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Archive for April, 2009

There are doctors and doctors…

The most commonly known are the medical type that treat your illness and treat you to a fat bill later !  They come in various hues depending upon their field of ‘specialisation’. They could be ‘doctor of the nose’, ‘doctor of the head,  ‘doctor of the bottom’ or  maybe ‘doctor of the rear’ , just to mention a few fields of ‘specialisation’. 
They all add a harmless, demure ‘Dr’. in front of their names, and are addressed as Doctor So and So. As the area of specialisation dwindles like water holes in Serengeti in summer , their market rate for treatment undergoes changes in inverse proportion.

Then there is a  lesser known variety – that is ,  lesser known to the general public – These guys operate in  academic ecosystems. They include people holding degrees like PhDs, DScs etc which they  acquire after  doing higher studies and research work . These degrees are  generally awarded on the basis of their research work and their ‘theses’, as also the mood of their guides, among other things. They  do research work in all sorts of fields  depending upon their guide and his specialisations ( read ‘what he knows better’ ). One of the strangest doctorate degrees that I had heard about was awarded to  a clever ‘doctoral aspirant’  who did some fantastic research and produced an algorithm to measure the surface area of an elephant’s skin, the practical use for which was known perhaps only to him, his guide and maybe the elephant. It is also not known whether the algorithm addressed  ticklish issues like the incremental changes in the skin area as an elephant’s pregnancy advanced or during the period when the pachyderm  is  wacking up a super meal .These folks  also append the magic ‘Dr’ in front of their names. Of course, sometimes this can cause funny situations, like when a Doctorate holder in Physics gets called up in the dead of night to attend on the pregnant wife of a neighbour , who is in labour! ( the wife, not the neighbour…  )

The last of the variety are guys who  acquire what is called a ‘ honorary doctorate’ or a honoris causa. They may also be genuine doctorate holders like our ex-president Abdul Kalam or Dr.Manmohan Sigh on one hand , or even  someone from the film industry or social circuit,  on the other.

According to Wikipedia, ‘ An honorary degree or a degree (Latin: ‘for the sake of the honour’) is an academic degree for which a university ( or other degree-awarding institution) has waived the usual requirements (such as matriculation, residence, study and the passing of examinations). The degree itself is typically a doctorate or, less commonly, a master’s degree, and may be awarded to someone who has no prior connection with the institution in question.
Usually the degree is conferred as a way of honoring a distinguished visitor’s contributions to a specific field, or to society in general. The university often derives benefits by association with the person in question’

However, these people are not supposed to append the word  ‘Dr’. in front of their names.   Nor are they supposed to be addressed as Dr. So and So. Of course that is theory.
We often come across in our country usages like  Dr. K J Yesudas or Dr. Amitabh Bachan or Dr. Kalaingar ( double kill ) Karunanidhi  – mostly by the over-enthusistic organisers of functions while introducing them or referring to them while they preside over functions. Either the perpetrators of the ‘sin’  do it in their exuberance , say fans, or the concerned recipients turn a blind eye to this wrong practice, just to bask in the unofficial sunshine. Either way I feel it is an unfortunate and disgusting practice which should be stopped. ( Hope some of them are reading this…;-)

On the lighter side,  one can imagine some funny situations   wherein  these doctors can get caught with their pants down!…click here >>Deli_worry

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There are some awards the mention of which  makes my conscience squirm  with shame and disgust…One of them is the type that is furiously sought after and dished out with much fanfare by the powerful head priests of Central Goverment. These go under the  awe-inspiring sobriquet of ‘ Padma Awards’ . Every year some 100 odd ( a 133, this year ) of these of ‘carrots’  which are of diffrent hues such as the low level Padmasrees, the mid-level Padmabhushans and the top level Padma Vibhushans are distributed.  According to Wikipedia, these are “ given by the Government of India generally to Indian citizens to recognize their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the Arts, Education, Industry, Literature, Science, Sports, Social Service and public life” . But I wonder whether one should also  add the bit: ‘ to Indian citizens  with talents and/or clouts’ .

It is alleged  that terrific lobbying goes on as an undercurrent accompanying the pre-award frenzy. And finally when the names are announced the list is received by the public ,  in some cases with happiness and satisfaction and in some others  with  disgust  . (Of course all the ‘awardees’ are happy  ) . One such latter case was that reported in one of the English national dailies with a large photograph showing a brightly smiling , albeit uninspiring,   President handing over the ‘award’ to an equally brightly smiling ‘ film star’  Ms. Aiswarya Rai! And she rubs shoulders with the likes of Ameen Sayani, Kalamandalam Gopi and Thilakan in the Padmashri awards list.

The photograh also showed a Presidential Guard standing in the middle with a salver and an expression which could possibly be interpretted as “ Must I be subjected to this ignominy too ?”

These awards are purported to be given to persons of eminenece . But how  is Aiswarya Rai falling into that category, pray?  Eminence? Well, if being the wife of Abhishek Bachan  who is the son of Amitabh Bachan who was a close friend of Rajiv Gandhi who was the son of Indira Gandhi… the lineage goes on and I trust you get my drift? – then perhaps she does qualify… as a  relative of India’s premier political family. Apart  from running around trees in Indian movies  ,   posing for international photographers and  bagging a Miss World title I wonder   what else has been  her contribution to Art!  And the Miss World title  could well have been  largely contributed by her genes rather than her brains !
That she was given only the Padmashri  and not Padmavibhushan is one small consolation . But maybe that can also  happen  in this topsy-turvey world of awards! Soon there may be one like this too…

CLICK HERE toota-haddi-queen

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