Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dr Sethi, inventor of Jaipur Foot, dies- Hindustan Times

Dr Sethi, inventor of Jaipur Foot, dies- Hindustan Times
Dr Sethi, inventor of Jaipur Foot, dies
KS Tomar, Hindustan Times
Email Author
Jaipur, January 07, 2008
First Published: 01:23 IST(7/1/2008)
Last Updated: 02:01 IST(7/1/2008)

Magsaysay winner and inventor of the Jaipur prosthesis (rekno) ‘Jaipur Foot’, an artificial limb used all over the world for the physically challenged, Dr P.K. Sethi died of a cardiac arrest at private hospital on Saturday.

He was 80 and is survived by his wife Sulochana, son and three daughters. He was cremated in a local burial ground where a large number of people attended the funeral procession.

Dr Sethi first thought of the idea of working on the artificial limb mechanism in 1965, when he was prescribing solid-ankle-cushion-heel (SACH) feet to people with amputated lower limbs in Jaipur. He would ask users, in casual encounters outside the hospital setting, how satisfied they were with their new feet and found that many of them had returned to using crutches.

The production team had not realised that the SACH Foot, intended to be worn with shoes and for sitting in chairs, was not suitable for Indians who walked bare feet and sat on the floor. By 1970, with the help of his team members, Dr Sethi had come up with the new designs, which have since been known as the Jaipur Foot.

These devices have two other features that led to their popularity. First, they can be made easily by local artisans and with local materials. Therefore, once the design is known, they can be produced anywhere. Second, Dr Sethi’s team did not patent the designs, making them available free of charge and thus reducing the cost to users. As a result, the devices have proved useful not only in the ESCAP region, but also in Africa, and Latin America.

Former vice-president, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, governor S.K. Singh and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje have expressed their grief on the demise of Dr Sethi who had brought fame to Rajasthan as well as the country. Shekhawat said “Dr Sethi proved the ‘mesiah’ of handicaps who became self-dependent and started walking after the invention of Jaipur Foot by him.”

Born on November 23, 1927 at Agra who went on to win the Padmashree, Dr Sethi got his FRCS degree from Edinbera in England in 1954 and invented the Jaipur Foot in 1968. He practiced in Swai Man Singh Hospital and established a rehabilitation research centre.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

LEADER ARTICLE: Blame The Middle Class-Editorial-Opinion-The Times of India

LEADER ARTICLE: Blame The Middle Class-Editorial-Opinion-The Times of India
LEADER ARTICLE: Blame The Middle Class
8 Jan 2008, 0000 hrs IST,Ashis Nandy
Print Save EMail Write to Editor
Now that the dust has settled over the Gujarat elections, we can afford to defy the pundits and admit that, even if Narendra Modi had lost the last elections, it would not have made much difference to the culture of Gujarat politics. Modi had already done his job. Most of the state's urban middle class would have remained mired in its inane versions of communalism and parochialism and the VHP and the Bajrang Dal would have continued to set the tone of state politics. Forty years of dedicated propaganda does pay dividends, electorally and socially.

The Hindus and the Muslims of the state — once bonded so conspicuously by language, culture and commerce — have met the demands of both V D Savarkar and M A Jinnah. They now face each other as two hostile nations. The handful of Gujarati social and political activists who resist the trend are seen not as dissenters but as treacherous troublemakers who should be silenced by any means, including surveillance, censorship and direct violence. As a result, Gujarati cities, particularly its educational institutions are turning cultural deserts. Gujarat has already disowned the Indian Constitution and the state apparatus has adjusted to the change.

The Congress, the main opposition party, has no effective leader. Nor does it represent any threat to the mainstream politics of Gujarat. The days of grass-roots leaders like Jhinabhai Darji are past and a large section of the party now consists of Hindu nationalists. The national leadership of the party does not have the courage to confront Modi over 2002, given its abominable record of 1984.

The Left is virtually non-existent in Gujarat. Whatever minor presence it once had among intellectuals and trade unionists is now a vague memory. The state has disowned Gandhi, too; Gandhian politics arouses derision in middle-class Gujarat. Except for a few valiant old-timers, Gandhians have made peace with their conscience by withdrawing from the public domain. Gandhi himself has been given a saintly, Hindu nationalist status and shelved. Even the Gujarati translations of his Complete Works have been stealthily distorted to conform to the Hindu nationalist agenda.

Gujarati Muslims too are "adjusting" to their new station. Denied justice and proper compensation, and as second-class citizens in their home state, they have to depend on voluntary efforts and donor agencies. The state's refusal to provide relief has been partly met by voluntary groups having fundamentalist sympathies. They supply aid but insist that the beneficiaries give up Gujarati and take to Urdu, adopt veil, and send their children to madrassas. Events like the desecration of Wali Gujarati's grave have pushed one of India's culturally richest, most diverse, vernacular Islamic traditions to the wall. Future generations will as gratefully acknowledge the sangh parivar's contribution to the growth of radical Islam in India as this generation remembers with gratitude the handsome contribution of Rajiv Gandhi and his cohorts to Sikh militancy.

