G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What’s a girl’s marriageable age, asks SC

This is Times of India’s headline on July 13, 2007.

India’s Supreme court asked this question to the government after listening to a petition!

“The seeds of confusion lie in provisions of Child Marriage (Restraint) Act, 1929, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the exception to rape in Indian Penal Code and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.

The Child Marriage (Restraint) Act, 1929, says a child is a person, who if a male, has not completed 21 years of age, and if a female, has not completed 18 years
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, says a female has to be 18 years before she can legally marry

However, the Indian Penal Code, while defining rape in Section 375, exempts a person from this charge if he has forcible sexual intercourse with his wife who is above 15 years of age

Under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986, a child means a person who has not completed the age of 16 years and a minor means who has completed the age of 16 years and not completed 18 years

The Indian Majority Act says a person is a major if he/she has completed 18 years
"

Anecdotal evidence from Pune suggests to me that girls, even from middle and upper-middle class, get married early. I wonder why. Is it because they are reaching puberty early? Don't they wish to become economically independent before they say-'I Do'?

Earlier, I used to see few qualified and/or good looking girls who never married because they had financial responsibility at home and/or they did not meet some one suitable and/or they were pursuing a career goal.

Not any more. Now I see such women only in politics. Mayawati, Jaylalita, Mamta Banerjee etc.

I thought we had come a long way away from the times of Vasant Sarwate’s वसंत सरवटे picture below where a girl is asking her friend: “you say you have enrolled in a college, couldn’t arrange it this year too,is it…”



Artist: Vasant Sarwate वसंत सरवटे (Source- “Khada Maraycha Jhala Tar….!”, Mauj Prakashan, 1963)

The End of Vaccines?

The last chief of the Maratha Confederacy, Pune-based debaucherous Baji Rao II (1775-1851) has gone down in the history as one of the first high profile person in India to get vaccinated (with golden needle?) against smallpox. The British doctor was paid Rs. 2,000 in 1807 for administering it! (Source- “Peshvekalin Maharashtra” by Vasudev Krishna Bhave)

During my childhood (almost more than 150 years after the royal insertion above), the only vaccination we knew was still only against smallpox. First such exercise has left two big marks at the top of my left arm.My son has been administered tens of vaccinations against plethora of ailments such as measles, diphtheria, and polio etc. The Indian government runs high profile polio vaccination campaigns using Hindi film celebrities

But of late vaccines seem be generating one controversy or the other.

Recently,while in India Dr. Atul Gawande told Outlook magazine (Jul 09, 2007) :”…. In order to eliminate polio, or 25 years ago to eliminate smallpox, you start out with a problem that is endemic everywhere. Investing the public dollar in such programmes makes a lot of sense because you have millions of people at risk. But in order to get from a few hundred cases of polio, which is where we are today, to having zero cases, you have to spend tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. And then people start to say—why should we spend all this money here, when you can take care of a malaria problem that affects millions?”

Laura H. Kahn writes in “The End of Vaccines?” for “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 13 July 2007”:
“….The latest vaccine controversy is the concern that vaccines containing thimerosal, particularly the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine cause autism…
Around 5,000 parents are suing the vaccine manufacturers because they believe that the vaccines caused their child's autism. If the plaintiffs win, it could have a profound impact on the availability of vaccines in the future.

Even without the lawsuit, the supply of vaccines has been dwindling. According to the 2003 Institute of Medicine report, "Financing Vaccines in the 21st Century," the number of vaccine manufacturers has decreased from 25 to 5 companies over the last 30 years. This trend developed because vaccines frequently generate lower revenues than drugs and not all insurance plans include them. In other words, the vaccine production and distribution infrastructure is crumbling, and shortages are occurring. If this lawsuit succeeds, there is a good chance that no one will remain in the vaccine business. It has been easy to forget what life was like before vaccines. Untold numbers of people suffered and died from infectious diseases that can now be prevented. It would be a tragedy if we return to that era.“

Do you know what life was before vaccines? Check the picture below...




Artist : Whitney Darrow,Jr. The New Yorker 22 Apr 1933