Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Sex in Indian ancient medical literature

The famous Vatsayana’s Kamasutra is a monumental work in this area. The idea of male-female attraction is the strong foundation for the preservation of the species


Man is born with only two natural instincts—self preservation and procreation. No one need teach anyone, or for that matter any living being, as to how to procreate. The idea of male-female attraction is another strong foundation for the preservation of the species. In fact, some of the male rhine deer could follow the trail of a female in heat just by the smell of the latter’s pheromones in the hoofs of the female during heat, that could be dug as deep as twelve feet in snow. Nature is a wonderful wonder. 


Without the male-female copulation the very foundation of a broad-based genetic material for the offspring can not be assured. I have written extensively in an article entitled God forgotten and Man sleighted, about the futility of cloning to produce the offspring of one’s choice. One could only make a look-alike but never another replica to do exactly what the scientist intends the offspring to do. The consciousness develops largely based on the environment. Today even genetic researchers have realized the futility of engineering the genes alone as gene-penetrance depends on the environment to a great extent and the human chromosome has only twenty-five thousand human genes while it has three billion germ genes!  


In this background it is very unlikely that the Indian scholars of yore had not thought about it. In fact, in his very exhaustive work on Indian sexuality the author, Peter Rahul Das, has gone very deep into the deep jungle of literature in this area in the Indian science and has come up with some fascinating material that could be a field for further research. The famous Vatsayana’s Kamasutra is a monumental work in this area. I refer a serious reader to the book mentioned below, The Origin of A Human Being, for which I wrote the following review in one of the leading medical journals in the country, the National Medical Journal recently. It is here for the reader to study.


This is one book that bowled me completely for the first time—all three stumps had flown away! A real spinner it was. For sometime I wondered why the editor chose me to review this book, but came up with no easy answers. I sat down to read the book for the second time and that is the reason for the inordinate delay in reviewing this book. Finally, here it is. 


During the course of my second reading I remembered a similar book that I had read earlier having had similar difficulty in comprehending the essence. It was The Birth of the Clinic (An archeological medical perception) written by Michel Foucault. Both the books deal with birth, in the first of the human baby and in the second of the medical clinic. 


I have no hesitation to echo the sentiments expressed by Marguerite Howe of The Nation who wrote in her review the following passage about the author, Michel Foucault that could easily be written about the author of this great work, Rahul Peter Das: “Elegant, arrogant, razor-blade brilliant. Foucault nevertheless wears his learning lightly: he may be outrageous but he is never dull…..” I thought Marguerite was verbalizing my thoughts about Rahul just at the time I finished reading The Origin of the Life of a Human Being for the second time.


Mind-boggling details of the ancient Indian medical and paramedical texts referred to in this book amazed me. Caraka, Sushruta, Vaagbhata or two Vaagbhatas, Vatsyaayaana, Svetaketu, Cakrapanidatta, and a host of others in addition to the Greek and Yunani writers of importance were extensively quoted throughout the text. The detailed references with their Sanskrit renderings are amazing. This scholarly book reads like a PhD thesis with its intricate discussion points with protagonist and the antagonist views having been given equal weightage with the writer not being judgmental to begin with. However, he sums it all up for a lazy reader at the end in a very lucid chapter where he cites the role of the woman in conception, delivery and also her role in the sexual act. 


The detailed discussion of the two fluids, arthava and sukra, the female and the male procreatory fluids essential for a new life, their origin, their flow, their importance in orgasm, the sex of the child, as also their role in the origin of the human being are clearly discussed with reference to all the texts referred to above. One of the curious facts that I noticed was the description fitting that of the long disputed (in western medicine) Grafenberg spot on the anterior vaginal wall that could get stimulated during coitus to produce the “female semen” referred to in Indian texts many times. 


One point here deserves special mention and that is the truth brought out in this study of the role of the female sexual pleasure as an important contributing factor for the evolution of the human being since conception is regarded as being possible only if both man and the woman have an orgasm. Even the birth of a male heir depends to a large extent on this. May be there is a possibility that pregnancy did not result in the absence of female orgasm.


Be that as it may, this book brings to fore many important aspects of Indian thought in an area of great significance. The western thought up until the eighteenth century did agree with this view but, has since changed.


This book deserves the respect from all those interested in serious research into our ancient wisdom. It also deserves special respect for the scholarly exposition of the subject matter under study. That said, I must hasten to add that this is not the book for a casual reader or for bedtime reading. It is a very serious book that needs to be studied in depth to get at the core of the matter. While I congratulate the author for the exhaustive narrative I wonder what would be its market value, as it could, at best, be of reference value. I feel that any library worth its salt must have a copy of this book.  


(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 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.)



The Buy Side: A Wall Street trader’s tale of spectacular excess

The atmosphere of the trading floor is well captured and many characters will stay with you after reading. There are no boundaries when it comes to milking a dollar

“The Buy Side” in Wall Street parlance refers to those who manage the money.  They are the ones who place the ‘buy’ orders with the brokerage houses, which are referred to as the ‘sell’ side. “The Buy Side” by Turney Duff, a Wall Street hedge fund trader is a fast paced read. By now, nothing of Wall Street excesses shock or surprise anyone.

This book is his story on Wall Street between 1994, when he started on the ‘sell’ side before moving on to the ‘buy’ side after three to four years. He came from a small place in the US to make his life as a journalist and ends up joining Wall Street, thanks to the clout of one of his uncles who has enough push to get him placed, irrespective of his total absence of interest, knowledge or background about investing and stocks.

