Citizens' Issues
Captain Lakshmi Sehgal is no more

Captain Lakshmi Sehgal was very active during the Independence movement and had commanded the 'Rani of Jhansi Regiment' of the INA formed by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose


Kanpur: Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, who was part of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army, died in Kanpur on Monday following a brief illness, reports PTI.
 
Sehgal (97), breathed her last at a private hospital at 11.20am, her daughter and noted CPI (M) leader Subhashini Ali said.
 
Sehgal, who was ill for some time, was admitted to the hospital on 19th July after she suffered a heart attack at her residence in Civil Lines area in Kanpur. She was kept on life support system.
 
She was very active during the Independence movement and had commanded the 'Rani of Jhansi Regiment' of the INA formed by Bose.
 
A doctor by profession, Sehgal was working as a medical practitioner and a social worker. She was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1998.
 
Born as Lakshmi Swaminathan to noted lawyer Dr S Swaminathan and social worker Ammu Swaminathan in Chennai on 24 October 1914, Sehgal obtained her MBBS degree from the Madras Medical College in 1938.
 
In 1940, she went to Singapore for further studies before coming back to India in 1943 to join the INA. She married Colonel Prem Kumar Sehgal in 1947 and had been residing in Kanpur since then.
 
Expressing grief over the demise of Sehgal, senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat remembered her as a "highly politically motivated human being who fought injustice wherever she saw it".
 
"She was a veteran CPI(M) leader and also a great freedom fighter. She served people with every ounce of strength," Karat said, terming Sehgal as a "symbol of courage" and a "symbol of woman's expression".
 
Ali said Sehgal's first love was always her profession. "Just weeks before falling ill, she used to regularly sit in her clinic to see patients," she said, adding that Sehgal would treat everyone who came to her, regardless of whether the patient had money or not.
 
Sehgal, who was residing in Kanpur since 1952, was also very close to her filmmaker grandson Shad Ali, and would "never miss" any film directed by him, her daughter said.
 
Sehgal joined CPI(M) in 1971 and was elected for Rajya Sabha on the party's ticket.
 
She also contested the 2002 Presidential polls against Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as a candidate for Left parties but lost.
 
Sehgal's body will be donated to the CSJM medical college here for medical purposes, Ali said.

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Is this how we teach medicine? The story of a Bangalore medical college

A private medical college, spread over 25-acres ran an advertisement for the post of “Project Director”. A candidate went for the farcical interview and noticed an absence of minimum standards of professionalism and hygiene


It was a scene straight out of the Bollywood movie—3 Idiots. The only difference was that in the movie, Boman Irani portrayed the arrogant, ill-mannered, egotistic, insensitive director of the engineering college. In this case, it was the chairman of an educational conglomerate located at the Southern end of Bangalore. The board runs an engineering college, a management college, a medical college and a hospital that supposedly gives free treatment to the poor. Named after a goddess, the medical college-cum-hospital is spread on a sprawling campus of 25 acres.
 
Niranjan Kelkar (not his real name) recounts his experience with bewilderment. An experienced professional with 24 years industry experience behind him, Niranjan applied for a job in the medical college that had been advertised in the newspapers. The post: “Project Director”. Niranjan had the skill sets and the experience mentioned in the advertisement.
 
Trudging from CV Raman Nagar to the outskirts of the city in order to reach the medical college took close to two hours. The lady who coordinated the meeting spoke broken English and better Kannada, but forunately gave him the correct time and venue for the meeting. Kelkar says, “I reached at 2pm for the interview scheduled at 2.15pm. There were 10  candidates who were directed to a huge auditorium. The interviews commenced an hour later. Some of us took a stroll around the campus and were shocked at the lack of hygiene. The washrooms were worse than public toilets.”
 
He continues, “There were just a few students roaming around in the campus in their white coats. Next to the auditorium was an anatomy department which prominently displayed the names of all faculty members but all rooms were locked. Opposite the auditorium was the anatomy lab where the college sub-staff was busy relishing an afternoon snack of onion fries. Barring a stretcher, the anatomy lab was barren”.
 
Niranjan was called in at 3.30pm. Just like the hangers-on with politicians, there were three to four men standing outside the chairman’s cabin sorting the profiles at the last minute.
 
