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The folly of renaming: Will we ever learn?

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It’s not often that something US President Donald Trump says can be recommended to India’s leaders. But his comment on the futility of trying to rewrite the past certainly deserves the attention of myopic ruling party politicians like Yogi Adityanath, who may believe he has erased the Mughals from history by transforming Mughal Sarai into Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar, or Maheish Girri, the East Delhi MP, responsible for renaming Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi after A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments” Mr Trump tweeted last week. “You can’t change history”, he warned, and then, displaying rare perspicacity, added, “but you can learn from it”. The rulers of contemporary India can certainly learn from Aurangzeb that the liberal temper of this country will not put up with the straitjacket of a single religious discipline. That Mr Girri replaced one Muslim name with another only exposed a saffron politician’s predictable communal blinkers. He didn’t realise he was tampering with national — not just sectarian — history.
We’ll see more such propagandist exercises now that the Uttar Pradesh chief minister has struck a brave blow at all the Mughals and their sarais instead of tinkering about with an emperor here and a consort there. If Aurangzeb has been banished, his father must be too. Without Shah Jahan, there can’t be a monument to his beloved Mumtaz Mahal. One can see Yogi Adityanath reaching out to Agra, having taken his lesson from the late P.N. Oak, that great and glorious fiction writer of the Hindu rashtra that never was. Oak argued that far from being Mughal, the Taj Mahal is really a corrupt form of the Sanskrit “Tejo Mahalay”, signifying a Shiva temple. Thanks to him, we can rest content when Pakistanis stir up mischief in Kashmir or Chinese troops sneak into Doklam that Hindus once conquered Italy, and that even Westminster Abbey was a Shiva temple. Surely, the Prime Minister has been remiss in not bestowing some posthumous honour on a man who anticipated India’s glowing present and glorious future under Mr Modi’s benediction and tried to invent a Hindu past that lives up to it?
Governments that are concerned with mundane matters such as the material welfare of their people might frown on such creativity. Singapore, the only ex-colony to make a success of independence according to Jagat Mehta, the former foreign secretary, believes that chopping and changing the past erodes investor confidence. Singaporeans recall how James Putucheary, the India-born, Santiniketan-educated radical head of Singapore’s first Industrial Promotion Board, proposed soon after independence to demolish the statue of Stamford Raffles, the island-state’s British founder. “That was left over by the colonialists” Putucheary told two United Nations economists, Albert Winsemius and Tang I-Fang. “What would you think if we replaced it with a statue of Marx or Lenin?” It was a troubling thought, and Lee Kuan Yew says Winsemius accepted the job of chief economic adviser only on condition that the statue wasn’t disturbed. Raffles still strikes a heroic pose by the Singapore River, arms folded determinedly across his chest, symbolising continuity and stability.
Smaller men than Lee take a narrower view of history, being incapable of grasping that the cycle of events is not concerned with individual likes and dislikes. The past can’t be revised to suit a present that is forever changing. It cost West Bengal’s United Front government nothing in the late 1960s to rededicate the 165-ft British monument in Calcutta’s Maidan honouring General Sir David Ochterlony, who won Britain’s wars against Nepal, to shaheeds in the cause of revolution. Ireland’s revolutionaries were more honest. They didn’t like the column in the heart of Dublin to an English admiral, Horatio Nelson, and blew it up. As Calcutta’s roads were renamed and statues removed, small-time patriots had to be persuaded that the busts of the Twelve Caesars in Raj Bhavan didn’t represent former governors. They also thought at first that the statue of Minerva along with classical representations of justice, commerce, science and agriculture along the balustrade of Writers’ Buildings, the state secretariat, were colonial memsahibs.
Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda dominating the intersection of MG Road and Subhash Chowk also demonstrates the folly of such changes. Many protested when the large equestrian statue was removed in a fit of patriotic zeal that the horse was a prominent landmark and more famous than its royal rider, King Edward VII. That the name survives to denote a district and cultural enclave and that no one thinks of Kala Ghoda as a colonial memorial shows that memory can’t be blacked out because it may be inconvenient for some.
Of course even today’s India hasn’t scaled the absurd heights of the US where a popular sports presenter called Robert Lee, obviously of Chinese extraction, was pulled from an assignment to cover a Virginia football match after the recent uproar over the statue of General Robert Lee, the Confederate commander in the 1861-65 Civil War. But India is far from matching enlightened Britain where a nine-ft bronze Mahatma Gandhi, costing more than a million pounds, was erected in London’s Parliament Square two years ago. This wasn’t the first either. Burying yesterday’s enmities, the British installed a modest bust of Gandhi in Tavistock Square in Bloomsbury nearly 50 years ago. That generosity is so far removed from India’s vicious inter-party hatreds that I am not surprised to be asked by informed foreigners how long the Indira Gandhi International Airport will retain its name. I tell them it’s my guess the Prime Minister’s advisers are too canny to make an obvious change that would expose the BJP’s weakness.


