TRUMP UNHAPPY WITH MODI HUG!

UNQUALIFIED: Most of the resident doctors even in the most expensive private hospitals are not qualified to practice allopathic medicine as they only have degrees in homeopathy or Ayurveda

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when I was trying to understand what the expression post truth meant. For a Saturday following the week when Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar attacked the Election Commission for the poor results of the BJP in the 2017 elections. For a Saturday following the week when Manohar Parrikar left for one week trip to the United states without appointing any deputy or acting chief minister to look after Goa in his absence. For a Saturday following the week when Modi’s habit of giving leaders of European countries and the United States jaadu ki jhappi (hugs) made them feel very uncomfortable. For a Saturday following the week when the worst kept secret about unqualified doctors in private hospitals were exposed.

POST TRUTH

AND a few stray thoughts on the controversy over post truth. Historically there have been lies and truth. A lie meant that a particular statement whether spoken or written was false. Truth meant that the statement was true. If a child is born, the truth is that one more little human being has been added to the population. If somebody in the family dies, the person is considered dead when all his vital organs don’t work. There is nothing like half born or half dead. Those who are using the expression post truth are referring to the increasing tendency to pass off fake news as true.

This is particularly true of social media which is being systematically used by the Sangh Parivar to promote enmity between communities and against individuals opposed to the government. If bhakts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Seva Sangh (RSS), or even zealous supporters of the Caranzalem parish priest want to take revenge against the Goan Observer, all that they have to do is to post a message claiming that Rajan Narayan has stocked beef in his fridge. It does not matter that all of my friends and indeed many hotels and restaurants know that Rajan Narayan is a vegetarian. Because in the world of post truth, lies are truth. Post-truth appeals to emotion disconnected from factual details, by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.

MAULANA POST

THERE was a convention of Hindu fundamental organisations in Goa at the Ramnathi temple, organised by Hindu Janjagrathi at which the so called Sadhvi Saraswati insisted that all those who eat beef should be hung. This news was true because there were reporters and television channels covering the events. Everyone in Goa reacted angrily except for the chief minister, Manohar Parrikar.

But to give you an example of post truth which is nothing but mischief, a well known writer who is very active on Facebook posted that there was a similar meeting of all the important maulanas from all over the country at the Verna Madrasa in Goa. The dishonourable gentleman, if he can be called that, insisted that the maulanas had demanded the strict implementation of the Sharia Islamic law in Goa and the country. The Sharia law is a fundamental fanatic interpretation of the Quran which celebrates the suppression of women to the extent of believing they should not be educated. The Nobel Prize winner 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot by Islamic fundamentalists because she was fighting for a basic right, the right of all Muslim girls to go to school. The fanatic version of the Sharia is the logic of the Islamic State (IS) which is carrying on a jihad against all non-believers.

The problem with the post on Facebook was that it was fake. The meeting never took place. No statement was issue by any maulana in Goa that the Sharia should be enforced in the state. In fact the author of the post knows that it is the Uniform Civil Code that is supreme in Goa. Even Catholic marriages and divorces are not recognised without the accompanying civil procedures, let alone the Triple Talaq by sms. In Goa everyone has to get civilly married and the only divorces recognised are those granted by the court. Not by the Church court or the maulana court but by the judiciary. The person who posted the mischievous message on an imaginary meeting of the maulavis knew that his post was fake.

When I challenged his post and posted that the news or views posted by him were fake, he admitted that his post was fake but claimed that he was just being satirical. How would the ordinary person, who is not as bright as the mischief maker, know that it is a false post? Worse still, even knowing that the post is false, the communal minded can take advantage of it and share it or spread it to create enmity.

In organised media, by which I mean newspapers and magazine and television channels registered with the concerned authorities in the national capital, there is a simple rule to decide whether a claim is true or false. Whether a news item is true or fake. The rule is that every news item, however small, should answer the questions where, what, whom and when. Which means that if somebody makes a posting or the statement about a meeting of the maulanas he should tell us who the maulanas were, where they met, what statement they made and when they made the statement.