The secularist dogma of many fighting the sangh parivar has not helped matters. Even those who have benefited from secular lawyers and activists relate to secular ideologies instrumentally. They neither understand them nor respect them. The victims still derive solace from their religions and, when under attack, they cling more passionately to faith. Indeed, shallow ideologies of secularism have simultaneously broken the back of Gandhism and discouraged the emergence of figures like Ali Shariatis, Desmond Tutus and the Dalai Lama — persons who can give suffering a new voice audible to the poor and the powerless and make a creative intervention possible from within worldviews accessible to the people.

Finally, Gujarat's spectacular development has underwritten the de-civilising process. One of the worst-kept secrets of our times is that dramatic development almost always has an authoritarian tail. Post-World War II Asia too has had its love affair with developmental despotism and the censorship, surveillance and thought control that go with it. The East Asian tigers have all been maneaters most of the time. Gujarat has now chosen to join the pack. Development in the state now justifies amorality, abridgement of freedom, and collapse of social ethics.

Is there life after Modi? Is it possible to look beyond the 35 years of rioting that began in 1969 and ended in 2002? Prima facie, the answer is "no". We can only wait for a new generation that will, out of sheer self-interest and tiredness, learn to live with each other. In the meanwhile, we have to wait patiently but not passively to keep values alive, hoping that at some point will come a modicum of remorse and a search for atonement and that ultimately Gujarati traditions will triumph over the culture of the state's urban middle class.

Recovering Gujarat from its urban middle class will not be easy. The class has found in militant religious nationalism a new self- respect and a new virtual identity as a martial community, the way Bengali babus, Maharashtrian Brahmins and Kashmiri Muslims at different times have sought salvation in violence. In Gujarat this class has smelt blood, for it does not have to do the killings but can plan, finance and coordinate them with impunity. The actual killers are the lowest of the low, mostly tribals and Dalits. The middle class controls the media and education, which have become hate factories in recent times. And they receive spirited support from most non-resident Indians who, at a safe distance from India, can afford to be more nationalist, bloodthirsty, and irresponsible.

The writer is a political psychologist.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 CID names top cops in conspiracy CID names top cops in conspiracy

Gmail - Worth a read- Atlantic Monthly Article on Bangladesh -

Gmail - Worth a read- Atlantic Monthly Article on Bangladesh -
January/February 2008

Atlantic Monthly

Bangladesh - Waterworld

by Robert D. Kaplan

The URL for this page is

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 News - World Outsources Pregnancies to India News - World Outsources Pregnancies to India
World Outsources Pregnancies to India

Dr. Nayna Patel, right, counsels a woman, left, who wants to become a surrog...
Mon Dec 31, 12:24 AM EST

ANAND, India — Every night in this quiet western Indian city, 15 pregnant women prepare for sleep in the spacious house they share, ascending the stairs in a procession of ballooned bellies, to bedrooms that become a landscape of soft hills.

A team of maids, cooks and doctors looks after the women, whose pregnancies would be unusual anywhere else but are common here. The young mothers of Anand, a place famous for its milk, are pregnant with the children of infertile couples from around the world.

The small clinic at Kaival Hospital matches infertile couples with local women, cares for the women during pregnancy and delivery, and counsels them afterward. Anand's surrogate mothers, pioneers in the growing field of outsourced pregnancies, have given birth to roughly 40 babies.

More than 50 women in this city are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years. But the program raises a host of uncomfortable questions that touch on morals and modern science, exploitation and globalization, and that most natural of desires: to have a family.

Dr. Nayna Patel, the woman behind Anand's baby boom, defends her work as meaningful for everyone involved.

"There is this one woman who desperately needs a baby and cannot have her own child without the help of a surrogate. And at the other end there is this woman who badly wants to help her (own) family," Patel said. "If this female wants to help the other one ... why not allow that? ... It's not for any bad cause. They're helping one another to have a new life in this world."

Experts say commercial surrogacy — or what has been called "wombs for rent" — is growing in India. While no reliable numbers track such pregnancies nationwide, doctors work with surrogates in virtually every major city. The women are impregnated in-vitro with the egg and sperm of couples unable to conceive on their own.

Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002, as it is in many other countries, including the United States. But India is the leader in making it a viable industry rather than a rare fertility treatment. Experts say it could take off for the same reasons outsourcing in other industries has been successful: a wide labor pool working for relatively low rates.

Critics say the couples are exploiting poor women in India — a country with an alarmingly high maternal death rate — by hiring them at a cut-rate cost to undergo the hardship, pain and risks of labor.

