Homoeopathy as a profession has been one of the most deprived, oppressed, neglected and discriminated fields in Assam. The apathy and step-motherly attitude of successive governments in the state remained such that nothing progressive has happened to this system of medicine so far without fierce agitation and clamour.
As a part of major health reforms announced by the central government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special thrust on mainstreaming AYUSH systems of medicine did bring hopes and aspirations to the homoeopathic fraternity as well; but unfortunately it failed to rise to the expectations.
There are three government homoeopathic medical colleges and a government ayurvedic college under AYUSH system of medicine in Assam. There is an AYUSH directorate in Assam as well, which is seen working exclusively for the welfare and flourishing of ayurvedic system of medicine only. Infrastructure at the government homoeopathy colleges would certainly be not an iota better than any residential school.
These homoeopathic medical colleges of Assam were taken over by the government during AGP regime, the party which now is an ally of BJP-led alliance government with its former leader Sarbananda Sonowal as the chief minister and Hitendra Nath Goswami as the speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly. A few present AGP leaders are also ministers in the Sonowal cabinet. But, neither AGP, nor any of its leaders, ever looked back at the pathetic prevailing situation and plight of homoeopathy in general and homoeopathy colleges in particular.
Unemployment rate of BHMS (Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery) doctors passing out from the government homoeopathic medical colleges is at all time high. Ever since the inception of BHMS course in Assam in mid 90s, not even a single medical officer (homoeopathy) was appointed under APSC till now. Oppression just did not stop there, Assam government even deprived them from their due benefits and requisite employment under Government of India-funded flagship programmes as well.
When Himanta Biswa Sarma, who has been the health minister of Assam for more than a decade now, was asked on Twitter about his works for the upliftment of homoeopathy system and appointment of homeopathy doctors for alleviating the health indicators of under-performing state like Assam; he replied: “It’s a non priority area”.
It is noteworthy to mention here that Indian students from class 12 science background with brilliant results are eligible to appear for the common entrance examination. Among those candidates, best of scorers are called for counselling and after thorough verification of all relevant documents including PRC, a seat in BHMS course is confirmed.
During last counselling session for fresh BHMS admissions, existing BHMS students held a strong protest against the tyrannical government continuing admissions without creating any placement opportunities whatsoever.
Recently, the homoeopathic fraternity, along with well-wishers, started a Twitter hashtag crusade #StopDeprivingHomeoDoctorsInAssam to highlight the genuine issues of their college infrastructure, growing unemployment, seeking redressal of their grievances and ask for long-standing legitimate demands. The Assam health minister responded by mass blocking all those Twitter handles, instead of taking cognizance of the brewing protest.
It did not end there, the minister further went on endorsing a Tweet shaming the victims even more, alleging ‘Bangladeshi gang of homeo doctors are trained by radicalized PFI, giving blatant communal spin and etc’. And yes, that serial abuser, hate-monger Twitter handle @SouleFacts is followed by the minister himself.
Should the Assam government not take the homoeopathic fraternity also in PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Sab Ka Sath, Sab Ka Vikas’ mantra?
The views expressed by the author are his own and The News Mill may not subscribe to the same. The facts presented in the column are not independently verified by The News Mill.