Bitter pill

I am an Ayurveda practitioner. This article does bring out certain truths about the lack of awareness among the general public about medications and farming practices (“How an Ayurvedic tonic caused severe liver disease in a farmer who never drank alcohol”). The doctor who pursued the case and took the patient’s history, thus nailing the diagnosis, should also be commended.

But the article and the doctor’s final diagnosis may not be free of unintended bias – the patient’s condition was not a result of taking the medicine but of overdosing on it. The practically prescribed dose is only 15 ml to 20 ml twice a day.

The headline as well as the tone of the article doesn’t reveal that it’s actually the overdosing and not the medicine that did the damage. It thus effectively puts the blame on the medicine as well as the practice of Ayurveda. At the same time, the diagnosis also says that it is the excessive consumption of pesticide-laced pineapples that caused the hepatitis. The bias is seen all the more prominently here. This is therefore wrong presentation of facts. Dasamoolaristam and other Ayurvedic offerings are medicines that should be treated as such and taken under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor. – Prashant Kumar DV


This is a practitioner trying to get fame. Dashamoolarishtam has been used for centuries by practitioners. It’s fermented and has a specific dosage. Any person taking higher doses will face adverse effects. There is not a single medicine in allopathy that does not have side effects, including liver failure, when taken in excess. There are many tonics in market.

As an Ayurvedic doctor, I have seen patients who have had cirrhosis of liver due to high intake of pain killers for years. No journalist ever seemed interested in reporting that. Ayurveda, like Yoga, is India’s gift to the world . Please try to see the positive aspects of it. – Unnikrishnan Kavirajan


It is a widely held misconception that Ayurvedic medicines do not have a shelf life or adverse effects. This results in self medication. Because of this, some sub-standard manufactures also enter the market to profit from the situation. – Nabanita Das


Why was the patient taking three-five ounces of the syrup after every meal? That amounts around 350 ml per day. Had that been ? If not, then blaming Ayurveda does not make sense. If somebody takes 300 ml of allopathic cough syrup or 10 tablets daily, they might even die. I appreciate the contention that we should not follow anything blindly, but even blind criticism is not good. – Ram


Anything in excess is bad, as is well known. But the example provided in this article is just one case study, based on which you are indicting that Ayurveda is the villain. – Alok Jain


Self medication is dangerous in any health system. Without proper guidance, one should not take any medicine. This patient’s average consumption was 4-5 times the recommended dose. There is a saying “even Amritha becomes visha in high doses”. Many Ayurvedic medicines have side affects, but that does not mean the practice is bad. When there is an effect, there is a possibility of side effects too, which proves the potency of Ayurvedic medicines. But our texts are designed such that there would not be be any serious side affects if taken in recommended doses. – KS Manjunatha


I just read an article saying dashamoolarishtam caused liver cirrhosis. Please note that I am coming from an Ayurvedic family that has been practicing for more than 15 years. This situation may have arisen because of the poor quality of drug used in this case and the pesticides that the farmer was exposed to. How can Ayurveda be blamed for the disease?

Ayurveda is an age-old tradition that offers curative as well as preventive care which is safe as well as scientific. We to do studies on allaopathic medicines. Do you know the renal threshold of paracetamol? It is 1,500 mg maximum per day. But most allopathic doctors prescribing much more. And so many dialysis centres are starting side by side. Ever find out what may be the cause?

We also come across complicated diseases caused by different allopathic drugs. Do you know what we do? We cleanse the patient’s body with Ayurvedic medicines and try to eliminate the problem. Dashamoolarishtam is a good blood purifier too. We are authorised Ayurvedic medical practitioners, or doctors, trying to safeguard the health of millions of people. So please don’t try to tarnish our reputation or that of Ayurveda. – Leji Chandran


This article blames dashamoolarishtam for the man’s problem but does not mention whether he was taking it under an Ayurvedic specialist’s supervision or not. Any medicine, when not taken in the right dosage and with prolonged use, can have adverse effects. Moreover, the The damage caused by pesticides is well known.

The write-up is one-sided. A responsible way of writing medical articles is to guide the general public that they have to consult qualified doctors (of whichever system of medicine they have faith in) before taking drugs. – Sridevi KR


This case needs to be examined from five angles. One, did the medicine cause this illness? Was it prescribed by an authentic and registered Ayurveda practitioner? Was their something wrong with this particular medicine bottle or manufacturer? Is this a case of bias by the allopathic doctor who assigned the cause of illness to be the Ayurvedic medicine? Is the doctor qualified enough followed standard procedures to determine the cause as Ayurvedic medicine? And did the patient truly not consume alcohol? Did his diet include excessive acidic foods or unproteced sun exposure? – Pranav Patki


I am deeply concerned by the tone of this article. It attempts to show Ayurveda in a bad light. There could be have been a problem in the instructions given to the patient at the time of prescribing this medicine, for instance. And this is not an epidemic so it does not show that the ancient medicinal tradition is flawed. – Ashok Kumar J

No confidence

Ironically, the prime minister’s speech was a damp squib whereas we were expecting fireworks (“Modi comfortably wins the no-confidence vote – but it is unclear if he carried the day”). It was the same old record being played and was monotonous to say the least. Through the various speeches made that day, it seems that the prime minister’s image has been sullied and his words can’t be relied upon. – Vinod Khanna


