Editorial – Struggle For The Recognition Of Homoeopathy

The Committee was of the view that utilisation of homoeopathic graduates, who have completed training for degree course, should be considered for employment in health services. However, those who have received training only of diploma course in recognised institutions, may be considered for employment only after they have had further training for one year in clinical subjects and in preventive medicines.

In April 1937, during the British regime, the wide popularity of the Homoeopathic system of treatment and the growing public demand for the state recognition of Homoeopathy induced Janab Ghiasud-din to move a resolution in the then Central Legislative Assembly to that effect, which was adopted but effect thereto had not been given. But this had its repercussion in Bengal and the public demand for a legislative enactment of a Homoeopathic Bill led the Govt. of Bengal in the Department of Public Health and Local Self Govt. (Medical) to adopt a Resolution (No. 1866 Medl dated 24th June, 1941) as a result of which the General Council and State Faculty of Homoeopathic medicine, Bengal (now West Bengal) was ushered into existence on the 1st April 1943.

Afterwards on the 17th. February 1948 Sri Satish Chandra Samanta (M.P. from Bengal, General constituency) moved a resolution for consideration in the Constituent Assembly to the following effect:

“This Assembly of opinion that homoeopathic system of treatment be recognised by the Indian Union and that a General Council and a State faculty of Homoeopathic medicine be established at once.”

With reference to Sri Samantas resolution an amending resolution was brought forward by Sri Mohanlal Saxena in the following terms:

In view of the fact that treatment by the system of homoeopathy is resorted to by many people, this Assembly is of opinion that the Government should consider (a) The making of arrangements for the teaching of homoeopathy. (b) The advisability of having post graduate course of study; and (c) The advisability of regulating the profession and arranging for the registration of practitioners in order to raise and maintain the uniformity of standards.”

The Honble Rajkumari Amrita Kaur, Minister of Health, intervened at this stage and opined that if “recognition” was intended to facilitate legislation for purposes of regulating the practice under the system and registration of practitioners, then the matter would have to be very carefully considered and a Committee might be appointed for the purpose.

Accordingly a Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee of member under the Chairmanship of Dr. J.N. Mukherji, D sc., F,N.I., F.R.A.S.B. etc., was constituted by order of the Ministry of Health, Govt. of India, on the 31st. August 1948 with the following terms of reference:

(1) To report on the place of homoeopathy to relation to medicine in all its aspects including the treatment, prevention and control of disease; (2) to survey the existing facilities for the teaching of Homoeopathy in India, the extent to which this system of treatment is practised in the country, and the manner in which such practice is carried on, i.e. whether by people adequately trained or not; and

(3) to make recommendations to Government on

(a) the measures to be taken to improve facilities for training in homoeopathy and to regulate such training; and

(b) the desirability of state control of the practice of homoeopathy, and if control is desirable, the manner of such control.

The Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee submitted their unanimous report to the Ministry of Health on the 11th. July 1949. Subject to a separate note by one allopathic member of the Committee. The Committees recommendations, in the main, are as follows:

(1) A Council of Homoeopathic Medicine shall be established by law and called the Central Council of Homoeopathic Medicine, India.

(2) The functions of this Council shall be mainly of a co- ordinating and advisory nature, but the Council will have powers to control which will be exercised through the provincial Boards or Faculties in the following matters:-

(i) Standard, equipment and training of affiliated homoeopathic institutions:

(ii) Standard of examinations to be held for homoeopathic students:

(iii) Registration of existing homoeopathic practitioners;

(iv) Homoeopathic pharmacies, phamaceutical laboratories and manufacturing concerns.

(3) Provincial State Boards or Faculties as may be set up by Government of State Unions or Provinces will be responsible for the maintenance of register, for the actual conducting of examinations, publishing of results and enforcement of disciplinary action, subject to the supervisory authority of the Council.

(4) A central model teaching institution should be established for the training of under-graduates and of post-graduates in Homoeopathy.

