The Bengal Medical Budget.
On the face of numerous cut motions, the entire demand of Rupees three crores, eighty eight lacs and eighty eight thousands was voted by the Bengal Assembly last March.
Various suggestions were made by the M.L.A.s referring to the insufficiency of medical men and hospitals in the rural area, inefficiency of the doctors in the important hospitals in the Province, inadequacy of money allotted for tackling the problem of tuberculosis, paucity of maternity hospitals in village Unions, corruptions and mismanagements in mufassil hospitals and dispensaries, etc., etc., but it did not strike the imagination and wisdom of any one Member to make even a remote reference to Homoeopathy in the context of relieving the grievous distress of indigent villagers.
Such debates, of course, bear eloquent testimony to the gift of oration which cannot however conceal an orators superficial thinking, shallow observation and half-hearted vindication of a destitute and down-hearted constituency.
It is good to emphasize the need of establishing medical schools in every district of Bengal, but such schools must be modern, i.e., equipped with the most up-to-date accessories in meticulous aping of the western medical method, without lending any thought to what this would cost to people whose means do not provide one full meal a day.
But it must be modern, the alumni of these schools must know the handling of the western instruments of precision and the western methods of clinical examinations and better still the alumnus must thoroughly grow the insurmountable habit of being draped in creaseless tweed suit with a fashionable piece of silk rag round his neck, in the most respectful and faithful imitation of his teachers and professors tailoring.
In these schools no training must be imparted for feeling the patients pulse with a view to discover the pressure of blood or the patients Tridosha; that is all absolute medical method, such methods do not count in the progress of culture, science and civilization! The alumnus must learn to imitate his professor in prescribing the nostrum of a manufacturers latest advertisement in medical and lay journals, without having the faintest idea of the ingredients of advertised nostrum he is led to prescribe by virtue of its latest appearance in the market, and its prohibitive price and its sparse availability in the country.
Howbeit, it is the glamour of State backing that decoy the credulous among our countrymen, and it is only a false idea of dignity that leads a man to accept anything fostered by the ruling class. They have no eye to perceive the determined policy of the power that be to protect and enhance the interests of foreign exporters to India and to the advantage of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. Mr. M.L. Schroff, a member of the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, has recently exposed the extent of influence upon the Government of India in the Department of Health by the foreign group of the medicine manufacturers and shippers.
In a statement to the Press Mr. Schroff says: “This group made the Government of India ignore the unanimous decisions of the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, a statutory body under the Drugs Act, 1940. Further, under the influence of the same group, the Department of Health, unconstitutionally and unethically, incorporated changes in the Drugs Rules, without any reference to the Board and without publication in the Gazette of India. The machinations of the powerful group did not end there.
The latter carried out a vicious propaganda in the U.K. to bring under pressure the Government of India either to postpone the enforcement of the Drugs Act or to make certain changes in the Drugs Rules conducive to the sale of British products in India. The Central Government succumbed to the pressure of this group and issued instructions to the Provincial Governments not to enforce certain sections of the Drugs Act which would adversely affect British interests. This information prematurely leaked out and was publicised also in the presidential address at the 7th. All-India Pharmaceutical Conference held at Delhi.
Seeing the effect foiled, the Department of Health convened a special meeting of the Board in the last week of February last, and withheld all important matters which it wanted to discuss at the meeting from circulating in the agenda. Many members could not attend the meeting, and the Government took undue advantage of this absence.
The Government members were thoroughly briefed for the purpose and the Chairman, who is the Director General of the Indian Medical Service, gave a ruling that the important changes in the rules could not be discussed at the meeting though they were not included in the agenda and as a result of the votes of the ex-officio numbers, who are the employees of the Department of Health, reversed the previous decisions of the Board and changed the Drug Rules to the detriment of national interests”.
We are not inclined to believe that Members of the Legislative Assembly have not heard the word “Homoeopathy.” Probably many of them adopt homoeopathic treatment in their families. They have witnessed the salubrious effect of this system of medicine; its only outstanding defect is that it is inexpensive to a fault, devoid of splendour and heroism.
It is scouted by the graduates of the regular school of medicine without studying its art and science, for which they have neither the brain nor the leisure, for their entire time must be devoted to eke out a pittance to live and to keep up an appearance. But persons who profess to have dedicated themselves to the service of their country and countrymen are expected to be always alert and above influence and example of the fashionable rich.