"It raises the factor of baby farms in developing countries," said Dr. John Lantos of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Mo. "It comes down to questions of voluntariness and risk."

Patel's surrogates are aware of the risks because they've watched others go through them. Many of the mothers know one another, or are even related. Three sisters have all borne strangers' children, and their sister-in-law is pregnant with a second surrogate baby. Nearly half the babies have been born to foreign couples while the rest have gone to Indians.

Ritu Sodhi, a furniture importer from Los Angeles who was born in India, spent $200,000 trying to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, and was considering spending another $80,000 to hire a surrogate mother in the United States.

"We were so desperate," she said. "It was emotionally and financially exhausting."

Then, on the Internet, Sodhi found Patel's clinic.

After spending about $20,000 — more than many couples because it took the surrogate mother several cycles to conceive — Sodhi and her husband are now back home with their 4-month-old baby, Neel. They plan to return to Anand for a second child.

"Even if it cost $1 million, the joy that they had delivered to me is so much more than any money that I have given them," said Sodhi. "They're godsends to deliver something so special."

Patel's center is believed to be unique in offering one-stop service. Other clinics may request that the couple bring in their own surrogate, often a family member or friend, and some place classified ads. But in Anand the couple just provides the egg and sperm and the clinic does the rest, drawing from a waiting list of tested and ready surrogates.

Young women are flocking to the clinic to sign up for the list.

Suman Dodia, a pregnant, baby-faced 26-year-old, said she will buy a house with the $4,500 she receives from the British couple whose child she's carrying. It would have taken her 15 years to earn that on her maid's monthly salary of $25.

Dodia's own three children were delivered at home and she said she never visited a doctor during those pregnancies.

"It's very different with medicine," Dodia said, resting her hands on her hugely pregnant belly. "I'm being more careful now than I was with my own pregnancy."

Patel said she carefully chooses which couples to help and which women to hire as surrogates. She only accepts couples with serious fertility issues, like survivors of uterine cancer. The surrogate mothers have to be between 18 and 45, have at least one child of their own, and be in good medical shape.

Like some fertility reality show, a rotating cast of surrogate mothers live together in a home rented by the clinic and overseen by a former surrogate mother. They receive their children and husbands as visitors during the day, when they're not busy with English or computer classes.

"They feel like my family," said Rubina Mandul, 32, the surrogate house's den mother. "The first 10 days are hard, but then they don't want to go home."

Mandul, who has two sons of her own, gave birth to a child for an American couple in February. She said she misses the baby, but she stays in touch with the parents over the Internet. A photo of the American couple with the child hangs over the sofa.

"They need a baby more than me," she said.

The surrogate mothers and the parents sign a contract that promises the couple will cover all medical expenses in addition to the woman's payment, and the surrogate mother will hand over the baby after birth. The couples fly to Anand for the in-vitro fertilization and again for the birth. Most couples end up paying the clinic less than $10,000 for the entire procedure, including fertilization, the fee to the mother and medical expenses.

Counseling is a major part of the process and Patel tells the women to think of the pregnancy as "someone's child comes to stay at your place for nine months."

Kailas Gheewala, 25, said she doesn't think of the pregnancy as her own.

"The fetus is theirs, so I'm not sad to give it back," said Gheewala, who plans to save the $6,250 she's earning for her two daughters' education. "The child will go to the U.S. and lead a better life and I'll be happy."

Patel said none of the surrogate mothers has had especially difficult births or serious medical problems, but risks are inescapable.

"We have to be very careful," she said. "We overdo all the health investigations. We do not take any chances."

Health experts expect to see more Indian commercial surrogacy programs in coming years. Dr. Indira Hinduja, a prominent fertility specialist who was behind India's first test-tube baby two decades ago, receives several surrogacy inquiries a month from couples overseas.

"People are accepting it," said Hinduja. "Earlier they used to be ashamed but now they are becoming more broadminded."

But if commercial surrogacy keeps growing, some fear it could change from a medical necessity for infertile women to a convenience for the rich.

"You can picture the wealthy couples of the West deciding that pregnancy is just not worth the trouble anymore and the whole industry will be farmed out," said Lantos.

Or, Lantos said, competition among clinics could lead to compromised safety measures and "the clinic across the street offers it for 20 percent less and one in Bangladesh undercuts that and pretty soon conditions get bad."

The industry is not regulated by the government. Health officials have issued nonbinding ethical guidelines and called for legislation to protect the surrogates and the children.

For now, the surrogate mothers in Anand seem as pleased with the arrangement as the new parents.

"I know this isn't mine," said Jagrudi Sharma, 34, pointing to her belly. "But I'm giving happiness to another couple. And it's great for me."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Arise Awake Stop not till the goal is reached. - Swami Vivekananda Swami ji is my inspiration, not as a monk but as a social reformer and for his universal-ism.