Homeopathy is as scientific as is modern medicine. If a sensible doctor that knows both the systems well tries for a good combination many present day incurable diseases could be managed to the extent possible
I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime—Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
There is a raging controversy over homeopathy, especially in the west. One of the London newspapers has a weekly column by a young modern medical doctor writing to convince the readers that homeopathy is nothing but a fraud on the gullible public. I am sure that column is sponsored by some vested interests and the author might not have had long enough experience with modern medicine to get to know the frustrations of a conscientious practitioner about its failings. While the writer gets a full page every week, the poor chaps who have to rebut that get hardly any chance. One gets an impression from those writings that while modern medicine is perfect and is a panacea for all human ills, there is absolutely no need to look beyond its frontier and try to get succor from fraudsters in homeopathy!
Origins of homeopathy
Homeopathy, like modern medicine, started as an art based on some scientific principles in the eighteenth century by a modern medical doctor Samuel Hahnemann who was born in Meissen in Germany in the year 1755. Mr Hahnemann’s frustrations in modern medicine led him to look for help outside. While translating the materia medica of a Scottish doctor by name Cullen, Mr Hahnemann chanced upon the pharmacology of quinine. He took a very small dose of quinine which gave him almost identical symptoms of febrile illnesses. Thus was born the pharmacology of homeopathy. “Similia similibus curantur”, like cures the like, was the basic principle. Every homeopath should be a prover in the sense that s/he should try the medicine on oneself to see the symptoms in a healthy individual before using that drug for curative purposes.
Materia Medica of homeopathy
Mr Hahnemann was impressed by his studies of many other drugs like ipecac, opium, etc, and by 1810 he had collected so many similar drug reactions that the general law of homeopathy was laid by then in his book, The Organon or the art of healing. The symptom complexes that occur in healthy individuals are called “proving” or “pathogenesis.” Between the work of Mr Hahnemann and his followers hundreds of substances are added on to the homeopathic materia medica. This system claims that it is “therapy for the whole man”; consequently, is better suited for a dynamic system like the human body where reductionism has no place. There is no quarrel with allopathy as this system tries to help the body use its immune guard against a disease while allopathy tries to hit the disease on its head to get rid of it. If judiciously used in combination, they might even complement each other.
Modern Science of homeopathy
Edward Calabrese, the then director of research at Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling’s department of chemistry at Berkeley, was the one that discovered a new phenomenon called “Hormesis.” Derived from the word hormo (encourage) the new phenomenon shows that any chemical molecule in its very small doses is always bio-positive while the same drug in its larger doses could be bio-negative. Mr Calabrese’s PhD student elegantly showed that a tomato a day, containing about 25 mg of vitamin C, is very strongly bio-positive while the same vitamin C in larger doses could be dangerously bio-negative in the long run! Similar was the experience of the father of America’s hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, who described radiation hormesis while working in the Nevada Desert to explode bombs, showing that very minute doses of radiation, in fact, could improve human health significantly while larger doses do kill. These two people got into serious trouble with their establishments for showing the truth and suffered a lot. That is for another occasion. Hormesis shows that homeopathy has a better claim on human healing compared to allopathy.
Science of water structure
Professor Rustum Roy, an octogenarian, is the father of nano and material sciences at the Penn. State University. He is of Indian origin from Bengal. A brilliant man, professor Roy, with an enviable reputation in the comity of scientific nations, all of whom have honored him with their highest awards, has been at the forefront of research on the structure of water. However, the Swedish Academy failed to recognize him despite being nominated twenty one times for the Nobel since his first ground breaking paper on Sol-Gel technique to extract nano particles in 1954. His students did get the award though. One of the reasons is that he is a humane scientist who goes after the truth ruthlessly.
His original work on the structure of the water along with the work of Professor Martin Chaplin’s at South Bank University, London, has established beyond doubt that water has a very complicated structure. Any chemical put into water changes the structure for ever and further dilutions do not change the structure. This is the signature of the chemical in water. Chemical analysis by conventional methods does not show the presence of the original chemical but the water structure remains changed as per its signature. That is how the very dilute homeopathic solutions work.