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GMC admits: Patients referred to Srinagar attended by juniors

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, Jan 21: The Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar Monday acknowledged that the patients referred to its associated hospitals in Srinagar are being treated by junior doctors.

A circular by Principal GMC, Dr Samia Rashid said it had come to her notice that “patients referred from various district, sub-district hospitals and peripheries for specialised treatment in Associated hospitals of GMC Srinagar are being attended by Junior Residents without taking advice and consultation from their Registrars and Consultants on emergency duty.”

The circular asked the head of departments and units to ensure that referral patients are only seen by registrars or senior residents on emergency duty.

 

“The head of the departments and units are also impressed upon to ensure that Consultants on emergency duty…should make periodic rounds on their emergency day and take final evening round in emergency areas. Registrars and other resident staff on emergency duty should note down their advice in respect of patients admitted,” the circular reads.

The GMC Principal, as per the circular, asked the medical superintendents of the associated hospitals to monitor the work of Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) and Casualty Medical Officer (CMOs).

“…check whether they are discharging their duties as per their job profile…take necessary disciplinary action against the RMO/CMO who fails to discharge their assigned duties.”

The GMC circular follows the Thursday’s incident in which a pregnant woman, who was referred from Kupwara to Lal Ded hospital, was forced to deliver her baby on road when the doctor on duty refused to admit her.

The baby delivered in sub-zero temperatures died soon after.

Facing flak, the hospital ordered a probe immediately, which, eventually, concluded: “The doctor with her clinical assessment/USG findings did not anticipate the precipitate delivery in her, although unfortunately the doctor on duty went against the SOP for referrals by not admitting the patient.”

 

No negligence will be tolerated: Adv Kumar

Jammu, Jan 21: Taking a serious note of alleged mishandling of a pregnant lady from District Kupwara at L. D Hospital, Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar Monday conveyed his sympathies with the affected family and assured a thorough enquiry into the unfortunate incident.

Chairing a high level meeting in this regard attended by Principal Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Atal Dullo; Principal, GMCs of Srinagar and Jammu; Directors of Health Services of Kashmir & Jammu besides Medical Superintendents of several hospitals the Advisor informed that the Governor has instructed that Hospital authorities across the State should strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) in the case of referrals to tertiary care hospitals adding that no negligence in observing these SoPs would be tolerated in future.

He said maintaining high standards of health care delivery to the citizens of the State should be observed at all costs and that the Governor’s Administration is committed to fill in all the existing gaps of manpower, equipment and infrastructure to strengthen the primary healthcare system across the State.

The Advisor sought recommendations to identify the lapses and gaps so that such incidents do not take place in future. He directed the Principal GMC Srinagar and Jammu and Director Health Services Kashmir/ Jammu to identify Nodal Officers who shall solely be responsible for streamlining the referrals from primary and secondary health care institutions to tertiary care hospitals in the State.

He said that directions have been issued as part of the ‘Auditing Mechanism’ that doctor’s prescription shall be inscribed with seal/ stamp mentioning name and credentials of the prescribing and referring doctor so that responsibilities can be fixed in any eventuality.

