Monday, May 20, 2024
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Lessons on personal liberty from Covid vaccination

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Editor,
April ended with viral news of Astra Zeneca admitting in a UK Court that their vaccine Covishield can lead to conditions associated with blood clot formation, heart attacks and brain haemorrhages. Since the start of 2020, even before all the shutdowns, there have been warning against the loss of freedom and against forced vaccination. Many have warned their friends over Whatsapp groups and Facebook and in conversations too about the risk from the vaccine, but they were ridiculed with the label, “Whatsapp University.”
Despite the fact that we can all read and make logical inferences, even when we are not experts, we were told to, “trust the science.” All that the many conscientious people wanted was to uphold our individual rights and personal liberty as sacred. But they were called covidiots. Moreover, the pandemic led some people to discover alternate theory of disease, i.e. Antoine Bechamp’s terrain theory of disease, which challenges the allopathic German theory of disease, but any views that challenge the narrative were deemed as fake news punishable as crime, simply because people should trust the experts. So, voices were stifled.
Let this be a lesson to everyone to never support any government or expert programme that robs our fellow human beings and citizens of their personal freedom, their right to livelihood and their right to assemble peacefully, as well as free speech to challenge even the experts. Free speech means even the right to be wrong.
Ironically, those who said the Inner Line Permit was part of an archaic law and a colonial hangover, nevertheless waved the stick of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, in everyone’s faces, despite its tyrannical nature. Now that we have seen the admissions of Astra Zeneca, let us learn to never compromise on our individual freedoms again.
Yours etc.,
Kitdor H. Blah,
Shillong

Ignoring the voice of truth
Editor,
Satyajit Ray was born on May 2, 1921 in Kolkata. Many film makers made films on real stories. But we will recall his two films that were made before two similar tragedies happened in larger magnitude.
Satyajit Ray’s film Ganashatru and his experiments with truth in the film is an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play – ‘The Enemy of the People’. In the film, an honest doctor, Dr Ashok Gupta found that the contaminated water in the Tripureshwar temple was spreading jaundice at an alarming rate. The doctor asked for a temporary closure of the temple. But vested interests did not pay heed to his appeal as it would stop the business revolving around religious tourism for a while.
The doctor tried to publish an article in a newspaper to make people aware of the danger but vested interests did not let it get published. Thereafter, the doctor organised a public meeting to caution people about the reason for the outbreak of jaundice.
This made them very angry and they labelled the doctor as a biased fault-finder, an anti-Hindu and an enemy of the people. They were not ready to accept scientific evidence and instead said charanamrita could not be contaminated. They accused the doctor of hurting traditional practices, religious beliefs and the traditional culture.
This film showed us that reformers who always helped us move forward shedding the baggage of our superstitions and myths were tagged as, ‘the enemy of the people,’ by vested interests. Those who have a vested interest, brainwash us into believing that the past was always very good – Satyayug (age of truth) and the present is very bad – Kaliyug (age of anarchy). So, we need to cling to our past and march backwards. This makes us apprehensive about our evolutionary progress.
Satyajit Ray’s Ganashatru was released on January 19, 1990. But was the film relevant? Yes, it was. Dr Dabholkar was an anti-superstition crusader like Dr Gupta in Ganashatru. Interestingly, 23 years after the release of the film, he was shot dead on August 20, 2013 when he was out on a morning walk in Pune. He was to address a press conference later in the day to advocate for an eco-friendly Ganesh festival.
Now recall Ray’s film Mahapurush (The Holy Man). It was based on a short story Birinchi Baba by Rajshekhar Basu. An old man became restless after the death of his wife. He and his daughter, Buchki, became devotees of a self styled god-man, Birinchi Baba who had many rich devotees. But ultimately Buchki’s lover Satya and his friend Nibaran exposed Birinchi Baba. The devotees had learned a lesson after losing their time and money on the god-man. The film was released on May 7, 1965. Nearly ten years after the release of the film, Asaram Bapu came into the limelight. Whereas Birinchi Baba might have 4000 devotees, Asaram Bapu had 40 million devotees. He had established 400 ashrams and 40 schools in India and abroad. The self styled god-man was charged with illegal encroachment, rape and tampering of a witness. He was convicted by the special POSCO court at Jodhpur and sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a teenage girl in his ashram. He is now in the Central Jail, Jodhpur. A sessions court in Gandhinagar had also convicted Asaram in another rape case and sentenced him to life imprisonment in January 2023. Had audiences listened to Satyajit Ray and absorbed his ray of truth, it would have been a better world and we could have managed to avert two great disasters.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,
Kolkata

 

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