Lots of people have an idea that homeopathy is only a placebo and not effective otherwise. This is not true. That said, I must hasten to add that the so called placebo effect is now measureable scientifically. There are many studies of modern medical drugs, leading ones being the expensive anti-psychotic drugs that have been tested against placebo tablets in patients. Almost all of those drugs were less effective than the placebo in the management of depression, anxiety etc. Similar studies have been done against some pain-killers also. Curiously there were studies to find out the basis of the placebo effect in the human system. While a patient has faith in his/her doctor and takes a placebo, the forebrain produces very powerful chemicals that work on the hind brain and through that on the whole system. Studies have also tried to block the release of those powerful chemicals from the forebrain using the blocking drug Naloxone prior to the testing with placebo. Lo and behold, there was no placebo effect and there were no chemicals getting to the hind brain at all. In other words placebo effect is a reality and not pseudo-science!
Therefore, even if one were to think that homeopathy is only a placebo, it does not belittle its importance as most of our modern medical drugs are worse than placebos. The added advantage is that placebo does not have side effects as the good effects are happening through body’s own generation of healing chemicals from the forebrain. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a Harvard-trained doctor who became a poet and a writer for a living had this to say about the placebo effect of a humane doctor’s work. “The two most powerful drugs ever produced are the two kind words of a humane doctor,” he wrote and added that “if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the seas it would be that much better for mankind but that much worse for the fishes.” That statement has to be written in golden letters today what with Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) becoming the fourth leading cause of death in the United States of America.
Homeopathy is as scientific as is modern medicine. Neither of them is perfect, though. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages in equal measure. If a sensible doctor that knows both the systems well tries for a good combination many present day incurable diseases could be managed to the extent possible. Unfortunately, there has not been significant progress in the science of homeopathy for a long time. What research happens is only repetitive but not refutative to demolish the myths and take knowledge forwards. Science suffers from this malady for some time now. To understand nature (human system) good scientists must come together to understand one another.
Division of science (method to unravel nature’s secrets) into smaller compartments will only hinder growth and understanding, like the Law of Thermodynamics which says that anything that divides ultimately disappears. Even inside these divisions there are sub-specialties. They try to know more and more about less and less until they know more and more about nothing. What we need in every field for progress is not information and knowledge but wisdom. Hope homeopathy would progress to be a real good method of relieving human suffering, especially for the minor illness syndromes, which form the bulk of sick absenteeism on any given day! It could also be a boon to the poor who bear the brunt of most illnesses but can not hope to go for top heavy prohibitively expensive modern medical methods.
Choose being kind over being right, and you'll be right every time—Richard Carlson
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former vice-chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])
A group of young techies from Hyderabad who at one time or the other faced problems in getting their work done through several government departments used RTI with great success. They formed the ‘It’s Time to Make a Difference’ (ITMD) organisation to help others use RTI, which just celebrated its third anniversary
Note the following postings by RTI (Right to Information) users on the website of `It’s Time to Make a Difference’ – www.itmd-india.org
23 December 2011:
Waited for my son’s passport for over nine months... Everything was fine with my application but just the dispatch was pending for no acceptable reason. Tried to know reasons for this delay through an RTI application but the reply I received was so vague and unclear. Filed another RTI application with patience and this time ‘strongly requested’ (rather demanded) for clear and valid information... I got my kid’s passport within 3-4 weeks with a formal reply from passport officer.
You really don’t need to run around the offices or bribe any corrupted employees. Just use this powerful weapon of RTI. It certainly works. Try once.
Thanks to ITMD team and www.itmd-india.org for providing valuable information. Request everyone not to encourage agents at all.
12 December 201: Sridhar
I have received my passport after a struggle of six months. Since the last six months my passport status was "Police report not received."
