BREAST CANCER

BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer (BC) will kill 76,000 women in India in 2015. For every two women with BC, one will die. Many of these deaths are preventable: simply by early detection. But detection often is late and thus fatal. Lack of awareness is the major reason for late detection.

BC in India is rising at a rapid rate. By 2030, the number of BC cases will rise to about 200,000 a year and deaths to about 100,000 a year. India has the worst survival rate from BC, and the highest number of women dying from BC, in the world.

Cancer can neither be prevented nor cured. But the risk of cancer can be reduced by a few simple life style changes: no red meat, no smoking, less alcohol; a diet rich in whole grain, vegetables, fruits and legumes and low in fat (butter/oil); vitamins and Marine Omega 3 fatty acids (found in seafood (e.g. fish oils) and in walnut, seeds, flaxseed oil etc.)

Aim of cancer treatment is to extend the life so that the patient does not die before old age; and to improve the quality of life during the survival years by palliative care.

Cancer is a 3200 year old disease. It is endogenous, a part of life-process. So it can neither be eradicated, nor prevented, nor cured.
Will some radical discovery in the future make cancer prevention and cure possible? We don’t know. But we can always hope.
Because as Richard Clauser, Director, NCI, USA, says about the future of cancer cure, “There are far more good historians than there are prophets.”

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TALAQ, TALAQ,  . . .

TALAQ, TALAQ, . . .

The raging debate in the country today is on gender justice: can a woman be denied her fundamental rights because she belongs to a certain faith?
Three victims of triple talaq have come to the SC with the plea that ‘talaq’, polygamy, and ‘nikah halala‘ – which stipulates that to remarry her husband, a divorced wife must first marry another man, consummate this marriage and then get divorced by him – was misogyny; that these trampled on their fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 15 of Constitution and were therefore unconstitutional. SC will hear them along with the PIL – “Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality” – generated on SC’s orders.
All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) and Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind (JeH)’s argument that Sharia is God’s law and therefore cannot be superseded by manmade laws, ie the Constitution, is hollow. Many Islamic states – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Iran – have regulated the Sharia divorce and polygamy laws showing that these are not essential religious practices that are beyond reform.
Other arguments advanced by JeH and AIMPLB are laughable: viz, “legal compulsions and expenses [of divorce] may [lead husband to] murdering or burning her [wife] alive . . . divorce proceedings could damage a woman’s chances of re-marriage if the husband indicts her of loose character in court . . . polygamy is a blessing because it prevents promiscuity, illicit sex, extra-marital relationship and women leading a spinster’s life.” And concludes: “India is a patriarchal society, and therefore personal laws of all communities are aligned with the patriarchal notion”!
AIMPLB’s stand has been condemned by secular Muslim, and by many Muslim Women’s organisations and Muslim intellectuals, jurists, commentators and community leaders – as retrograde, untrue and patriarchal.
Central govt has, for the first time in India’s constitutional history, opposed in the Supreme Court the practice of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy among Muslims. In a secular democracy, religion, or the preservation of plurality and diversity among the people, cannot be a reason to deny the equal status and dignity available to women under the Constitution, it argued.
Muslim women have tried for decades but failed to persuade their religious leaders to amend the personal laws that discriminate against them. Institutions such as Urdu media that can help the women have remained moot. So the women had no option but to come to the SC to adjudicate on their demand for equal rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Muslim women need emancipation. But the the imam khatib are the greatest block to their emancipation.
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Tripurari

Tripurari

“Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But theatre will make you good.” ― Terrence Mann

I pinch myself. And pinch again. Is this really me, at my home, sitting next to Tripurari, Professor of Acting, and a onetime acting Director, of National School of Drama (NSD). The NSD which counts among its alumni Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Anupam Kher, Irrfan Khan, Raj Babbar and many other famous persons; and counts among its Directors the one and only Ebrahim Alkazi, the doyen of Indian theatre, the one who revolutionised Hindi theatre.
Tripurari, the conferee of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar – the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists; one of the ninety nine women from India nominated for the ‘Thousand Women for Nobel Peace Prize’ by an international initiative.
Ask her about acting and theatre and she comes alive. The voice is strong, assured, enthusiastic.
“Acting as an art is a way to break free of the codes handed to us, to live many lives, to experiment with the given moment, to generate a spark. . . . ”
And she goes on. From acting to theatre – “Something that can be said in a few words cannot be the subject of a play” and “theatre is like dew, like the shadow in water, rather like water, which is more inconsistent than the shadow. You don’t know what remains and what flows – then to street theatre – “Street theatre performers are often activists for a cause, but street theatre is not about message. The message is a discovery” – and that “theatre is a metaphor of life, but sometimes it can miss the ordinariness of life in performing spaces, the warmth of people and interesting characters.”
I listen with rapt attention. And even though I am not literate in art and theatre, she is so lucid that I understand all that she is conveys about them. Her enthusiasm is infectious. And so I extract a promise from her that I will get invitations to NSD’s plays and other productions.
An evening worth its weight in gold.
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SURGICAL STRIKES

SURGICAL STRIKES

God hates war, but God loves every soldier – Rick Warren

Surgical strikes damaged India more than they did Pakistan.
Pakistan lost a few Jihadis; India lost the plot: Indian polity was split down the middle between those who applauded the strikes and those who called the army liars.
“Do not destroy the army,” is our appeal to the Leftist, Centrist, Rightist, Secularist, Communalist, Caste-ist – that is to all those whose calling is real politic and whose pope is Henry Kissinger: “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”
Kissinger was wrong then. He is wrong now.

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AHIMSA (अहिंसा)

AHIMSA (अहिंसा)

Gandhi Jayanti – birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – 02 October, is also the International Day of Non-violence (Ahimsa).
Ahimsa – abstention from violence to achieve an outcome – is an ancient philosophy. But Gandhi revolutionized Ahimsa: from a personal practice, into a “unique weapon” of social and political change.
Main critique of Ahimsa is that it assumes that the adversary will have compassion and sense of justice; and that it can only succeed with “a free press and the right of assembly.”
On balanced though, Ahimsa is desirable because it is “the politics of ordinary people.”
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