To his credit, he picks up enough to graduate from a dealing room assistant to a partner in a hedge fund, investing money in hedge funds, where portfolios are churned on a minute-by-minute basis.

The book shows the cosy relationship between the ‘sell’ side and the ‘buy’ side. The sell side gets its commissions on the business done by the ‘buy’ side. The buy side gets its money from delivering returns and getting a fee on managing the money plus a share on the gains it delivers to its investors. So the ‘sell’ side has to offer every imaginable temptation ( booze, drugs, women, cruises, and every other form of entertainment or pandering required in order to get a higher share of business) and the ‘buy’ side has to ‘cultivate’ some special contacts who give them the edge of ‘early’ warnings about changes in events that will move the price of a stock in a big way. Without this, it is difficult for someone to deliver spectacular returns that will draw in yet more money under management.

Turney Duff acquires the skills needed to be a successful ‘buy’ side money manager. He makes no bones about the ruthlessness needed to overcome conscience bites when money is at stake. The book also shows the power that the ‘buy’ side has that makes the sell side grovel and eat a humble pie at every turn.

The book is a good chronicle of the excesses that the money management industry ails from. From excessive salaries and bonuses to lifestyles that make million dollar salaries seem inadequate, Wall Street gets a tick in the box for every known (and some unknown) ills. There are no boundaries when it comes to milking a dollar.

Turney Duff’s book is also a journey of the decline and fall in his personal life thanks to his dealing with temptations in the easier way—by succumbing to them. Drugs, booze and sex become so much a part of his life that they finally kill his career in a brutally short period.

Turney Duff worked for Morgan Stanley, Galleon (of the Rajarathinam insider trading fame), Argus and Kramer Berkowitz. The atmosphere of the trading floor is well captured and many characters will stay with you after reading.

The book is also a chronicle of the poor habits controlling and destroying a career and a person. His addiction to cocaine and the description of his binges makes one wonder how he could recall so many details. Addiction to drugs and booze combined with an extravagant lifestyle leaves someone poor at the end of nearly two decades on Wall Street.  And with many of those years giving seven and eight figure dollar salaries!  In an industry where the high paying jobs have no continuity beyond the day you finish your work surely needs a strong temperament to survive. Career spans are short because competition is on whom you know and when you know rather than what you know. Performances are ranked every day. Temptations thrown at you each moment and the ease at which one succumbs are perhaps directly in relation to the stay in the profession. An industry in whose dictionary the words morals, honesty and trust are missing. The dividing line between right and wrong is only evident if one is caught.

Turney Duff himself comes across as someone who oscillates between what is good and what he does to make his living, but not strong enough to keep off the grass and the glass. His “after- hours” became so big that it ruined his life.

This book may not be ‘news’ to those in the money management industry. It is not on par with something like “Bonfire of Vanities” or “Liar’s Poker” in terms of literary milestones. However, it is a breezy read and well written by a Wall Street insider who aspired to be a journalist. Don’t look for any inside or new financial scoops either.


Unilever raises stake in HUL to 67% via open offer

“Based on the shares tendered which represent 14.8% of HUL, Unilever would increase its stake from 52.48% to 67.28%,” Unilever Plc said in a statement on Thursday night

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods major Unilever Plc has increased its stake in the Indian arm Hindustan Unilever (HUL) to 67.28%, following an open offer which commenced on 21 June and closed on Thursday.


The company fell short of its target as it had planned to hike the stake in HUL to 75% through the open offer from the earlier stake of 52.48%.


“Based on the shares tendered which represent 14.8% of HUL, Unilever would increase its stake from 52.48% to 67.28%,” Unilever Plc said in a statement on Thursday night.


Shareholders of HUL tendered 319,699,278 shares during the tender period for the open offer, it added.


“The offer price of Rs600 per share values the transaction at approximately Rs191.8 billion (Rs19,180 crore) or 2.45 billion euros (based on prevailing foreign exchange rates),” the company said.


Commenting on the development, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “We are pleased to have received such a good response to our voluntary open offer and that—as a result—we will significantly increase our stake in Hindustan Unilever, an excellent Indian business with a proud heritage and the potential for attractive long-term growth”.


The company said that on completion of the verification of shares tendered, the details of the final acceptance will be communicated by Unilever plc on 11 July 2013.


“The payment for shares tendered and accepted will be completed on or before 18 July 2013, at which point Unilever Plc will acquire full beneficial ownership of the shares tendered and accepted in the open offer,” it added.


The open offer was first announced on 30 April 2013 and is being managed by HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Pvt Ltd.


HUL's portfolio includes leading brands such as Lux, Lifebuoy, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Sunsilk, Pepsodent, Closeup Axe, Brooke Bond, Bru, Knorr, Kissan, Kwality Wall's and Pureit.


The company, which employs over 16,000 employees, posted net sales of Rs26,317.15 crore for the 2012-13 fiscal. Shares of HUL were trading at Rs600.75 on the BSE in morning trade, up 2.27% from its previous close.



Gool Daruwalla

3 years ago

HUL on 5 Jul 2013 was LTP at 609/=.

Gool Daruwalla

3 years ago

HUL will have to raise the price of the buy back offer to Rs.800/= if it wants to further acquire a stake from the public, to bring its holding to 75%. HUL paid UIEL Inr1800/= to demerge the export unit from the parent body sometime back. Do you still feel that the INR 600/- they offered the public was a good deal ???

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