Niranjan says, “When I entered the chamber, I saw a dhoti-clad man (the chairman) sitting on a chair and what looked like a personal assistant next to him.  I was dumbfounded to see a frail old man wipe the chairman's face with a towel, press his legs, arrange his dhoti and rearrange the cushion on the chair. No, the chairman wasn’t a paraplegic. He was as fit as a fiddle. As the frail man was doing these tasks, the chairman started firing questions at me. The annoying part was that he did not allow me to complete a single answer even as he kept on scribbling something on the resume.”
 
Then came the question of salary. The assistant, told me in broken English, “We look only at salary”. Niranjan wondered whether both these gentleman had even read his resume or understood his background. They were not interested. They finished their interview in 10 minutes saying, “We will have a second round of discussion depending on salary. Please note that though the designation is Project Director, it is an Admin Officer’s role. Since you have not worked in a medical college before, we will treat you as a fresh candidate”.
 
Niranjan says that he lost his cool after the way the duo behaved when he asked for their names. The chairman retorted, “Why you ask unnecessary questions? It is the chairman’s chamber and chairman sits in it”. Niranjan recalls, “They refused to shake hands. I told them that they had not understood my profile and were commenting on it without reading it”. 
 
On his way out, he met the lady who had called him to co-ordinate the interview. She apologised profusely saying that the chairman had already appointed a person and this entire tamasha was conducted to convince the board that the selection was based on merit. But more than anything, the arrogance of the chairman was astounding. Readers—if this is how he behaved at the time of the interview, imagine the plight of those working under him.
 
Also, the amenities in this private medical college leave a lot to be desired. If this is the state of affairs in this private college, imagine the quality of medical talent graduating from this institute. No wonder that there is no much anger and frustration with doctors.

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COMMENTS

S R Bala

5 years ago

Is it not prudent for you to lodge a formal complaint with the Medical Council of India or report to the Health Ministry. Writing articles here is not going to solve problems. You may just post these here for public awareness.

Subramanian Sankaran

5 years ago

Get on, get honor, get honest.....that is the motto of a majority of our entrepreneurs. Education is an industry and cannot be singled out for exception in this motto. We are going to see worse before the silent middle class is stirred out of its Rip Van Winkle slumber.

REPLY

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to Subramanian Sankaran 5 years ago

Sorry, not understood your comments. But thought of conveying this to you for clarification, if it is possible!

Please, try to be specific and clear.

Rajkumar Singh

5 years ago

It is sad to note that without understanding the message which is being conveyed here, just like in Facebook, most of the readers have started commenting for (like) it.

No one questioned him, what was the necessity and why the original names were withheld, not to speak of his own identity?

Was he scared to get reverse comments or for only to collect the comments for some hidden agenda, to me, it appears to be for tarnishing the image of that institution, where his unknown person was refused a job?

We deserve a clear clarification on this.

Rajkumar Singh

5 years ago

It is sad to note that without understanding the message which is being conveyed here, just like in Facebook, most of the readers have started commenting for (like) it.

No one questioned him, what was the necessity and why the original names were withheld, not to speak of his own identity?

Was he scared to get reverse comments or for only to collect the comments for some hidden agenda, to me, it appears to be for tarnishing the image of that institution, where his unknown person was refused a job?

We deserve a clear clarification on this.

Monappa

5 years ago

No use singling out an odd institution. The whole country's educational system, especially professional education,both in the Govt and private sector, needs an in depth study to see where we are headed.

Are we serious? Then we should force the Govt. to institute an independent expert panel to thoroughly audit the system and come up with the treatment.

The institution mentioned looked bad but, there are worse ones. Do not be surprised if you find that there are event management organisations to manage the watch dog bodies' inspection time procedures.

These could supply patients to sleep in the hospital beds, staff from Professor down to tutors to fill the deficiencies and what have you-all for a price! The inflation rate in getting seats for some, so called, prized subjects is phenomenal.

Possibly, this goes on under the very nose of the "so called" regulatory agencies! The number of people in our country who can not be bought for a price are dwindling by the day and are threatening to be extinct. Sooner we wake up the better. We need an educational revolution.

