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  Mens Sana Monographs
A Monograph Series Devoted To The Understanding Of Medicine, Mental Health, Man, Mind, Music And Their Matrix
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   2004| January-October  | Volume 2 | Issue 1  
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Gandhi on religion, faith and conversion-secular blueprint relevant today
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):79-88
Gandhi believed in judging people of other faiths from their stand point rather than his own. He welcomed contact of Hinduism with other religions, especially the Christian doctrines, for he did not want to be debarred from assimilating good anywhere else. He believed a respectful study of other's religion was a sacred duty and it did not reduce reverence for one's own. He was looking out for those universal principles which transcended religion as a dogma. He expected religion to take account of practical life, he wanted it to appeal to reason and not be in conflict with morality. He believed it was his right and duty to point out the defects of his own religion, but to desist from doing so with other's faith. He refused to abuse a man for his fanatical deeds for he tried to see them from the other person's point of view. He believed Jesus expressed the will and spirit of God but could not accept Jesus as the only incarnate son of God. If Jesus was like God or God himself, then all men were like God or God Himself. But neither could he accept the Vedas as the inspired word of God, for if they were inspired why not also the Bible and the Koran? He believed all great religions were fundamentally equal and that there should be innate respect for them, not just mutual tolerance. He felt a person wanting to convert should try to be a good follower of his own faith rather than seek goodness in change of faith. His early impressions of Christianity were unfortunate which underwent a change when he discovered the New Testament and the Sermon on the Mount, whose ideal of renunciation appealed to him greatly. He thought Parliament of Religions or International Fellowship of Religions could be based only on equality of status, a common platform. An attitude of patronising tolerance was false to the spirit of international fellowship. He believed that all religions were more or less true, but had errors because they came to us though imperfect human instrumentality. Religious symbols could not be made into a fetish to prove the superiority of one religion over another. In a multi-religious secular polity like that of India, Gandhi's ideas on religion and attitude toward other religions could serve as a secular blueprint to ponder over and implement.
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The goal : Health for all-the commitment : All for health
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):97-110
Primary Health Care was the means by which Health for All by the Year 2000 AD was to be achieved. And Health for All was possible only if All were mobilised for Health. This meant not just governments and medical establishments, but people themselves. Primary health care is essentially health care made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community by means acceptable to them, through their full participation and at a cost the community and country can afford. And in working for such positive health, the role of health experts or doctors is the same as that of a gardener faced with insects, moulds and weeds. Their work is never done. Primary health care is a health conscious people's movement. Its implementation depends on knowledge of proper disposal of services and a persistent demand from an active and quality conscious consumer-the public. Strong political will, community participation and intersectoral coordination are its basic principles. However, the National Health Policy of India, 1983, was hardly debated in both houses when tabled. Both NHP 1983 and 2002 failed to confer the status of a Right to health, while most other nations are planning newer strategies to put Right to Health and Medical Services into practical use. Community participation in health is an aphorism that awaits genuine realisation in many countries of the world, notably of the third world. India, unfortunately, is no exception. Progressive Five Year Plans in India have reduced percentage spending over health as a part of GDP, which is an alarming state of affairs. Public awareness and activism alone can remedy this alarming condition. The people should not forget that health is not only a commodity that a benevolent government/ institution/ individual bestows on them. It has to be earned and maintained by the individual himself. Health problems cannot be solved in isolation. They will ultimately be part of our struggle for an egalitarian society, because better health care is a sign of a more evolved one.
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Towards a suicide free society identify suicide prevention as public health policy
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):21-33
Suicide is amongst the top ten causes of death for all age groups in most countries of the world. It is the second most important cause of death in the younger age group (15-19 yrs.) , second only to vehicular accidents.Attempted suicides are ten times the successful suicide figures, and 1-2% attempted suicides become successful suicides every year. Male sex, widowhood, single or divorced marital status, addiction to alcohol ordrugs, concomitant chronic physical or mental illness, past suicidal attempt, adverse life events, staying in lodging homes or staying alone,or in areas with a changing population, all these conditions predispose people to suicides. The key factor probably is social isolation. An important WHO Study established that out of a total of 6003 suicides,98% had a psychiatric disorder. Hence mental health professionals havean important role to play in the prevention and management of suicide.Moreover, social disintegration also increases suicides, as was witnessed in the Baltic States following collapse of the Soviet Union. Hence, reducing social isolation, preventing social disintegration and treating mental disorders is the three pronged attack that must be the crux of any public health programme to reduce/prevent suicide. This requires an integrated effort on the part of mental health professionals (including crisis intervention and medication/psychotherapy), governmental measures to tackle poverty and unemployment, and social attempts toreorient value systems and prevent sudden disintegration of norms and mores. Suicide prevention and control is thus a movement which involves the state, professionals, NGOs, volunteers and an enlightened public.Further, the Global Burden of Diseases Study has projected a rise of more than 50% in mental disorders by the year 2020 (from 9.7% in 1990to 15% in 2020). And one third of this rise will be due to Major Depression. One of the prominent causes of preventable mortality issuicidal attempts made by patients of Major Depression. Therefore facilities to tackle this condition need to be set up globally on a warfooting by governments, NGOs and health care delivery systems, if morbidity and mortality of the world population has to be seriously controlled . The need, first of all, is to identify suicide prevention as public health policy, just as we think in terms of Malaria or Polio eradication, or have achieved smallpox eradication.
