August 14, 2011

A nation which has bypassed its Father - DR. SUVARNA NALAPAT

Gandhiji (1928 Young India) said the seven sins are “politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity and worship without renunciation of ego.”

August 15, 2011: Eighty three years have passed. These sins have multiplied. Nonviolence, truth, Brahmacharya and abolition of liquor were part of the national health and reconstruction programmes. The Mahatma's development programmes depended on his greater and broader vision of a self-sufficient healthy environment. He knew that spiritual health leads to intellectual, mental and physical health.

England learned vegetarianism from India. From the discussions and journals of the Vegetarian Society of England, Gandhiji learned its intellectual and mental implications and that taste depends not on the tongue but on the mind and the intellect. Man has to protect living things and nature for a healthy co-existence and survival of all races. Food is for health, not for mere pleasure. By experimenting, Gandhiji understood how right his mother was about vegetarianism and how observance made him spiritually, intellectually, mentally and physically happy and healthy.
India discovered Ahimsa in the prehistorical past. It is not just a spiritual religious observance. India's economy, cleanliness of towns, villages, streams and atmosphere, health, food sufficiency, and protection of the natural environment depended on a lifestyle of vegetarianism. The first planned cities during the Indus Valley Harappan times had battlegrounds, homes of leathergood professionals, scavengers and hospitals outside the city. Not just for aesthetics but for preventing environmental pollution.
In modern cities, wastes from hospitals, butcher shops and houses are disposed of on roads, in rivers, streams and everywhere; rats, pests, bacteria multiply and diseases spread. Successive governments have tried to stop this and protect the health of people but failed because we are increasing the pollution, changing lifestyles, and constructing multispeciality hospitals for preventing diseases in an undernourished population. Modern medicine tells us that red meat is responsible for several types of cancers and high cholesterol. How much state and individual money is spent on prevention and cure of these diseases?
Working in the Calicut Medical College Blood Bank Immunohaematology services, I came across the problem with HIV-AIDS control programmes. Promoting condoms indirectly promotes lack of emotional control. Even animals do have control and mate only while they are in oestrus in seasons. Man is the only animal showing unnatural sex desires. Abortions which are akin to killing an innocent life have become an excuse for killing female foetuses. Everyone wants free unlimited enjoyment of all physical pleasures at the cost of destroying values and humanitarian feelings. Householders had laws for controlling desires through vows like upavasa and brahmacharya during certain days and periods of life. Now we find all around violent assaults on women and property. We have forgotten how to control our desires.
Brain and neuronal channels work properly when we abstain from liquor and drugs. Responsible householders, citizens and national leaders should think of grass-roots level reasons. Psychiatric problems, depression, rape and other crimes increase when citizens have no mental or intellectual control over desires. People say Gandhiji is a misfit in today's world. Why is he considered a misfit? We want to indulge in pleasures of the senses, violence, eating flesh and drinking alcohol. Gandhiji is an obstacle to these. Personal needs should give way to national goals to grasp the value of his message and foresight, which unfortunately does not happen.

A good leader wants only the best for the entire world. Ultimately, people will recognise their folly, realise that Gandhiji was the only “fit” leader for peaceful co-existence of the world. Democracy is not just for making demands. Value-based education is essential for all strata of society for any nation. Gandhiji's bhajan music therapy controlled passions during the Freedom struggle. Neuroendocrine secretions, increase in T lymphocytes during music sessions make us resistant to pathogens. Simple life, high thinking, clean environment, agrarian food sufficiency for nutritional requirements — can we ever achieve these? “Nirbal ke bal Ram Eswar Allah there naam sab ko sanmathi debhagavan.” The prayer comes out of every heart concerned about the future of the world.
Everyone wants free unlimited enjoyment of all physical pleasures at the cost of destroying values and humanitarian feelings. We have forgotten how to control our desires.

(The writer is a retired professor and Head, Department of Pathology. His email id is

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