In India any one, I mean any one, who owns an educational institution becomes a respectable educationist. Any one who makes money, means do not matter, becomes the leader and is respected in society. How can you change that unless society realises the folly and starts respecting authenticity?

Aravinda Baliga B

5 years ago

No wonder with the ex MCI chief behind bars this should have been expected! But it is shocking that it is in a metro like Bangalore. What about the colleges in hinterland?

Deepak

5 years ago

Most of Corrupt, High Rank officials, Industrialist Real Estate developers have entered education field in last 5 - 7 years. Which is the root cause of the problem.
Instead Govt should have given licences to Professionals like Doctors, Qualifilied PHDs, Professors, Finance & Physical Education (Players & trainers) also eminent Administrators from Govt & Pvt sector.
I think down fall of Indian Education is in fast progess.

Ramesh

5 years ago

For general public it looks like thrilling revelation. Believe it what has mentioned is only tip of the iceberg. Not only Medical, even dental, pharmacy, nursing etc etc. is much more worser than any one can imagine. If one civil engineer fails to understand construction, others workers can reduce in process while in health one mistake can easily cost life.

It all boils down to one single word corruption from permission, inspection, approval, admission, examination, annual inspection, affiliation, late admission, attendance, evaluation, students interest everything is corrupted. Don't expect mango after sowing neem seed.

drsharmilaraopn

5 years ago

What is your issue here?
I hope that the issue was bad toilets,and farce of an interview.
The fact that the Lady could not speak fluent english should not have even been mentioned.
We have had people comming in from the north who speak nothing but Hindi,
You are looking at administrative issue, where does teaching come in?
Was this guy in for a teaching post?
Aren't non clinical faculty allowed vacations?
Clinical faculty would be in the clinic.
I am presenting possibilities

Rajat Bhatia

5 years ago

Excellent article. An eye opener on what is going on with the private sector educational institutions.

I had a similar bizarre experience with a compnay caled FIITJEE. They invited me for an interview with the Chairman recently for a job as their CFO / Fund Raiser from private equity firms and for doing an IPO on NYSE.

The Chairman never showed up for the meeting despite my staying at the FIITJEE office for 2 hours. I finally told their VP HR, "How can a company do an IPO on NYSE when the company Chairman cannot keep his time for a meeting".

India has some serious problems in healthcare, education and infrastructure in which the private sector is simply there to loot everyone. The government is even worse.

Ravindra

5 years ago

The person who must have made money permitting this medical college, the exChairman of Indian Medical Council, Mr. Desai,who was caught and was under investigation for couple of years and just 15 days back was released without charges.

Satyamev Jayate

captainjohann

5 years ago

If this is the case in bangalore where private Medical and Engineering colleges were started by Politicos or their henchmen, then one can imagine it in Madras.This is how anbumani Ramdoss made money and also the former chairman of MCI

Infrastructure or infra-fracture: Saga of never ending accidents

It is high time that the Indian government wake up to this grim reality that is not only resulting in delay in project executions but has been causing loss of lives as well

In last week’s accident, at least one person was killed and five others were injured when a slab of the under-construction monorail project crashed in a slum area at Wadala East in Mumbai, on the night of 19 July 2012. This has, once again, brought into focus the appalling safety standards, or the lack of it. It would not be out of place to mention the recent fire disaster at Mantralaya, at the seat of power of the Maharashtra government, but no lesson seems to have been learnt.

 
From Independence till very recently India has been referred to as a third world country, or an under-developed country, and no surprises about that. It is only with the advent of economic liberalisation and globalisation that commenced in 1991, which gradually saw our country shift from a third world country to an ‘emerging’ economy. With more and more investors in different parts of the world, especially troubled developed economies, seeking to have slice of the Indian pie, India has been the toast of foreign investors.
 
A country aspiring to have speedy growth and development has to pay great attention to creating the requisite infrastructure. However, one of the factors that distinguish a developed country from an emerging economy is not just the class, quality and spread of infrastructure but the standards of safety. Hence, in her desire to speed up development, India has attempted to modernise by providing latest world-class infrastructure as far as transportation is concerned. As a result, massive projects were announced in different cities ranging from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Jaipur, and so on. Several Indian cities are currently in different stages of implementation of infrastructure projects to meet the transportation needs of the rapidly growing urban populace. While the Kolkata metro came up a long time ago, the Delhi Metro that came up in recent years was held as a model of infrastructural excellence, in terms of execution. Unfortunately, after the initial phase of the Delhi Metro, almost all the metro and monorail projects across the country, including Delhi, have experienced disasters from time to time.
 