Any post on Facebook which cannot answer this question should be automatically considered fake news. Or as they say in the vernacular every news item should have a father and a mother — it should not be a child without any parents.

Unfortunately even in registered media like prestigious newspapers and TV channels it is becoming difficult to make out what is true and what is false. The worst example is the new news channel Republic started by Arnab Goswami who was thrown out of the Times of India. For Arnab, any statement made by the Sangh Parivar is truth, while any counter statements are false. But even Times TV is guilty of trying to mislead people by carrying news about a so-called sting which was five years old.

Then of course there is paid news which was started by the Times of India group. If you are willing to pay the price, you can get any news item published even on the front page of several newspapers of the country. For instance, as respectable a paper as the Economic Times carried an article on a homeopath though a Nobel prize winning a chemist has said that homeopathy is fake. We in the Goan Observer pride ourselves on having never carried fake news.

PARRIKAR BLAMES CEO

AND a few stray thoughts on Manohar Parrikar targeting the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Goa for the poor performance of the BJP in the 2017 election. Since Parrikar could not find any evidence of the CEO rigging the election or committing any malpractice, he has questioned the expenses incurred by the Election Commission. Parrikar whose party got only 13 seats in 2017 against 21 seats in the 2012 elections has been claiming that the CEO wasted money on getting young voters to enrol and come out to vote. This was following a survey which showed that the majority of young people between the age of 18 and 21 had not registered themselves. Moreover it is well known that most educated young people like to enjoy the polling day as a holiday instead of wasting their time standing in a long queue to cast their vote. The CEO had even appointed the famous Goan singer Hema Sardesai as the brand ambassador to encourage young people to register and vote.

The charges made by the frustrated chief minister are strange because it is the ruling party which was guilty of trying to cheat in the election. There were charges that Parrikar himself had misused his position as the defence minister of the country by enrolling all members of the army regiments located in Goa and directing them to vote for the BJP. Since the defence forces have a big presence in many constituencies including Panjim, Navelim, Quepem and Mormugoa this was a strong possibility. We are not claiming that it is the truth. Because there is no evidence that the enrolment of soldiers helped the BJP in a significant manner as the GPCC President who made the complaint got elected from Navelim which has the large Army unit.

There were also claims that Pandurang Madkaikar, the former Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party MLA who stood on the BJP ticket, had distributed `20 lakhs worth of coupons from the State Consumer Federation which run all the sahakari bhandars. Significantly the chairman of the Consumer Foundation is Narendra Savoikkar, the BJP Member of Parliament from South Goa.

It is obviously the case of grapes being sour. The truth is that despite Laxmikant Parsekar being the chief minister and Parrikar abandoning his responsibility as defence minister to campaign for the party in Goa, the BJP could get only 13 seats. The Congress, which according to the BJP was going to be wiped out, got 17 seats. The BJP lost because though seven Catholic MLAs won on the BJP tickets the people of South Goa voted against the BJP. The BJP lost also because of the split in the RSS over the medium of instruction issue.

CONTROL ISSUES

AND a few stray thoughts on Manohar Parrikar deciding to take a holiday in the United States without appointing a caretaker chief minister. Parrikar is claiming that he had been invited by the Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal to take part in a convention in Chicago, the stronghold of former President Obama when he was the defence minister. According to Parrikar the organisers still want him to give the key note address on the second day of the conference organised by Indians of Marathi and Kananda origin. This is strange since Parrikar is not going to participate in a meeting of people of Goan origin in the US, but people from Maharashtra and Karnataka. When he was defence minister, Parrikar used to frequently visit the US. Now that he is only chief minister of Goa he has no excuse or opportunity to visit the US. In his earlier tenure as chief minister Parrikar used to make several visits to the US because his sons were studying there.

