I was recently invited to speak at a TEDx event organised by a school in Hyderabad. Given my research interests on health equity, I chose to build my talk around a foundational element of public health itself: what makes one healthy, is it a matter of chance (for eg. through genes), or by choice (through specific “healthy” behavioural choices, one “chooses”).
Caring for a chronically ill family member is physically and emotionally taxing. I have seen in such situations people struggling with questions on the larger meaning/purpose of life, death, well-being, happiness and such. The very capacity to love and empathize (either oneself or our loved ones) get tested in such situations. I have heard single mothers working daily wages asking if their severely disabled and mentally ill children can be assisted to die… I have also heard parents in extreme poverty lament caring for a severely mentally ill child. These provoke questions at various levels ranging from what is the role of the onlooker/health worker in such situations to the larger question of who’s to blame and whom to hold accountable for such a pathetic situation that some households find themselves in. Is it not largely due to failure of systems and services. Is it just by pure chance that these situations are more taxing in poorer and disadvantaged households?
These are interesting times in India, no doubt. Our new prime minister, Narendra Modi is ensuring that India’s global reputation as a progressive, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society with a rich history is not tarnished by several recent reports of sexual violence on women or inter-religious conflict. Immediately after assuming office about a year ago, Modi took India’s image very seriously, perhaps more seriously than many of us imagined. Continue reading →