One incident I was impressed with at the renowned CMC Hospital, Vellore was when my relative was undergoing angioplasty. It happened about a decade and half ago. When he was being wheeled out of his ward to the Operation Theatre, the nurse pulled the trolley bed to the door and stopped. After covering the unconscious patient with the green sheet, she folded her hands and offered prayers to God requesting good health for the patient.
Only witness to the incident from my family, I was left dumbstruck as all I had seen in my thirty years of life till then was nurses and ward boys fleecing patients and their relatives for money to provide each and every comfort or facility that the hospital promises.
Tradition Lives On
So, after a long gap, when I visited CMC again, in last year, this time with my father, I was pleasantly surprised to note the tradition of offering prayers does still exist there. Ever since, I was musing about this experience, which many others might have experienced. Finally, I thought this is a ritual that is embodied in tradition of CMC’s way of doing service. If a Christian organisation was doing service by providing medical treatment to the needy sections of the society, this should have been adopted by the society and replicated manifold.
As this country was a hub of knowledge in ancient years, in retrospect, it can be safely assumed about the learning prowess of the society was a better one, and all learning from the nature and ambiance were compiled into various customs and practices of this country. However, it appears the learning ability and adopting nature have subdued over time, probably due to being subjects of foreign rulers for a longer time.
We Should do More
Coming to the point of current context, I could not understand why there were no Hindu Medical College Hospitals, at least one for each state of India. Are our so called Hindu organisations, so poor they cannot afford to construct and maintain these? In contrast to the CMC, new addition to Vellore city was the Golden Temple constructed for the money goddess Lakshmi. I visited the temple and didn’t like the way devotees were treated. In fact, the practice of making devotees wait in lounges had become a fashion to increase interest about the temple.
In this particular temple, publicised as the Golden Temple, devotees have to walk through a prescribed route and never within one metre distance from the golden walls. I fail to understand from where the trust got the money to make a golden temple, and funnily, to the goddess of wealth herself. And, what happens to the collections is anyone’s guess.
OK! Leave the temple aside. Coming back to the hospital, when organisations of indigenous faith cries foul when Christian missionaries working for conversions in the garb of schools, why there were no efforts to establish and sustain schools and hospitals at rural and remote locations to prevent the poor from being enticed by institutions of other faith. In fact, such establishments will develop a healthy competition amongst all religions so that every religion will do something that is really good for the society. In fact, is this what all religions are supposed to do in the first place?
Here, I don’t mean to fail recognising the efforts of Hindu organisations. There are many Saraswathi Sisu Mandirs that are established by RSS. And there was one good organisation called Vanvasi Ashram that runs schools for children of forest dwellers and I had visited one of their places in the forests of Sonbhadra, UP. Most noticeable fact was that the kids were refusing to go home during summer holidays.
Yes, going to parents living in the jungle in a hut, without even proper drinking water, eating sparsely, that is whenever the mother could afford to feed her children. In primitive societies, it is the women folk that run the family, unlike so called civilised societies. Since my first visit, I started sending the expenses for one student in that particular school.
It is not my intention to appear as a gracious person, but I wonder, why the money that could be spent on providing these basic infrastructure and facilities was not being spend. No point of talking about the Government, as our past heads of Government have accepted the systemic failure in our kind of governance. Remembering this, I didn’t surrender my subsidy on LPG, when the PM was advocating for this. Not being personal, though his intention is good, let the Government improve its efficiency in all spheres and reduce the overall cost burden of unnecessary expenditure.
A video of PM Modi, asking people to give up LPG subsidy
Anyway, only depraved and deprived can expect the Government to be responsible for their lives. So, when in our society many religious functions can be organised with much fanfare and cost to the exchequer, what the organisations that were advocating for the local religion were doing. They are doing something, but it is not sufficient.
At the most, for each hospital, even if roughly ten crores was required, either RSS or VHP can easily raise this money so that they can build one hospital in each state, at least. If they spend this money each year, in twenty and five years, almost all districts will have one affordable hospital that can cater to the needs of poor. Same applies for educational institutions, and in many states, these are run like business houses by renowned politicians. In some states, people established educational institutions have morphed into politicians.
Being the land where the doctrine of Karma has originated, I wonder, what all the billions (not millions) these people are accumulating during their life time. After all, Kabir stated long ago: Poot Kapoot to kyon Dhan sanchay, poot sapoot to kyon dhan sanchay…
One shloka from Upanishads says: Dhan (Money) has three stages, Anubhav (Enjoyed), Daan (Gifted) & Naash (Ruined).
I am not praising the activities of Christian missionaries in general, for I also experienced a little bit of sarcastic comments from my teachers in the missionary school where I studied briefly. And I have had my share of good and not so good friends from other religions and regions. My contention here is a simple one. Why not organisations of local religion are not establishing schools and hospitals. These won’t cost a fraction of money spent on melas. I do hope sincerely, someone connected to these organisations reads this piece and acts, before it is too late.
By Rama Krishna Prasad