We suspect that his latest visit is for health reasons. Unlike in the US and the United Kingdom, in India we do not worry about the health of our political bosses. In the US if the president has to go to hospital for surgery even for the few hours he hands over the charge to the vice president. This is because when the president is unconscious because of anaesthesia during the surgery, somebody has to take decisions in case of a nuclear attack or a major emergency. They say if the prime minister of the UK even gets a cold, the whole country sneezes and the health is closely monitored. In India we do not know anything about the health about our president or prime minister or in the case of Goa our own chief minister, Manohar Parrikar.

I understand that Manohar Parrikar has respiratory problems because unlike me he continues to smoke and chew tobacco. Parrikar is also paying the price for being very fond of sweet and has acute diabetes. I believe his blood sugar is over 300 and he is on insulin. I was shocked when I saw him at a recent function. Parrikar is probably going to the States for a medical check up.

All of us understand that like the aam aadmi, chief ministers and even Congress presidents like Sonia Gandhi can have medical problems. There is no shame in admitting it. The BJP which has very often criticized the Congress for not letting the public know the health of Sonia Gandhi is now making a secret of their problems.

The reason why Parrikar is not appointing or deputing a second-in-command is because there will be a fight among his coalition partners if he does so. If he appoints Sudin Dhavalikar as the acting chief minister it will be objected to by Vijai Sardesai. In the past when Francis D’souza was the deputy chief minister there was no problem as he automatically acted as chief minister in Parrikar’s absence.

Parrikar is probably scared that if he asks Vijai to act as chief minister he may refuse to leave the kodel when Parrikar returns. Parrikar’s reaction when asked who will look after the state during his absence for his week was that in the age of the internet and the smart phone he can keep watch on what is happening in Goa from anywhere in the world.

No Hugs Please!

AND a few stray thoughts on why international leaders like Donald Trump and the Chinese and the Russian president are not happy with Narendra Modi’s jaadu ki jhappi. It is possible that Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Putin have not watched Munna Bhai MBBS and therefore do not know the magic of the hug.

There is a more important aspect to the tendency of Narendra Modi to hug everybody he meets. A psychologist would probably interpret it as deprivation of love when he was a child. The truth is that Modi does not realise or understand that there is no tradition of people of the same sex, particularly males, hugging each other in the west unless they are partners, official or unofficial. Indeed even holding the hands of a person of a same sex and walking in public is seen as a sign that the two people may be gay. I remember when I reached out to hold the hand of an old colleague in London, he took his hand away saying that people will think that we are gay.

You only have to see the faces of Trump, Putin and other leaders when Modi hugs them. In the case of Trump, Modi must have hugged him half-a-dozen times. Even Trump’s wife Melania does not hug him as many times as Modi did during his recent trip to the US. In fact Melania Trump, the wife of the US president, does not approve of his crude manners.

The image of the First Lady refusing to take his hand when he extended it to her when they were on a foreign visit went viral. Modi may be better off if he just said namaste to foreign leaders. If he tries to hug the German chancellor or the British prime minister, both women, he may be accused of molestation.

‘QUACK’ Doctors

AND a last stray thought for yet another Saturday. Everyone knows that the resident doctors in even the most expensive private hospital in Goa are not qualified to practise allopathic medicine.

Though the Goa Medical College (GMC) produces 150 MBBS graduates every year, most of them leave the state for post graduation or set up their own  practice.

None of them want to join private hospitals like Manipal as the salary offered is less than that of the nurse in the GMC. It is only the GMC which pays its resident doctors a minimum salary of `50,000 a month.

This is why the majority of the resident doctors in private hospitals in Goa are either homeopathy or Ayurveda graduates. They are legally not allowed to function as junior resident doctors as cross practice is not allowed by the Medical Council of India.

Part of the problem is that none of the private hospitals in Goa are big enough to offer post graduate courses. Medical graduates will only join private hospitals where they can specialise.

So going to a private hospital in Goa may be dangerous to your health, as in any hospital your health depends not only on a consultant who will see you for a few minutes or seconds but on the resident doctors who are responsible for your treatment.

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