(5) With regard to training in Homoeopathy it was recommended that there should be a single course of training, namely the University (Degree) course and the minimum qualification for admission to the course should be the same as laid down by the Indian Universities in respect of the regular system of medicine. The College course should be of the same standard as laid down by the Indian Universities and the duration of the course should be five academic years.

(a) Four homoeopathic members of the Committee consider that there should be a Diploma Course of four years in addition to the University course.

(b) Five homoeopathic members consider that homoeopathic subjects should be taught from the very first year while the other thinks that it should be taught from the second year. It is recommended that the homoeopathic subjects should be taught from the very first year.

(6) Provision of facilities in recognised institutions for Homoeopathic Researches.

(7) Adequate number of homoeopathic hospitals and dispensaries under the charge of homoeopathic doctors possessing prescribed qualifications should be established. Pharmacies and organisations concerned with the preparation and manufacture of homoeopathic drugs in India should be placed on a proper footing and government should assume the authority to intervene in cases of lowering down of standards, adulteration of drugs, bad dispensing etc.

(8) Govt. should provide facilities for training in homoeopathy in order to give Homoeopathy a chance to evolve its own genius.

(9) It is recommended that effect may be given to the above recommendations as early as possible.

The Homoeopathic profession waited for the reaction of the Central Government to the Report of the Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee. In the event of the Ministry of Health keeping silent over the matter, a deputation of representatives of the All India Institute of Homoeopathy waited upon the Honble Rajkumari Amrita Kaur on 11-4-50 and arising out of the discussions a memorandum was submitted to her.

The important item in the said memorandum was the acceptance by the deputationists of the proposal that the preclinical portions of the teaching of Homoeopathy (Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology) should for an inferior period be conducted in Allopathic institutions, with certain provisions and safeguards. But the clinical portion should be taught in separate Homoeopathic institutions. This memorandum was subsequently ratified by the General Council State Faculty of Homoeopathic Medicine, West Bengal.

In the meantime the Health Ministers Conference under the Chairmanship of the Honble Rajkumari kaur (Minister for Health Govt. of India) was being periodically held; and in the third Health Minister Conference held at New Delhi (Aug. Sept. 1950) accepted the recommendations of the Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee with slight modifications. But the Ministry of Health postponed the consideration of the Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee Report as well as of the resolutions and recommendation of the Third Health Ministers Conference with regard to Homoeopathy, till it received the opinion of the Medical Council of India.

The Medical Council of India took long to treat and discuss the matter. In its meeting held on the 19th and the 20th April 1952 resolutions were passed that (1) there should be “only one system of medicine in India, namely the modern system, with a minimum uniform standard as prescribed by the Council”; and (2) that the study of indigenous systems and of homoeopathy should, therefore, be promoted only at post-graduate course of training after the intending practitioner has obtained basic qualifications in modern medicine as in the case in respect of homoeopathy in the United Kingdom, Europe and America.

It is evident that the opinion of the Medical Council of India is virtually a confirmation of the discussion notes of the two allopathic members of the Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee.

Soon after the publication of the resolutions of the M.C.I., the Homoeopathic State faculty of West Bengal took up the matter and in one of its general council meeting the whole subject was discussed thread-bare and certain resolutions were passed condemning the decision of the M.C.I., and exposing the fallacies and absurdities implicit in their resolutions.

The General council of the Homoeopathic State faculty, also passed a resolution to publish a brochure giving the details of the present status of Homoeopathy vis-a-vis the Central and Provincial Governments of India, the main recommendations of the H.E.C. Report, the publication of the M.C.I. resolution passed in their general council meeting as published in the news press, and the resolutions passed by the Third Health Ministers Conference and the resolution passed by the General Council of the Homoeopathic State faculty, West Bengal at its meeting held on 1-5-52. The proposed brochure was published by the Registrar, Homoeopathic State faculty, W.B. and was circulated amongst the members of the Parliament, State Legislatures and the General Public.