With the help of ITMD’s Passport RTI templates I addressed my RTI application to the CPIO, Hyderabad. Immediately after one week my status changed to "Passport has been granted and is expected to be dispatched by 05-12-2011. Subject to all documents being in order." .I got my passport on 10 December 2011.
Thanks ITMD team for motivating, supporting and guiding with RTI forms.
18 October 2011: Veerendra
I have successfully used RTI, with the help of the ITMD team, to get my daughter’s passport within two months of submitting a RTI application and after waiting for more than four months initially. Here are the milestones:
It all began in 2008 for Y Panasa Rama Krishna, president of the ‘It’s Time to Make a Difference (ITMD) organization and a young techie from Hyderabad, when his infant daughter did not receive her passport despite having submitted all the relevant documents.
Harassed by the illogical and rude attitude of the passport officer, he filed a RTI asking for the reasons for the delay in getting the passport. After the stipulated 30 days, he got a reply stating that he had not submitted a particular document. Mr Krishna says, “I was confident that I had submitted the required documents and the RTI reply was another way to harass me. I therefore filed a First Appeal with the appellate authority in the Delhi Passport Office which directed the CPIO to provide me the requisite information. Instead, I promptly received my passport.”
Realising the power of RTI, he, along with his other colleagues of his IT company, focused on four main areas where a common man faces hurdles and harassment. They were: passport, income tax returns, provident fund and domestic gas cylinder. To facilitate citizens in invoking RTI for their problems, they formed an organisation called ‘It’s Time to Make a Difference’ (ITMD) and floated a website: www.itmd-india.org wherein they guide citizens on how to file a RTI application including emailing templates of RTI applications to them.
The result: The Hyderabad Passport Office is inundated with RTI applications demanding reasons for delay in procuring of passports. Thanks to IMTD, 1,100 such RTI applications have been filed at the Hyderabad Passport Office since the last three years, which has resulted in 95% of the applicants promptly receiving their passports, which were otherwise kept on hold due to flimsy reasons. Mr Krishna states that passport applicants are really not interested to merely find out the status of their passport under RTI, they want to have the passport. “We recommend them to ask for reasons of delay in their passport under RTI and most often they promptly get the passport, thanks to the pressure on the passport officer of a RTI having filed.”
Says Mr Krishna, “...otherwise, the passport officer would only give an ear to someone who has gone through an agent, or if he or she is a friend of the passport office staff or if he or she is a VIP. Although fortnightly ‘Adalats’ are held in the passport office, they are a mere eyewash. The passport officer’s attitude towards the common people who rightfully submits documents is appalling and annoying.”
Thus, the IMTD’s success story has been scripted by software engineers —Y Panasa Rama Krishna, Raghavendra Addepalli, Keerti Botla, Pratheek Murki, Sri Harsha Vuppala, Sameer Nandan Menda and Meghashyam Rankireddy. Besides, their website through which at least 100-150 passport applications, 20-30 income tax applications and 10-15 provident fund applications are filed under RTI every month, they hold various workshops and RTI sessions to spread the word of this citizen-friendly law.
The genesis of ITMD is, in a way, a reaction to the horrendous 26/11 Mumbai terror. The website states: “On 26 November 2008, the whole country came to a standstill because of a war waged by an extremist group of people on our financial capital. The war lasted for a solid 72 hours. We lost many brave men and women who succumbed to the rain of bullets sprayed by the extremists. We might have won this particular war, but we are still under threat from these dangerous extremist groups which are constantly trying to disturb the harmony of our country. 26/11 shook the entire country and made everyone realize that one can no more be oblivious of the scheme of things around him. We may be happy in our own small world but that does not guarantee continuous welfare.”
