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Medicine Education and Business


Let me begin at the beginning. Education is the first training that we receive in our lives, which remains with us for posterity. They say that the stronger the roots, the better and stronger the tree. Likewise, better the ‘education’, stronger the foundation for life. Let us first delve into the types of education; first, as it should be and then, as it is! Imagine a child being led into a garden full of fruit bearing trees; imagine that child being asked which fruit he likes and then being taught to climb trees. The fruit that the child chooses is of his choice. All he is asked to do is learn climbing trees. The child does so and one day climbs the tree of his choice and reaps a rich harvest of pears, his favourite fruit. Whether that child is from an affluent family or not, whether he is city bred or a villager, whether he is a dreamer or a fighter, whether he likes music or sports, it is not important. What is important is he learns climbing trees so that he gets to the fruit. Now, I have used tree climbing as a metaphor for education, as education should be. That is an ideal picture which all educational institutions should, and I hope do, strive towards.

Now, let us look at the real picture. Arihant is from a village where education is sparse and higher education non-existent. Arihant comes to a city and the first questions he encounters are about his expenses. His father, on whom he is still dependent, has agreed to pay for his education, though at great sacrifice to himself. He approaches various colleges and finds that he has not met the academic criteria for qualifying at the top colleges which have a percentage requirement higher than he had managed from his village school. His next and only option are private colleges. He approaches one, where he learns that the fees he has to dish out would be more than he can afford. What does Arihant do now? Arihant is an Indian citizen, the only fault with him was his lower qualifying criteria, but Arihant had managed to pass out from high school while also helping his father in their farm. He somehow managed study as well as work. Does that make Arihant more or less eligible for a degree? He has no connections, no wealth. All he has is a belief in a system which would surely recognize the fact that he had worked through late hours in the night to pass his exams and all through the day, he would work with his father, who had no helpers. He has dreams too, of getting a degree and work, of a city life, of college life. He has nowhere to go now and he realises that he cannot work his way through a system like this. Would he not have made a great climber? Would he not have got to his fruit? He never even got a chance at even attempting to…

What other support in life would we need at some point or the other? Have we all not been to a Doctor at some point of time or other? Yes, we have, and we know that we have to keep doing it, whether regularly, or at intervals. The Doctor is someone we just cannot forget even if we wish to. Now, Arihant had been a few days in the city and he learnt that his father had fallen from his tractor and needed medical help, the kind not available at his village. The first thing he did was go to a hospital where he learnt that he would have to bring his father for initial check up. He asked his father if he could manage to come to the city with whatever he had. His father did and they started the initial tests needed to ascertain the kind of treatment required. Sadly enough, the tests would have to be stopped at mid-stream because they did not have the fees required for that particular hospital as it was a private hospital and no government schemes provided for any relief of the ailment which assailed Arihant’s father.

Why have I brought up these two dimensions of society through the purview of Arihant? Education and Medicine, I believe are the life-blood or the core of a society we live in, a society I believe which as yet has not lost its dignity. For you see, dignity is what is at stake here. When men like Arihant and his Dad are made lesser for no other reason than the fact that education has become big business and so has medicine. I leave the powers that be to choose an alternate!

       The writer can be reached at arunav_barua@yahoo.com

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