HANGING IN THE BALANCE


On the contrary, the activities or inactivities of the holy Committee of Sixteen that come into existence to take the antenatal care of the Homoeopathic Medical Faculty were strictly kept beyond the unholy knowledge of the public; even to this day none of the individual members of that Committee of Sixteen has come out with a public statement, apparently for being not permitted to do so.


The events and halts marking the progress of the Homoeopathic Medical Faculty of Bengal are etching a chequered career for it. As far back as in the year 1937, Mr. P. Banerji, M.L.A., introduced the Bill in the Bengal Legislative Assembly. Hopes rose uppermost in the hearts of the Homoeopathic Medical practitioners of Bengal that it would be enacted without much dalliance. The Assembly was prorogued on April 8, 1938, without fulfiling those expectations.

Meanwhile the Corporation of Calcutta, to whom reference was made by the Government for opinion, approved of the Bill by a resolution dated March 23, 1938. Now, after a period of lull and quite Mr. Banerji moved in the Bengal Legislative Assembly for referring the Bengal Homoeopathic Medical Faculty Bill, 1937, to a select committee; and on August 23, 1938, the Honble Mr. H.S.Suhrawardy, the then Minister of Health, asking the mover to withdraw his motion, declared that the Government proposed to establish by an administrative order of Homoeopathic Faculty.

This heavenly proposal, however, never materialised and we wonder if the mighty medical trade union intrigued to raise an obstacle in the way, too impregnable for the benign Ministry. The portfolios of the Cabinet were in the meantime shuffled and the Honble Mr. Tamizuddin khan took over the Medical and public Health Department.

We forthwith referred to the declaration made by his predecessor for the promulgation of the Faculty by an administrative order, and hoped that this most precious benediction will be his first gift to the province on his assumption of the Public health and Medical portfolio. We failed to break the ice, and Bengals Homoeopathy had only to bear the deadly chilliness of reticence.

Then dawned the vivacious and blissful 9th day of February 1939 when the Honble Mr. Tamizuddin Khan informed the BEngal Legislative Assembly that a General Council of State Faculty of Ayurvedic Medicine has been established with a view to regularising practice and teaching and to the furtherance of the system of treatment, and that a similar General Council and Faculty is proposed to be established for the Unani system of treatment. Homoeopathy stood ostracized!.

In early March 1939, on the occasion of the Budget discussion, the Honble Minister, in reply to Mr. P. Banerji, M.L.A., informed the House that the Government had decided to established a Faculty of unani system of Medicine and very soon a conference would be convened for the purpose of settling the statute for the proposed Faculty; and as soon as this was done the Faculty of Unani system of Medicine would be established, and a similar conference would be convened also to consider the question of Homoeopathy.

On July 11, 1939, the Committee appointed by the Government of Bengal to consider the draft statutes for the proposed General Council and State Faculty of Unani Medicine, met at Writers Buildings and discussed the draft statutes and the members of the Committee registered donations as well.

On the contrary, the activities or inactivities of the holy Committee of Sixteen that come into existence to take the antenatal care of the Homoeopathic Medical Faculty were strictly kept beyond the unholy knowledge of the public; even to this day none of the individual members of that Committee of Sixteen has come out with a public statement, apparently for being not permitted to do so. And thus closed the year 1939.

With hopes, founded on a strong interest in believing, Bengals Homoeopathy religiously welcomed the year 1940. And when above its utmost hopes, the Honble Nawab Bahadur of Dhacca announced on March 14, that a Homoeopathic Faculty was going to be established very soon, and that a large sun of money had been collected and the Faculty was going to be established within a few weeks, the province verily went into ecstasy. The medical trade union may try to explain it away as an unintentional pronouncement uttered at an unguarded moment, and may cite the Honble Mr. Suhrawardys proposal for an administrative order as precedent.

But we intuitively feel that the Ministry mean business this time and will not allow any unscientific and savage opposition, which Homoeopathy has long been uncountering, to have an upper hand with its superstition and prejudice. Many a few weeks have passed away since the memorable 14th March, and the kindling anxiety of Bengals homoeopathic practitioners now threatens to take insupportable proportions. Plain negation would have been more bearable than this blinking suspense.

“Bone-setters make fortune under the very noses of our greatest surgeons from educated and wealthy patients; and some of the most successful doctors on the register use quite heretical methods of treating disease, and have qualified themselves solely for convenience”.

N C Bose