency using six measures (quality of healthcare, patients’ experience, finance (price and payments), governance, personal healthcare data and communication of healthcare data).