Mr. President, Friends and Colleagues.
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to extend a hearty welcome to you all to this city at this All India Homoeopathic Convention held on the occasion of Bi-centennial Birth-day Anniversary of our great Master Hahnemann. This is the city where Homoeopathy was first introduced by Rajendra Lal Dutta of hallowed memory, who spent a princely fortune for dissemination of its principles and practice among his countrymen.
This is the city where took place the dramatic conversion of one of the then medical luminaries of the first magnitude, to the practice of Homoeopathy under the influence of Rajendra Lal. I mean Dr. Mahendra Lal Sircar who became the high priest of Homoeopathy, spread its glory far and wide and gained thereby an international reputation for himself.
This is the city where the celebrities of Homoeopathy like Dr. Berigny, Dr. Salzar, Dr. P.C. Majumdar, Dr. D. N. Roy. Dr. Younan, Dr. J.N. Majumdar, Dr. Baridbaran Mukherji, Dr. S.K. Nag, Dr. A.N. Mukherji, Dr. T.N. Palit, Dr. G. Dirghangi and a host of other talented physicians practised their profession with credit and success and held aloft the banner of Homoeopathy. This is the city where exist pioneer institutions for the teaching of Homoeopathy. This is the city wherefrom Homoeopathy has spread to all parts of India and its votaries are doing yeomans service for the good of the suffering humanity.
We are meeting this evening on a historic occasion and we have to arrive at decisions which might make or mar the future history of Homoeopathy in India. It may be that forces of disruption, destruction and obstruction are at work; it may be that self and vested interests seem to thwart the smooth progress of Homoeopathy; it may be that some may seem to play in the hands of the Powers that are not too sympathetic to the cause of Homoeopathy; it may be that the present seems to be chaotic and future of Homoeopathy dubious but great is truth indeed and will prevail. We should not lose heart or throw up the sponge.
Tradition, authority, sectarianism, dogmatism are great obstacles on the way. But obstacles and difficulties are meant to be fought out and overcome. Strifes and dissensions, discords and disunities may hamper our progress but they are nonetheless signs of lifes activities. It is a good augury that the Homoeopathic profession is shaking off its age – long slumber and getting more and more conscious of its duties and obligation, its rights and privileges and of its short – comings and practical difficulties.
The life of Hahnemann is there to encourage us; the masterful will of his dynamic spirit is there to inspire us to intensify our activities; his achievements are there to goad us to realise greater success; and his personality is always before us to take lessons from, in our life which as Swami Vivekananda puts it, is “a process of unfolding and development of a being under circumstances tending to press it down.”
That Homoeopathy is a scientific system of treatment, philosophically sound, logically unimpeachable, practically highly efficacious in curing the sick and cheap enough to suit the poor economic condition of the Indian masses – has become a much talked – of subject in the country. But why is it not spreading sufficiently and adequately in our motherland or in fact anywhere in the world?
Why is our National Government not still keen on according official recognition to this superb system of healing art or providing ways and means for its development and diffusion? Why the public opinion is not gaining strength enough to put sufficient pressure on our Government to take interest in it? Why sufficient number of fully equipped Homoeopathic teaching institutions and hospitals are not growing to turn out adequate number of fully qualified Homoeopathic physicians in the country?
It is high time that we should draw the attention of the profession and the laity to provide answers to so many “whys” and to solve the pressing problems in the matter concerned. On a cursory view it becomes evident that the Homoeopathic profession, the people and the Government are each individually and collectively responsible for this impasse.
The so – called Allopathy still occupies the dominant place in any country, even in the land of birth of Homoeopathy. It is no wonder that Homoeopathy, being a discovery of merely a century and a half still lags behind its rival shool. But it is a wonder of wonders that Homoeopathy has already encompassed the whole world within such a short period since it was ushered into existence by Hahnemann.
History of man reveals that nowhere a new truth was accepted by him easily and readily, obsessed as he is with conservatism, tradition, authority and vested interests. Nonetheless the triumphant march of Homoeopathy with a such a meteoric speed throughout the length and breadth of the world is a proof positive of the truth inherent in the system and phenomenal therapeutic efficacy of this healing art. It is one more glaring instance of mans love of truth against heavy odds that impede his progress at every step.
For the propagation of any new truth and its acceptance by man, in general, the first and foremost condition is the turning out of sufficient number of persons who have realised the truth and are adept in the practice of it. This involves establishment of a sufficient number of teaching institutions which will turn out experts in the science and art of Homoeopathy; and a sufficient number of Homoeopathic Hospital where, the efficacy of this system of treatment will be put to test.