One must see this no-confidence motion as a reminder to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfill the promises made in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. But it is very unfortunate that no Telangana Rashtra Samithi MPs have raised their voice with regard to issues such as the need for a separate High Court, Bayarram Steel Factory, Kazipet Railway Coach, AIIMS and National Highways. Kudos to N Chandrababu Naidu for his successful strategy in bringing the problems to the notice of the Parliament through this historic move. – Shashidhar Vuppala


I think your assessment is off the mark. Rahul Gandhi’s hug and wink looked boorish. Also there were no facts and figures in the his speech. It was an opportunity lost for the Congress. That party may be able to revive only after a change of leadership. – Madhavan


This report is totally anti-Modi. I watched entire session live and vouch that a majority of your observations are false. The author seems to be out of touch with ground reality. – Rajiv Patel


Media bias

This article reflects’s usual hatred towards the BJP and especially Prime Minister Modi (“Why Narendra Modi did not want a no-confidence motion in March (but is okay with it now)”). I don’t have a problem with the article, but some responsibility should be shown while addressing the country’s prime minister, at least because of the Constitutional position he holds.

Then, the author uses the term “so-called” minority appeasement to describe the issue that the BJP wants to call out the Congress on. The use of the phrase “so-called” is incorrect as the Congress has been appeasing the minorities for the last 70 years.

With regard to the use of muscle power in the Valley, yes, the current government has been able to stop terrorist activity in the mainland. Start giving due credit to the government, which has succeeded in curbing militancy in the state, unlike the previous the regime.

As for mob violence and attacks on minorities, these two issues were prevalent during Vajpayee’s tenure as well. So why don’t you ask: Why is it that communal forces are active whenever the Congress is in the Opposition? – Rohan Thakray

Capital project

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao continues to show his mettle, whereas Andhra’s Chandrababu Naidu cries foul always and blames the Union government for his failures (“Blockchain is helping build Andhra Pradesh’s new capital – but can it cut through the red tape?”). Naidu’s thinking is self centred with respect to the creation of a new capital city from scratch. What is the need? When we already have Kurnool, with all the infrastructure needed to serve as capital? Telangana was suppressed by Seemandhra politicians for seven decades and its resources were taken away. Post bifurcation, that has been proven through the progress of the respective states. – Manohar Shinde

No laughing matter

This article about how a crime as serious and heinous as rape is portrayed in a lighter vein in movies did well to question the prevalent culture in Indian cinema (“Jokes about rape are never funny. So why do filmmakers keep making them?”). As pointed out in the article, film industries from all languages are guilty of doing this time and again, without facing any consequences. However, if these unruly filmmakers were taken to task by the Censor Board, media houses (including scroll) immediately would cry foul, citing the oh so glorified “freedom of expression”.

The problem is not limited to scenes of rape or nasty jokes and references. The way women are portrayed in cinema across the country not only trivialises a serious matter but also abets the act in some sense. There are many Telugu movies where the protagonist is seen eve teasing, an even molesting, the girl, which then leads to romance between the two. Such “harmless” flirting has created a notion among youth that women want to be teased and that will eventually fall in love with them. This is not only impractical and crass but also dangerous.

Notwithstanding the need for the freedom of expression, there must be some regulation to monitor and punish filmmakers who show women in poor light and trivialise eve teasing, molestation and rape in any form. A law is also needed because filmmakers have not been able to self-regulate, as evident from all the examples featured in the article and more. Also, you could have avoided embedding the clips in the article. It gives these filmmakers free views, which is what they were after anyway. – Dhimant Chovatia

Press freedom

This article is an eye-opener for thousands of aspiring journalists like me who want to practice free, fair and fearless journalism, without a threat to our safety (“In Pakistan, press intimidation and bias are threatening the quality of elections – and democracy”). The problems faced by the media in Pakistan and India are similar. Indian journalism is in the doldrums, with multiple attacks on media houses for publishing the truth. Then, journalists, with miniscule salaries, sometimes resort to corrupt means for profit, by taking the side of powerful and influential people.

India should really adopt a strong and ethical code of conduct for journalists as it is fourth pillar of democracy and is essential to moving the engines of the Indian economy as well. – Jashandeep Kaur

Book of life

I empathise with the author (“Satire: Why must publishers chase Priyanka Chopra and Sanjay Dutt while neglecting real writers?”). Even this publication, while posting this article, is knowingly or otherwise (the former is more plausible) promoting such books. Journalism has gone to dogs and is one of those hypocritical new age magazines posturing to be different, though it continues to vie for eyeballs. Anti-establishment is not avant garde. With experience in the financial sector. I have come across what kind of understanding the current crop of journalists have, despite which they are still an influential lot, (mis)guiding the illiterate or insufficiently literate masses. At the end of the day, we are all doing our bit of self-promotion and feeding the mushrooms while keeping them in the dark.

It’s all the maturation of the McDonaldisation of society (I have examined this in the contemporary world of finance, with a colleague of mine) and journalism is no different. Probably the process cannot be reversed, but as we argue at the end of the article, it’s all about control in taking the process in the right direction. Having seen the world of finance for close to three decades, including the financial regulations across the globe closely, I can vouch for that. Real experiences are not worthy of publication (rather, wider dissemination) unless they are spiced up. – R Gurumurthy

Citizenship debate

This is a well-researched piece and an eye opener on how the Citizenship Bill of Assam may do injustice to a whole lot of citizens in the state. Religion never became a glue to keep East and West Pakistan together (“The reaction to Citizenship Bill in Assam should remind Centre of Pakistan’s mistakes in Bangladesh”). Subsuming cultural and linguistic identities may result in a backlash and cause more problems. – Mohammed Wajihuddin