Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Banned Drugs floating around

A friend of mine sent me this mail. I have not personally validated it , yet I am putting this up for information and comments. India has definitely become a dumping ground for a lot of banned drugs and it is pity that the educated and empowered middle class also seem to care little.


This is a pain-killer. Reason for ban: Bone marrow depression.
Brand name: Novalgin

Acidity, constipation. Reason for ban : irregular heartbeat
Brand name : Ciza, Syspride

Anti-depressant. Reason for ban : Irregular heartbeat.
Brand name : Droperol

Antidiarrhoeal. Reason for ban : Cancer.
Brand name : Furoxone, Lomofen

Painkiller, fever. Reason for ban : Liver failure.
Brand name : Nise, Nimulid

Antibacterial cream. Reason for ban : Cancer.
Brand name : Furacin

Laxative. Reason for ban : Cancer.
Brand name : Agarol

Cold and Cough. Reason for ban : Stroke.
Brand name : D'cold, Vicks Action-500

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Reason for ban : Bone
marrow depression.
Brand name : Sioril

Anti-worms. Reason for ban : Nerve damage.
Brand name : Piperazine

Anti-diarrhoeal. Reason for ban : Damage to sight.
Brand name : Enteroquinol

Friday, July 07, 2006

Summer Holiday Homework

Every summer holidays, even during my schooldays, schools give summer holiday homework. It is in a vain hope that children will continue to be in touch with their studies during summer. Of late I have got a feeling that it has become more of a ritual “it has been done all these years, so it must continue to be done!” With time, the homework has become complicated and professional. So much so, that we now have shops and establishments in Gurgaon who do the holiday homework for the children … the business of holiday homework! J Cool!
Parents, for all their righteousness and claims of being ideal guides, encourage children to waste their time during holidays by going for vacations, shopping malls and movies and then get the homework done by these establishments. I have this sneaky feeling that even schools know about these establishments, but as they say, “chor chor mausere bhai!” The general belief is (in some schools) when the parents feel fine about this system why should they bother to change it?

Holiday homework includes making charts and models on water cycle, plant/animal kingdom, culture of states in India etc. If I were to think deeply, on one plane, I would feel it is a waste of time as most of what is taught is never used. However if I think on another plane, education is a life-skill needed to prepare a child for the life ahead. All the above actually increases the general knowledge of a child. While he does this work he finds other things that might interest him and start a new process beside the main activity itself. All those children who take professional help, actually miss out on these interesting asides.

There is another thing that disturbs me. The day the school opens, one can see children with their parents carrying the charts and models to school. When I pass a prominent school in sector 4, Gurgaon, that gets very good results in the Board exams in the evening, I see a lot of the charts and projects made from thermocol and other material, littered in the main street. I am sure this litter catches the eyes of the teachers/parents and the principal of this reputed school too, as they come out of or go into the school.
Over the years, the event described above, continues to take place annually. The children and the vocal, educated parents have not questioned the school as to why senseless, uninteresting homework is given. If it is submitted, post-vacation, why does the homework find itself as litter on the main street, right outside the school main gate. If it has to become litter why isn’t the homework environmentally-friendly? For example, ‘collect the various types of soil in gurgaon’ so that in case the teacher/school feels like throwing out the homework, it comes to good use. (Incidentally I picked up the holiday homework of a boy called Hemant Kaushik from Blue Bells School Sector 4. The homework is a cardboard on which small plastic packets are stapled containing gravel, sand, sand and silt. I don’t see the class written on homework and I can see the teacher having put a tick mark and a scribble with red ink. It was lying on the main road outside the school.)

The various charts and themocol pieces then fly around willy-nilly, are swept up into piles and many times, callously burnt, creating pollution (over and above frustration!). Why can’t the school install recycling machines, if that is its view of holiday homework? I am sure all schools run as trusts/societies and thus, actively claim income tax deductions. Most of them get donations from individuals and the government. I am sure installing a recycling machine for paper and other items is not expensive. I am sure the same recycled products can be given back to children for their homework, the next years.. and the year after.

This, at least, will give the correct message about environment to the young minds to whom we only want to preach… and not show any practice.