A needless debate
It is indeed an irony that in the age driven by science and technology there is a debate over the authenticity of science itself. Modern science has made such a difference over ages that the present world largely seems unidentifiable to the primitive one. What more evidence one could ask for to be convinced that modern science works! The apex medical body, IMA, has not only castigated the 'revered' yoga guru for his allegedly dogmatic, defamatory and misleading remarks on the effectiveness of allopathy but also sent a firm message to the Health Ministry to either prosecute Ramdev or dissolve the medical infrastructure of the country. This just reflects the gravity of the issue when the topmost authority of the nation is forced to make such extreme remarks. At the same time, it also highlights the influence that opinion leaders like Ramdev hold. Associated with Ramdev is a religious, political and cultural tenor. He is not just an Ayurveda and Yoga practitioner; his popularity and loyal following set him in a critical position in the scheme of things. Every word uttered by an opinion leader of his stature is bound to shape the perception of millions, and if his words are misleading, they will direct his followers to a wrong path, potentially a dangerous one too. The Health Ministry, as the IMA has urged, should immediately take serious note of the issue and investigate the matter. The IMA has come out with a clear statement terming Ramdev's statements untutored and unlearned. Ramdev was seen questioning the authenticity and effectiveness of life-saving drugs like Remdesivir and Fabiflu. He was also seen attributing lakhs of death to the use of allopathy. The medical body clarified that it was not the only instance, Ramdev had been uttering such remarks consistently. This brings us to the critical question of misinformation and its lethal impact, particularly in present circumstances. Even if the clarification of Yogpeeth Trust that Ramdev was merely reading a WhatsApp forward is taken into account it does prove that his deed was indeed a misdeed. His not having an 'ill-will' for allopathy or having a 'respect' for the same doesn't count if his actions compromise the safety and life of the people. Given his widespread influence, isn't Ramdev liable to more responsible action? IMA's conviction that Ramdev's remark is putting many lives at stake has clearly got a point. IMA has further alleged that the yoga guru's words challenge the integrity of DCGI. The regulatory body is responsible for clearing the usage of drugs in India. It is not the first instance when Ramdev has come under controversy. Just the previous year he had claimed to have come up with, and publicized, his unverified Corona medicine, Coronil, when the entire world was clueless in the situation. Tamanna Hashmi, a social worker, had sought the registration of an FIR against him before a magistrate court in Bihar. In this light, IMA's allegation that Ramdev makes such public remarks to sell his own medicines requires a thorough investigation, following which strict action could be taken to ensure public safety if the charges are found correct. But this leads us to another area of concern. There is an almost accepted public belief that such strong religiopolitical figures have, to a great extent, impunity from the law. This public belief can only be changed through decisions and actions with a visible difference. The Ramdev-IMA tussle is indeed a tussle between modern science and ignorance of it. The Health Ministry should take prompt action to make sure that IMA does not have to resort to "democratic means of struggle", as it has warned. While there is hardly any doubt over which to choose from the two, there is a need to ensure an unhindered path for science so that it can take us to new heights, ensure our physical safety and empower our minds. Only the empowered mind can help us avoid the ridiculous debate over the relevance of modern science. Let the light keep coming, don't obstruct its path!