  5,396 280 1
Psychiatry, Science, Religion and Health
Editors-Mens Sana Monographs
January-October 2004, 2(1):1-1
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Psychiatric consequences of WTC collapse and the Gulf War
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):5-13
Along with political, economic, ethical, rehabilitative and military dimensions, psychopathological sequelae of war and terrorism also deserve our attention. The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre ( W.T.C.) in 2001 and the Gulf War of 1990-91 gave rise to a number of psychiatric disturbances in the population, both adult and children, mainly in the form of Post-traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD). Nearly 75,000 people suffered psychological problems in South Manhattan alone due to that one terrorist attack on the WTC in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. In Gulf War I, morethat 1,00,000 US veterans reported a number of health problems on returning from war, whose claims the concerned government has denied in more than 90% cases. Extensive and comprehensive neurological damage to the brain of Gulf War I veterans has been reported by one study, as has damage to the basal ganglia in another, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in a third,possibly due to genetic mutations induced by exposure to biological and chemical agents, fumes from burning oil wells, landfills,mustard or other nerve gases. The recent Gulf War will no doubt give rise its own crop of PTSD and related disorders. In a cost-benefitanalysis of the post Gulf War II scenario, the psychopathological effects of war and terrorism should become part of the social audit any civilized society engages in. Enlightened public opinion must become aware of the wider ramifications of war and terrorism so that appropriate action plans can be worked out.
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Replicative nature of Indian research, essence of scientific temper, and future of scientific progress
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):57-70
A lot of Indian research is replicative in nature. This is because originality is at a premium here and mediocrity is in great demand. But replication has its merit as well because it helps in corroboration. And that is the bedrock on which many a fancied scientific hypothesis or theory stands, or falls. However, to go from replicative to original research will involve a massive effort to restructure the Indian psyche and an all round effort from numerous quarters. The second part of this paper deals with the essence of scientific temper,which need not have any basic friendship, or animosity, with religion, faith, superstition and other such entities. A true scientist follows two cardinal rules. He is never unwilling to accept the worth of evidence, howsoever damning to the most favourite of his theories. Second, and perhaps more important, for want of evidence, he withholds comment. He says neither yes nor no. Where will Science ultimately lead Man is the third part of this essay. One argument is that the conflict between Man and Science will continue tilleither of them is exhausted or wiped out. The other believes that it is Science which has to be harnessed for Man and not Man used for Science. And with the numerous checks and balances in place, Science will remain an effective tool for man's progress. The essential value-neutrality of Science will have to be supplemented by the values that man has upheld for centuries as fundamental, and which religious thought and moral philosophy have continuously professed.
  4,322 228 1
What shall we do about our concern with the most recent in psychiatric research?
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):45-51
Most clinicians and researchers are concerned with recent advances in psychiatry. This involves the danger whether something time-tested may get sidelined for extra-scientific reasons. That the pharmaceutical industry and superspecialist researcher may keep churning out new findings to impress audiences is only a partial truth. Research progresses by refutation and self-correction. Acceptance in science is always provisional; changing paradigms, frameworks of enquiry and raising new questions is integral to break through in scientific knowledge. Hence, there is in science a constant concern with the new. Moreover, the number of treatment non- responders to the time-tested swells with time, and researchers feel challenged to find ways and means of resolving their difficulties. Newer challenges need newer strategies. Obsession with the most recent can lead us astray, but a healthy evidence-based acceptance of the new is essential for advancement in psychiatric research. As indeed of research in all fields of medicine. And of science in general. The role of lithium and newer mood stabilizers in bipolar disorders are taken as examples to highlight this point.
  3,673 207 1
Preface to the sixth monograph
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):95-95
  3,262 188 -
Conceptual Foundations of Mens Sana Monographs
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):0-0
  2,696 158 2
Answering Two Serious Charges on Suicide Prevention
Ajai R Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):34-37
  2,746 84 -
Preface to the fifth monograph
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):77-78
  2,535 173 -
Profile In Courage: Dr. L. P. Shah
Hema Shah
January-October 2004, 2(1):1-1
  2,619 83 -
Preface to the first monograph
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):3-4
  2,426 200 -
Readers Respond

January-October 2004, 2(1):14-16
  2,526 86 -
Pandora's Box
SV Ghatnekar
January-October 2004, 2(1):92-92
  2,445 87 -
How do we account for deaths like Jñaneshwara's and Rama's?
SG Mudgal
January-October 2004, 2(1):38-39
  2,442 85 -
Readers Respond

January-October 2004, 2(1):39-40
  2,444 80 -
Some Answers
RN Sawardekar
January-October 2004, 2(1):89-91
  2,401 99 -
Preface to the second monograph
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):19-20
  2,283 166 -
Some Answers
Ajai R Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):71-74
  2,344 82 -
Readers Respond

January-October 2004, 2(1):52-52
  2,349 72 -
Preface to the fourth monograph
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):55-55
  2,211 187 -
M en s S an a M on ographs
January-October 2004, 2(1):1-1
  2,309 78 -
Preface to the third monograph
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-October 2004, 2(1):43-43
  2,152 165 -
Readers Respond
SM Channabasavanna
January-October 2004, 2(1):111-111
  1,989 57 -
What He Meant To Me

January-October 2004, 2(1):1-1
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