The Homoeopathic State faculty, W.B. sent a body of deputationists to wait on the Health Minister, Govt. of India on 17-6-52 to have a frank discussion regarding the situation created by the passing of such a resolution by M.C.I. and also very anomalous impasse created by the Govt. of West Bengal by not accepting the certificates issued by the Homoeopathic practitioners holding the “D.M.S.” diploma granted by the General Council and State faculty of Homoeopathic medicine, West Bengal.

The Health Minister promised to look into the matter of rights and privileges to be enjoyed by other qualified Homoeopathic practitioners; and asked the Director-General of Health Services to form a small committee to which she wanted our co-operation to device ways and means to evolve a scheme of teaching Homoeopathy in an under-graduate course wherein the students will have the fullest scope of learning the principle and practice of Homoeopathy as well as of acquiring the fundamental knowledge in the ancillary sciences satellite to Medicine and considered to be indispensable in the make-up of a complete physician.

The general impression that was gathered at that interview was that the Health Minister had not yet come to any final decision regarding Homoeopathy but the Medical Directorate was trying to implement the recommendations of the M.C.I. and to put all sorts of all impediments to reach our goal. The deputationists told the Health Minister about the publication of the brochure “The case for Homoeopathy” (copies of which were handed over to Rajkumariji and the D.G.H.S.) and about our future plan of enlightening the members of the Parliament, State Legislatures and the General Public with our view points to bring pressure upon the Govt. of India for the good of the suffering public of our country.

The Health Minister acquiesced that there was nothing wrong in the exercise of this, our democratic right to create and organise public opinion in our favour. Arising out of a reference made by the D.G.H.S. with regard to the present position of Homoeopathy in U.S.A. Dr. B.K. Sarkar one of the deputationists handed over to him two copies of the Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy (January 1951 and April 1952 issues) wherein articles were published by leading American Homoeopaths, deprecating the methods of teaching Homoeopathy in a common medical institution or as an elective course in such institutions and urging the necessity of reviving the old four-years-course Homoeopathic Colleges for under-graduate study instead of teaching Homoeopathy only at a post-graduate level.

In the meantime The Planning Commission was busy in drafting the five-years planning scheme. The Commission invited a few leading Homoeopaths of India to discuss about the ways and means to improve the condition of training and practice of Homoeopathy in the country. In their report they put in.

Sec. 87. With regard to Homoeopathy the proposals of the representatives of the profession appear to be reasonable and are, in the main, as follow:- (1) A Central Council of Homoeopathic Medicine may be formed. (2) Suitable Colleges among the existing ones may be upgraded and standardised and the question of starting new institutions may also he considered.

(3) The Course in the College may be common during first two years and students will then learn homoeopathic philosophy, Materia medica and therapeutics and allied subjects in 3 years.

(4) Facilities for homoeopathic research may be provided.

(5) A central homoeopathic drug manufactory and laboratory for standardisation of drugs may be opened at Lucknow.

Sec. 92. Homoeopathic medicines are not prepared according to well-known pharmacopeal methods. Moreover, these drugs are used in such diluted forms that they cannot be tested or standardised by any known chemical process. The only precaution that could be taken is to allow the manufacture and preparation in bonded laboratories under the supervision of qualified Homoeopaths.

After the publication of the Planning Commission Report on the 10th December 1952 the Director-General of Health Services issued invitation letters to those representatives of the Homoeopathic profession who attended the Planning Commission Session to participate in the deliberations of an Ad Hoc Committee with the following words:

You will recall that while you were here in connection with the meeting called by the Planning Commission to discuss indigenous systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, certain suggestions were made for immediate implementation in respect of teaching and research in Homoeopathy and other cognate matters. I am anxious to take some concrete steps in order to put some of these recommendations at any rate into effect as soon as possible.”