Human knowledge is becoming unmanageably vast. The appearance of specialists has become indispensable. So special Hospitals for the treatment of specific types of diseases have sprung forth elsewhere, e.g. Tuberculosis Hospitals, Cancer Hospitals, Hospital for Tropical Diseases etc. Because of organisation of these hospitals people generally think of getting themselves treated in these institutions.
As there are no fully – equipped general Homoeopathic Hospitals and not to speak of special Homoeopathic Hospitals and not to speak of special Homoeopathic Hospitals the result is Homoeopathy is not getting a fair chance of treating those diseases like tuberculosis, cancer, acute infectious diseases of epidemic type e.g., Small-pox, Cholera etc. on a large and organised scale. Consequently the general public cannot keep much faith in this treatment and mostly take recourse to homoeopathic treatment when the case is “past all hope and past all surgery”.
Hence the establishment of fully – equipped Homoeopathic institutions (College – cum – Hospitals) is an imperative necessity for enhancing the prestige of the Homoeopathic profession and for convincing the people about the therapeutic efficacy of this system of treatment. Is it not a pity that Homoeopathy once established its reputation by treating Cholera cases in this city and now nobody thinks of this treatment in Cholera cases and rushes the patient to the Allopathic Hospitals which are especially meant for these types of patients? How can we hope to gain ground under these circumstances?
The next great obstacle is the apathy and in many cases active antagonism of our Government, both at the Centre and at least in some of the State, towards Homoeopathy. The Government is under the thumb of its medical directorates which are solely manned by Allopathic doctors. The main reasons for the non – acceptance of the Homoeopathic system of treatment may be summed up in three words: tradition, authority and professionalism. Their psychology is easily understood if it is borne in mind that the conservative inertia of human mind attempts to reject any new thought will all the means at its disposal.
Another reason is due to vested interests. Even a cursory glance at the history of origin and spread of Homoeopathy, enables one to find out that the opposition to this system from the start, was not scientific but rather of commercial nature on the part of the apothecaries who were afraid of losing their trade – profits. We regret to note that the Central Government have not yet implemented a single recommendation put forward by the Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee, Planning Commission. Third Health Ministers Conference, Ad Hoc Committee etc. though Homoeopathic Acts have been passed in the States of Bombay, U.P., Madhya Pradesh, Travancore – Cochin, Bihar etc. I is curious to note that W. Bengal is the only State where a Homoeopathic Bill has recently been thrown out by the State Government.
Another great obstacle is the psychology of the general mass of population who fail to adopt a proper philosophical attitude towards Homoeopathy and takes the Homoeopathic Therapeutic Law as great paradox contrary to common sense. Unless we can educate the public in the matter, we cannot hope to secure their whole – hearted support for this system of treatment.
Lack of enthusiasm for constructive works on the part of the Homoeopathic profession, the apathy of our Government and hesitancy on the part of the public to accept Homoeopathy are great obstacles to the spread of this system of treatment in the country. Unless this vicious circles is broken the progress of Homoeopathy is bound to be impeded. We have to fight on all fronts if we aspire to achieve victory in our battle for the cause of Homoeopathy and the suffering humanity.
But our first necessity as pointed out by the Soul of India expressing itself through Sri Aurobindo, is: If India is to survive and do her appointed work in the world, the youth of India should learn to think, to think on all subjects, to think independently, fruitfully, going to the heart of things, not stopped by their surface, free of pre – judgements, shearing sophism and prejudice asunder as with a sharp sword smiting down obscurantism of all kinds as with a mace of Bhima.
“Let our brains no longer, like European infants, be swathed with swaddling clothes; let it have recover the free and unbound motion of the Gods, let it have not only the minuteness but the wide mastery and sovereignty natural to the intellect of Bharata and easily recoverable by it if it once accustomes itself to feel its own power and be convinced of its own worth.
“The old fixed foundations have been broken up, we are tossing in the waters of a great upheaval and change. It is no use clinging to the old ice – floes of the past, they will soon melt and leave their refugees struggling in perilous waters. It is no use landing ourselves in the infirm bog, neither sea nor good, dry land of a second – hand Europeanism. We shall only die there a miserable and unclean death.
“No we must learn to swim and use that power to reach the good vessel of unchanging truth; we must land again on the eternal rock of ages.”
Yes, we must expand, we must assimilate whatever is assimilable for our growth. Stagnation and contraction are the signs of Death. Our knowledge must be aggressive, must diffuse through the rank and file of the whole Homoeopathic profession if we wish to survive and perpetuate ourselves; to leave an extensive ignorance either below or around us is to expose ourselves to the perpetual danger of being exterminated as a professional entity.
In fine, I welcome you, once again, on this historic occasion to this historic city to deliberate, to exchange view points and to come to agreed decisions with regard to our future line of action in respect of Homoeopathy in all its aspects.