Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect 

One would have thought that being a Child Specialist is a safe, selfless and innocent profession, especially when it is practiced among the poor and the disadvantaged of the country. Not necessity so, especially if you happen to work among the poor in Chattisgarh and have the rare penchant of matching your walk by some talk. I say rare because most of us would find it far easier to talk rather than match it with some walk. 

 

Dr. Binayak Sen., a pediatrician has worked in the Naxal-hit villages of Chhattisgarh for many years. He is a rare man as most pediatricians sit in cities and make money or go abroad. But Dr. Sen was arrested recently and sent to Raipur central jail supposedly because of his Naxalite convictions. I do not know Dr. Sen myself but I have friends who do. And they tell me that his profession was that of saving lives, especially those of children and no one who knew him could accuse him of having gone to some one’s house and shot them down with a gun or commit some other wanton act of terrorism which would deserve such an arrest. 

 

On the contrary , Dr. Sen seems to have picked up a calling to serve and work in a place where few would go, possibly having picked up the vision from his Alma Mater, the Christian Medical College in Vellore. In Chattisgarh, Dr Sen has been involved with the setting up of the ShaheedHospital, an initiative of the great trade unionist Shankar Guha Niyogi who was murdered at the behest of rapacious industrialists. 

 

The hospital owned and operated by a workers’ organization, remains unmatched anywhere in India as a voluntary venture which helps the population of a backward tribal area callously neglected by the state. Dr Sen was on an official advisory committee which drew up one of the most successful community-based primary healthcare programmes in India, based on the Mitanin, the local barefoot health worker. Besides being actively involved in the Shaheed Hospital, Dr. Sen is a very well respected member of Jan Swasthya Sahyog which is committed to developing a low-cost, effective community health programme in the tribal and rural areas of Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh.   He also donates his service to a weekly clinic in a tribal community in Dhamtari district. 

 

Dr. Sen has been contributing theoretical papers to books and journals on public health.  He was the recipient in 2004 of the Paul Harrison award for lifetime work of medical care in the service of humanity, an award given annually by the ChristianMedicalCollege, Vellore to one of its alumni 

 

It is not unnatural for such a man with an obvious passion for the poor and who was a civil liberty activist in addition to all the other things that he did, should have strong convictions about what kind of policies and practices would benefit the poor. It is also to be expected that such a man would have the courage of convictions to speak out, which he did.  With such a multi faceted personality and vision and a passion and energy to match , he was a trail blazer and a role model for all doctors – especially the deal cutting , commission fed cash cows that many in today’s medical fraternity have become. 

 

Clearly the state government believes otherwise. The myopic and feudal attitudes fuelling the way the government is run there obviously has decided that if it does not care about improving the manner in which the poor are treated , no else would either, and if they do , then they run the danger of falling afoul of the law as Dr. Sen has done.  Clearly with people with convictions and concern for the poor like Dr. Sen out of the way, the BJP led Naxalite chasing government of Chattisgarh want to prove Jesus right – The poor will always be with us. 

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