I propose to put up definite proposal for consideration by the Health Ministers conference which is going to meet shortly etc.

As a result of this communication from the D.G.H.S. three meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee were held; and the Committee discussed the following items and came to unanimous decisions regarding the same:

1. Training of Homoeopaths.

2. Research in Homoeopathy.

3. Standardisation of homoeopathic drugs.

4. Regulation of the practice of homoeopathy.

5. Utilisation of homoeopaths in health services.

6. Establishment of the Central Council of Homoeopathy.

7. Training of Homoeopaths:

(A) Undergraduate Training.

There should be only one course of training, viz., a five years degree course in homoeopathy made up of 42 years for basic and hospital studies and 6 months internship.

The candidates eligible for admission to the proposed degree-course in homoeopathy should pass Intermediate science (University standard) with Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

The 42 years course should be in two parts, namely.

(a) Pre-clinical studies for 2 years

and (b) Clinical studies for 22 years.

The following subjects were approved for pre-clinical years:-

1. Anatomy.

2. Physiology.

3. Elementary Pharmacology and Homoeopathic Materia Medica.

The 22 years of clinical studies would comprise the following subjects:-

1. Medicine.

2. Surgery.

3. Midwifery and Gynaecology.

4. Hygiene and Medical Jurisprudence.

5. Pathology and Bacteriology.

6. Homoeopathic Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Repertorization.

7. Organon and Homoeopathic Philosophy. Examinations:- An intermediate examination will be held at the end of two years of pre-clinical studies, the subjects for the examination being: Anatomy, Physiology and Elementary Pharmacology. It was recommended that the final examination should be in two parts. For part 1 the subjects should be Hygiene, Pathology and Bacteriology, and Medical Jurisprudence. These examination should take place one year after the Intermediate Examination. For part II in the remaining subjects, viz., Medicine, Surgery, Midwifery and Gynaecology, Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Therapeutics including Repertorization and Homoeopathic Philosophy, the examination should be taken at the end of 42 years of study.

Curriculum: The Committee considered in detail the draft syllabus drawn up by the members and approved the same.

In order to provide adequate facilities for such training the committee would suggest that

(i) the three existing homoeopathic colleges affiliated to the Homoeopathic State Faculty. W.B. at Calcutta should be amalgamated into one, pooling their resources in men and material. It is understood that the teaching staff of the institution shall, in the clinical section, consist of qualified practising Homoeopaths.

(ii) Other existing homoeopathic colleges in Lucknow, Gudivada and Midnapore should also be upgraded to give effect to this type of training;

(iii) any new homoeopathic institution which may be established, must possess adequate facilities to give the training of the degree standard and according to the draft syllabus:

(iv) The amalgamation of the College in Calcutta and the upgrading of the three other institutions should be completed within a period of five years and the authorities concerned should take such steps as are necessary to achieve this end. It was pointed out that the institutions would require financial help for such upgrading. It was agreed that the authorities concerned should submit detailed proposals for the upgrading programme together with their requests for financial aid to the State Governments concerned. The Chairman stated that if requests for financial aid from the centre were received they would be given due consideration.

B. Postgraduate training. The Committee agreed that there should be at least one College for giving post-graduate training in homoeopathy both to homoeopaths as well as graduates of medicine. The Committees view was that, to start with, the proposed HOmoeopathic College in Bombay should be developed as early as possible for the purpose. There should be two courses of post-graduate training, each of one years duration viz, (i) for homoeopaths who had taken the basic qualification from recognised homoeopathic institutions, and (ii) for graduates in modern medicine. The college authorities should submit proposals to the State Government for grant in aid for this development.