Hence, the motto of the ITMD is two words—Do It. Mr Krishna states in the website that, “ITMD is a group of like-minded people who strive to bring positive change in the society by taking up initiatives targeted towards social well being. We are used to expecting someone to take the lead, expecting someone else to do something. To top it all, we have the tendency to blame everything on the government as it is the one that has to face the situation. We realized that we do not always have to wait for someone to come and bring the positive change around. If we care about it we can change it, too. We looked around us and found that there are problems and yet there are people who could get together to solve them. It is then that the realization dawned that It’s Time to Make a Difference.”
ITMD has succeeded in using RTI for common problems like overflowing garbage, bad streetlights, low quality construction of roads and illegal encroachments. In several cases, the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has been compelled to improve its governance.
Members of the ITMD have to strictly abide by the five rules:
ITMD has recently submitted a report to the Andhra Pradesh State Information Commission on the status of various government departments on whether they have abided by the Section 4 of the RTI Act pertaining to suo moto disclosure.
With a thrust to create awareness about RTI and inspire citizens to use this law in large numbers, IMTD members have made an interesting bookmark which states: “Our Constitution gives us six fundamental rights which uphold civil liberties in our country. It is only when we interpret these rights in their true spirit that we realize how powerful they are. It is one such interpretation of one of the rights (Right to Freedom) that gave us an effective and powerful act through which we can hold our government accountable. The Act is called Right to Information Act, 2005.’’
IMTD holds RTI sessions for any group of citizens who would be interested in knowing about the RTI Act. The contacts are: Helpline: 91 9966311692; email: [email protected]
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte. She can be reached at [email protected])
With accounting standards that keep changing from hour to hour, the balance sheets become irrelevant pieces of garbage. Yes, you will have statutory compliance, but the investor is thoroughly misled
There is wonderful news for companies that are sitting on liabilities in foreign currency. The corporate affairs ministry has put its foot in the domain of the guild called the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and said that these liabilities can be ignored from the accounting statements till 2020. Effectively, losses on foreign exchange can be taken directly to the balance sheet, without going through the profit and loss account!
This is very much like the ministry of health changing the name of a terminal disease from, say, cancer, to a minor disorder like ‘fever’. Everyone should be happy.
It is amazing how the government comes in to fool the investing public. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) comes in and relaxes norms relating to recognition of bad debts. It permits banks to ‘reschedule’ loans so that they do not have to reduce their profits on account of doubtful loans. And the stupid banks will report ‘higher’ profits and pay taxes on it too! And the brokerages will come out with research reports that will end up comparing apples with tomatoes.
The length to which the government bodies connive with industry bodies to hide things from investors is amazing. And the body called ICAI just keeps it mouth shut.
Now, the accounting standards are supposed to be the sole domain of the ICAI. If the RBI or the corporate affairs ministry permits laxity in accounting norms, should the former toe the line? Is it not the job of the ICAI to qualify the accounts and quantify precisely the impact on the bottomline due to changes brought about by some fiat issued by a third party? If they do not do this, they are not being true to their profession and the investors have a right to seek explanations from the auditors. The auditors should simply ignore the change in reporting standards permitted by some unrelated entities and expose the scam for what it is.
It is no wonder that Indian equities are viewed with suspicion. With accounting standards that keep changing from hour to hour, the balance sheets become irrelevant pieces of garbage. Yes, you will have statutory compliance, but the investor is thoroughly misled.
In case, the rupee gains and there are exchange profits, will the companies stop reporting these? Why are rules and norms being designed to simply pretend that things are fine when they are not? There seems to be a concerted effort between various government agencies and the industry associations to fool the investing public at large. And in this, bodies like the ICAI have become a ‘handmaiden’, who does not care about the fact that it owes legal allegiance to the shareholders and not to the promoters.
The end result would be financial results that are boosted by heavy doses of ‘steroid’ and even the analyst body would not do anything about this. The promoters will use these fairy-tale accounts to raise more money from the public and the banking system. The banking system will in turn use these fairy-tale customers to boost their numbers and fool the public.
It is best to avoid all companies with any kind of foreign exchange liabilities. One simply does not know whether the company is already bust or just bluffing.