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‘Bukhari tried to sell PDP for his personal gains’

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Refuting that Altaf Bukhari’s name was at any point suggested as an interim president of the party, Vice President Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abdul Rahman Veeri on Monday said that seeking “self-promotion through illicit, undemocratic and unethical measures” was Bukhari’s sole agenda in PDP.
Veeri, in a statement, said that across the state, party functionaries, workers and activists en-masse support Mehbooba Mufti in her every endeavour to get the state out of the present cycle of violence.
“Every person associated with the PDP has witnessed how amid the tumultuous times Mehbooba Mufti built the party brick by brick and made it a guiding force in Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape,” Veeri said.
He added that in spite of taking over in very trying circumstances, PDP president ran the government with “integrity and caliber”.
“However, she was back-stabbed by some people especially Altaf Bukhari,” he said.
Veeri said that by giving out his desire to become PDP President, Bukhari had “exposed his real agenda which he initiated within days after Mufti saheb’s death.”
“For that he even made Nagpur Yatra in a bid to seek their blessings for forming the government at the cost of party and state interest. Ever since the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he tried to grab the party and sell it out for promotion of his personal ambitions,” said Veeri.
The PDP Vice President stated further that every person is now aware that when party President Mehbooba Mufti was standing firm before the government of India, Bukhari even went up to Nagpur to offer his services as an alternative. “Such action of his sabotaged the agenda of alliance and the negotiations Mehbooba Mufti was having with the government of India, demanding implementation of specific points in the agenda of alliance as a precondition for taking over as the Chief Minister of the state,” Veeri said.
The PDP veteran added that even when the government headed by Mehbooba Mufti was formed in April 2016, a clear signal was given to Bukhari as he was dropped from the cabinet. It was later, according to Veeri, on assurances of good conduct from Bukhari that his position was restored.
He said that the ousted leader had no problem with the party till the government was in place and he begun inventing issues soon after the dissolution of assembly.
“Till the dissolution, Bukhari had the hopes of getting the government back. Though, till then, he was behaving like a party man but his one foot was in PDP and his soul and spirit were with all other parties except PDP. He was in contact with the outlaws and even made hectic efforts to instigate rebellion within the party,” Veeri said, adding that soon after dissolution of assembly, Bukhari saw only one way of finishing the PDP and that was by taking over as president and he openly told some party leaders that he wants to take over as a prize for him to stay in the party.
“He had a one point agenda and that was to take over the party and sell it out for promoting his political and other interests. Now exposed, he is openly declaring his ambitions in public,” Veeri said.
He added that people of the state know Mehbooba Mufti as a person with “selfless courage and a desire to ensure betterment in peoples’ lives.”
“It is not Mehbooba Mufti who needs PDP. It is actually the PDP which needs the person of her stature. Her command and sincerity in work is already being praised by one and all, not only in JK but across the country. She has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression she has left on the minds of people is that she is actuated by high sense of fairness and impartiality. Every person associated with the PDP is proud of her leadership and is hopeful that she will lead the people of the state to their permanent prosperity,” said Veeri.

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Dy Mayor assaulted during SMC’s councilors session

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Sheikh Imran was Monday injured when “two corporators” allegedly assaulted him during the councilor session of the corporation.

He was shifted to police hospital for immediate treatment.

A senior police official confirmed the incident and said that a case has been registered and further action taken up.

 

After being discharged from hospital, Imran addressed a presser alleging that he was attacked by two “RSS and BJP-backed corporators”.

He said assault on him was pre-planned by the “BJP-backed mayor” and hoped that police will take appropriate action in the case.

“I will not bow down by such tactics. I will continue to speak against corruption and injustice,” he said, adding that he was attacked for launching a “tirade against BJP and Hindutva campaigns.” Imran said that he was committed to “kicking out” the BJP from Kashmir.

“From the first day, I urged the administration to look into the issue of BJP, RSS sponsored Mayor but they turned deaf ears to my pleas,” he said.

 

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