2. Research

The Committee considered the programme of research submitted by the members of the Ad Hoc Committee and it was agreed that out of the subjects listed, research on the following should be undertaken early and that a sum not less than Rs. 5 lakhs should be provided for this purpose:-

1. Use of recent methods of Encephalography.

2. Combined clinical and laboratory research.

3. Drug provings.

4. Preventive measures according to homoeopathic principles for combo infections diseases.

3. Standardisation of Homoeopathic Drugs.

The Committee agreed that pending the establishment of a separate institution for the purpose of manufacture and standardisation of Homoeopathic drugs the existing well-equipped Homoeopathic institutions should be entrusted with this work by augmenting wherever necessary, the existing facilities and equipment, particularly in respect of testing mother tinctures and for rendering such help as is required to the indigenous manufacture of the homoeopathic drugs. It may be necessary to depute suitably qualified students for specialised training abroad in this field.

4. Regulation of the practice of Homoeopathy.

The Committee was of opinion that immediate steps should be taken to introduce a system of registration for the regulation of practice of homoeopathy for avoidance of quackery and for the prohibition of the award of degrees and diplomas or issues or certificates by any except by institutions recognised for the purpose.

5. Utilisation of Homoeopaths in Health Services.

The Committee was of the view that utilisation of homoeopathic graduates, who have completed training for degree course, should be considered for employment in health services. However, those who have received training only of diploma course in recognised institutions, may be considered for employment only after they have had further training for one year in clinical subjects and in preventive medicines.

6. The establishment of the Central Council of Homoeopathy.

The Committee discussed the question of the establishment of a Central Council for Homoeopathy in all its aspects and reviewed the arguments put forward for it including those mentioned in the Homoeopathic Enquiry Committees Report. The Committee was of opinion that pending the establishment of a Central Council an advisory Committee should be constituted by the D.G. to advise him on all matters concerning the Homoeopathic system of medicine as for example, education, regulation of professional practice, control of Homoeopathic Pharmaceuticals and research.

This resume sets forth the present position of Homoeopathy vis-a-vis the Central and State Governments. The improvement of Homoeopathy depends on the establishment and running of fully equipped Homoeopathic institutions and hospitals attached thereto which will turn out complete homoeopathic physicians. It is for the first time that we have been able to secure the assurance from the Central Govt, about financial aid for the proposed homoeopathic institution and Research as well as about Utilisation of only qualified Homoeopathic practitioners in all Health Services.

It is our considered opinion that it is possible only at Calcutta to start a fully equipped Homoeopathic institution where the teaching staff, in the clinical section, may be manned by practising homoeopaths qualified from recognised institutions; and this is possible only if the three existing Calcutta Homoeopathic institutions (affiliated to the Homoeopathic State Faculty, West Bengal) are amalgamated into one, pooling their resources in men and material. The three existing Homoeopathic Colleges are all public institutions.

They are governed by their respective Associations which are registered under the Joint Stock Companys Act 21 of 1860. No particular individual or a group of individuals possess any vested interest in it. It surpasses our understanding what stand in the way of amalgamation of these institutions on the face of such a grand opportunity that has presented itself for the cause of Homoeopathy and Homoeopathic practitioners.

The future of Homoeopathy stands at a cross-road; our attitude and line of action might make or mar the destiny of such a superb system of Healing Art. Let it not be said that we were weighed in the balance and found wanting. Let not posterity point their disdainful finger at us who might be accused of failing to rise up to the occasion. Time and tide wait for no man and we should take time by the forelock if we do not wish to miss the bus.

Our appeal to the authorities of the Homoeopathic institutions concerned, will, we hope, not go in vain. The whole homoeopathic profession, the students of homoeopathy and even the lay public-should all put their shoulders to the wheel to get the car of homoeopathy going smoothly on its triumphant march to reach its destined goal. Bengal is the home of homoeopathy in India and the burden of responsibility on the shoulders of the Bengalee homoeopaths is too precious to throw it away. If such an unfortunate thing come to pass history will condemn us, posterity will not forgive us and the soul of Hahnemann will turn in his grave and curse us to eternal damnation. Friends, beware!

N C Das