It is not that India lacks technical skills or competence, but the issue seems to be much deeper. In developed countries safety is a matter of serious concern while in India, with our ‘chalta hai’ attitude and the habit of cutting corners, we have been courting disasters almost as frequently to never-ending saas bahu serials on Indian television. What also cannot be discounted is the role corruption plays that downgrade safety standards.
 
In the context of the construction industry, including implementation of giant projects like the metro and the monorail, unorganised labour plays a vital in actual execution of such projects. The construction sector employs around 10 million people, and it is reported that the rate of fatal accidents in the sector is four to five times that of the manufacturing sector. 
 
Many infrastructure-related disasters have taken place across India over the past few years, apart from the last week’s Mumbai mono rail disaster at Wadala. Let us examine a few. 
On 25 March 2012, six people died and 18 others were injured when an under-construction bridge over the Alaknanda River collapsed near Srinagar, in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district. Similarly, earlier on 29 October 2011, a footbridge spanning a river in northeast India collapsed and, according to the police nearly 30 people were feared drowned.
 
Another footbridge, which was under construction, over the Barapullah flyover leading to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main Commonwealth Games venue in Delhi, collapsed on the afternoon of 22 September 2010. It was reported that 27 labourers were injured in the incident and few of them lost their lives.
 
A vital bridge constructed in 2009 by the Border Roads Organization’s Deepak Project, near Basantpur in Shimla on the strategic all-weather road for connectivity to the India-Tibet border collapsed on 30 July 2010. The road was used for transporting apples from Shimla and Kinnaur districts. In another case, a bridge over the Chambal River collapsed on the Kota-Udaipur highway on Christmas day of 2009, in which four people were killed and several others were trapped underneath the bridge.
 
To think that such things happen only in far off places away from the maddening crowds— think again; a water pipeline bridge collapsed on a train passing underneath in a Mumbai suburb on 23 October 2009. Yes, it was a double whammy as the passengers in the train became victims with two killed and several other injured.
 
On 13 July 2009, the crash that sent shock waves across the country, and more particularly amongst the top bosses of the government, was when five workers and a site engineer were killed along with 15 injured when a massive girder crashed down at a Delhi metro rail construction site in South Delhi. 
 
The year 2008 witnessed three major disasters. An under-construction bridge in Uri, situated west of Srinagar, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, collapsed and killed several persons. Second, an under-construction bridge on Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad National Highway collapsed too. Lastly but not the least, an accident that took place in on 19 October 2008, at a section of the Delhi Metro in the eastern part of the city, killed a person and injured several others. 
 
Lastly, how could one forget a major disaster, that struck on 10 September 2007, when at least 15 people were killed with several injured, when a flyover collapsed in one of the busiest areas of Hyderabad, a city that is modernising at great speed. 
 
Even the metro at Bengaluru has witnessed several big and small accidents at different locations in the city.
 
So the question that remains unanswered is why are construction accidents are so common in India with frequent crashes in different parts of the country from time to time?
 
It is not that Indian talent is any way inferior or less competent than their counterparts in developed countries. If at all, we churn out world-class engineers. The usual suspects for below par performance—deep and prevalent corruption, poor safety standards, weak accountability laws and never ending red-tape.
 
It is high time that the Indian government wake up to this grim reality which is not only resulting in delay in the execution of numerous important projects across the country, but has been causing loss of lives as well. At the same time it also conveys a very poor image of Indian engineers and workers which they don’t deserve.
 
(Dr SD Israni, advocate & partner, SD Israni Law Chambers, is one of India’s leading authority on corporate, commercial and securities laws. He was a member of the Naresh Chandra Committee for simplification of Company Law relating to private and small companies. He has been on SEBI's committee on disclosures (called the Malegam Committee) and the one on buy-back of shares. Dr Israni has been a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indian Merchants' Chamber and Indian Council of Arbitration. Dr Israni is an active member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and was on its Central Council for four terms and headed the Capital Markets Committee of the ICSI.)

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