Healthy debate a precursor for change

A patients’ body calling itself People for Better Treatment has supposedly rallied behind Aamir Khan for focusing on the ‘rot’ in the Indian healthcare delivery system in his popular television programme. This comes in the wake of an episode aired a couple of weeks ago that prompted protests from the Indian Medical Association and a section of the medical community. They claimed his show generalised about medical negligence and corruption in healthcare.

What we think is most interesting thing about this minor drama — or publicity stunt depending on how cynical you are — is the fact that a television program is getting people hot and bothered for the right reasons. We can’t comment on whether the lines between pure entertainment and pseudo social-activism are being blurred (because we aren’t creating the show), but a healthy debate is usually a precursor for change.

Apparently, some representatives of the medical fraternity demanded an apology from the actor, while others threatened a defamation lawsuit for ‘slandering’ the community. This, in our opinion, doesn’t solve anything. Every community, be it the police, medical fraternity or the press, has its share of bad apples. The recent spate of arrests in Beed, a district now associated with the chilling practice of foeticide, proves this.

When something — be it a newspaper article, a piece of art or a chat show on television — draws attention to what is clearly a problem, there should be more attention exerted towards eradicating the issue in question than on finding someone to blame. Corruption at every level of social engagement has ensured that the quality of life we enjoy in India appears to be steadily on the decline. If a television programme points fingers at something that deserves censure, the thing to do is roll up one’s sleeves and look for a solution.

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