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Wednesday, November 6, 2013


This is my entry for the contest AN IMMUNE INDIA sponsored by DABUR

DABUR INDIA has been a pioneer in manufacturing ayurvedic health promoting products based on age-old recipes found in our ancient books. Dabur Chyawanprash in different flavors tops the list of its products, whose regular use by young and old ensures disease free life as well as over all good health. Dabur Honey  mixed with ginger juice for sore throat, Pudinhara and Hingoli for all digestive problems are household names and enjoy a prominent place in every medicine cabinet. These are widely used as home remedies since their inception.

Consuming Chyawanprash has remained a wholesome tradition in our family for many long years. I remember my parents taking a mega spoonful of this vitalizing ayurvedic product with a cup of milk at breakfast. Its invigorating properties tackled most of the health irritants, especially in the winter season.

It has never gone out of fashion, though. It is a delectable concoction, full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. It is a well-tried formula for building up immunity against common colds, dry cough, winter chills and what not. Olives, which constitute a substantial part of the whole, is a reservoir of Vitamin C and body building ingredients. In fact, it surprised me to see a jar of Chyawanprash in my son’s pantry here in the U.S. Even among the Indian diaspora, it enjoys a prominent place as a prized tonic
On a larger framework about creating AN IMMUNE INDIA, my critique is as follows:

Disease, deprivation and desperation are the eyesores afflicting majority of poor Indians, and they constitute the bulk of its population.  All the grandiose Health schemes of the government either remain on paper because of flimsy technical hitches or do not reach the target due to rampant malpractices. In short, sincerity and commitment are woefully missing in their implementation.

Here are some of the discussion points regarding the above subject:

Over populated India:

To my mind, the single most significant cause, which impedes reaching the goal of AN IMMUNE INDIA, is our burgeoning population. Strangely enough, successive Governments all along have relegated population control measures to the back burner. May be due to political compulsions! That does not make the neglect less culpable!

At best, the approach has been lackluster. The targeted population has become sorely skeptical about the efficacy of the lame duck measures. Reportedly, there had been many botched family planning initiatives. I need not mention untimely female mortality, disabilities and tragic repercussions of casually performed operations and abysmal aftercare. Hence, the continuous increase in numbers.

The poor lack the wherewithal to feed and take care of their large broods. There is malnutrition and less immunity to fight infections and children easily fall prey to various ailments and suffer endlessly. Feeding so many children expends their resources and they are left with very little to buy vegetables, lentils etc. Providing two meals a day, saps all their vitality. They have neither money nor strength to think of healthy food or better hygiene.

Medical research apart, providing minimum primary care to the citizens of this over populated country is a formidable challenge.  The stock of medicines, disposables and other items in public hospital is always in short supply. Hapless patients run from pillar to post to procure these in emergencies.

Immunizations: To make infant immunization programs a success, fool proof methods should be adopted under the care of experts.

What needs doing?
Foremost is revamping of our health services. It is essential to launch door-to-door, campaigns to educate the poor and the illiterate about the benefits of small families. More importantly, the goal should be distribution of family planning products free of cost. Only committed medical personnel should be entrusted to perform family planning operations and guarantee after care. To ensure that it happens, the mechanism to fix accountability and severe punishment in case of culpability should be put in place. Now Medicare falls short of ensuring even basic facilities to our milling numbers. In this regard, the practice of barefoot paramedics as in China needs to be looked into seriously.

Dispensaries and medical centers in rural areas should be well stocked with medicines and surprise checks be made to prevent mismanagement.

Educating the girl child:
The scourge of male preference in Indian society has done grave injustice to women folk. In the Indian patriarchal set up, women have been maltreated, abused physically and mentally and have been even burned to death. They had no rights. All this has to change now. A lot has already changed. State governments have legislated compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 and free education for girls until grade 12  Only an educated and self-aware woman can take decisions regarding her family size and take good care of the family. She can certainly play a major role in reaching the target of AN IMMUNE INDIA.

Rising unemployment:
It is another curse and cause of so many ills of our society. Unemployed youth are easily lured into the dens of drug lords and eventually start taking the deadly intoxicants and die prematurely, but not before infecting other family members and leave them to die too.  Thefts, snatchings, rapes and other heinous crimes are other offshoots.

The need of the hour is teaching lower level skills to the poor youth of the country, enabling them to earn a living and support their families.

Lack of toilets:
Open-air defecation practice has been going on for long in India and that has resulted in countless maladies.
The space around slums and shantytowns is a stinking hell.  Stray dogs, cats and crows and some other winged species feed on the muck and have free access to streets and roads causing infections. Children of these areas play there and remain sick permanently.

 What we should do:
 NGOs have large financial backing. They’ve to come forward to adopt such areas and villages and facilitate financially the construction of toilets in every household on a war footing priority. Other charitable institutions should pitch in with financial support.

Ignorance about personal hygiene:
Ignorance about personal hygiene among the poor and in labor colonies is woeful. Not washing hands, spitting, and urinating indiscriminately is keeping us miles away from our goal of healthy and strong INDIA.

What we should do:
At least one period in govt. schools where mostly poor kids study, should be earmarked to promote oral hygiene and demonstrations conducted to teach about maintaining clean habits and the benefits accruing therefrom. Hand washing after going to the toilet need to be reinforced via specific initiatives. It is a major cause of the spread of so many infections.

Lack of garbage disposal:
Infrastructure for garbage disposal mechanism remains in doldrums in spite of the fact that it has been a burning issue for long. Littered waste has marred the beauty of our hills and plains. They are sore spots hindering flow of domestic as well as foreign tourists. Our tourism industry can ill afford to overlook this neglect. This apart, stray cattle, dogs, and monkeys feed on the unlifted mounds of waste material lying here and there. In congested places, they frequently jostle with humans on the narrow streets and by lanes spreading infection and misery.

What we should do:
The concerned authorities should collaborate with a foreign country, which has remedied this problem for good, and get our workforce trained there.

The problem is of mammoth proportions. Nevertheless, it is achievable if our political class, bureaucrats and public in general, take up these issues collectively and decisively and seek the cooperation and know-how of experts in the specific fields.

Image courtesy:Google

Friends: waiting for your support and comments.


  1. [ Smiles ] You've raised many important issues in your article. Let us hope that the situation in India improves in the very near future.

  2. Thanks a lot! The situation surely is grim. Let's hope there is self awakening in the hearts of those who matter!

  3. Nice post and valuable suggestions that are truly from the heart. All the best!

    Please read my article at

  4. The only post I have come across emphasizing the all important point of "Educating the girl child".

    Nicely crafted post with titles and subtitles. Goodluck MP.

    Would appreciate your candid views on my post at

  5. Good post !! At last Ive found a post which speaks about IMMUNE INDIA and not kids alone !!