Friday, February 23, 2007

Look at the Dalit basti!

Look at the dalit basti
What plight of humans!
From the belly rises fire,
But the chulha can not be lit.
- Bahinabai Chaudhari (1888-1951)

I am not in chains, not in chains:
I a neither diseased nor I am a healer.
Am not a Moman nor a Khafir am I,
Neither a Mulla nor a Saiyed,
Why ask Bulle Shah his caste?
Neither I created caste, nor am I born in one.
- Bulleh Shah (1680-1748)

Brahmin, Vaishya, Shudra or Kshatriya,
Dom, Chandal or Mlechchha: All have the same soul.
They can all attain purity, singing hymns to God:
It will liberate both – self and generations.
- Ravi Das (1398-1448)

Sugar cane is rough; the juice in it is sweet,
The bow is not straight but the arrow is,
River zigzags, but not the water in it.
Chokha isn’t beautiful but the God in him is.
Why get misled by outward appearances?
- Chokha Mela (14th century)

Actions, says Dadu, rank higher that one’s caste,
Think not, therefore, of anything else;
Social ranking is tainted,
Illumined are only noble thoughts.
- Dadu Dayal (1544 – 1603)

Immortal is the land I come from;
There are no Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Shudras or Vaishyas
No Mughals or Pathans, nor Saiyeds or Shaikhs;
The message humble Kabir brings, in essence, is:
Let’s go to that land.
- Kabir (1398-1518)

This set of poems is from a calender designed by Loknaad.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Aphorisms of Rudolf Virchow

Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow (1821 – 1902) was a German doctor, anthropologist, public health activist, pathologist, prehistorian, biologist and politician. His famous report titled Report on the Typhus Epidemic in Upper Silesia is an absolute classic and established him as one of the founding fathers of social medicine. Among his many talents Virchow was adept at coming up with catchy aphorisms. These are some of my favourites:

“Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing but medicine on a large scale.”

“It is the curse of humanity that it learns to tolerate even the most horrible situations by habituation.”

“Medical education does not exist to provide students with a way of making a living, but to ensure the health of the community.”

“The physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor, and the social problems should largely be solved by them.”

“My politics were those of prophylaxis, my opponents preferred those of palliation.”

“Virchow had a comprehensive vision. Pathology, social medicine, politics, anthropology. My model.” – Paul Farmer. Mine too :-)