Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #205 – Vaccines & Ancient India

DNA transmits greatness, weakness and fears but subjugation can make many generations slaves forever. India had as established practice of inoculation against diseases. How was it lost?

Photo by Panuson Norkaew on Unsplash

“The birds that were singing in the den-drenched garden seemed to be telling the flowers about her.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray


Doing good is the fetish of scoundrels. They will push you down to satisfy their urge for feeling good because they think they did something good by giving you a drop of water while you were choking in the blood from his hit.

That was how the Europeans ruined the entire world, its scholarship, advancement, and every enhancement in consciousness that had been made by numerous enlightened people.

Hypatia, the greatest mathematician of her time, was hated by the fanatic bishop in Alexandria who had her stopped on the road, dragged through the streets, taken to the church, and then disrobed near the altar and dismembered one limb at a time while she was alive. Entire Greek scholarship was laid to waste. And when it was gone, the Europeans claimed it as their heritage sans the spiritual base.

That same mentality laid to waste the great work in health that had been done in India. Processes and work banned only to be replaced by their own through brute force. All that scholarship of yore disappeared in mere one generation.

See how since times immemorial India had a regular tradition of preventive inoculation against diseases - smallpox and measles in particular. And rue a system that never let us know about it at all!


smallpox and a big white man’s burden

There was this rather intriguing article on the BBC website about inoculation for smallpox in India by the British. Intriguing, but extremely cliched in terms of the ideological colonial mind-set that it betrayed. It was about how back in the 1800s a few Queens were summoned to help sell inoculation for smallpox.

Why?

Because the cure was “met with suspicion and resistance in India.”(Source) And what do the British do? They help Indians out by undertaking the classical “white man’s burden” of saving Indians. Awww. So very imperialistically generous of them!

But the British would not give up on their grand scheme to inoculate Indians - they justified the cost and effort of saving "numerous lives, which have yearly fallen a sacrifice" to the virus with the promise of "increased resources derived from abundant population". What followed was a deft mix of politics, power and persuasion by the East India Company to introduce the world's first ever vaccine to India, their biggest colonial enterprise. It involved British surgeons, Indian vaccinators, scheming company bosses and friendly royals - none more so than the Wadiyars, indebted to the British who had put them back on the throne after more than 30 years of exile. (Source)

The idea that the backward, poor, and superstitious “Hindoos” would have never seen anything called a vaccine, just developed by a European and inoculation? What the hell was that to these brown backward idiots?

Hasn’t that been the narrative of the British and then subsequently Americans. Remember this cartoon when India had reached Mars at a fraction of a cost with a brilliantly new technique in its first attempt - carried by who else - New York Times.

So, the narrative of poor, backward, idiotic Indians has been sold for a long time now. But there is a book by Dr. JZ Holwell (FRS) written in 1767, which paints another picture of India long before the oh-so-generous Brits set foot on the Indian soil.

In this book, Holwell explains how it was a regular annual practice even before the British landed, for “inoculators” to come to Bengal and inoculate the inhabitants there. Everyone knew they would come in February every year. Even the diet was fixed for people who had to be inoculated.

These inoculations were not done as a remedy, but as a preventive medicine so smallpox may not even occur. This practice of inoculation was banned by the British. Only to be sold afresh when Edward Jenner came out with his cure.

In ancient times in India smallpox was prevented through the tikah (inoculation). Kurt Pollak (1968) writes, "preventive inoculation against the smallpox, which was practiced in China from the 11th century, apparently came from India". This inoculation process was generally practiced in large part of Northern and Southern India, but around 1803-04 the British government banned this process. It's banning, undoubtedly, was done in the name of 'humanity', and justified by the Superintendent General of Vaccine (manufactured by Dr. E. Jenner from the cow for use in the inoculation against smallpox). (Source)

Whitelaw Anslie writes in a book (Observations Respecting the Small-Pox and Inoculation in Eastern Countries; With Some Account of the Introduction of Vaccination into India) about how the practice of inoculation against smallpox originated in India or China, and it was from China that it went to Europe.

The inoculations were not performed by a vaidya, but - per caste obsessed British - by a ‘Brahmen.’

Anslie laments how the Indians were difficult to change the age-old customs and take to the new vaccine from Jenner, while he characterizes Indians as superstitious. Little realizing that the reason may well have been the treachery, violence, and consequent lack of trust amongst the locals. But then the story of “white man’s burden” (which is still peddled as in the movie Avatar, where only a white man - even a handicapped one - out of his goodness can not just save inhabitants of this planet, but even another planet!) By the time the British were done with India, they had plundered $45 trillion and massacred over 50 million Indians!

So it is rather interesting when these Brits go to a country where the practice of inoculation against a disease started and ban that practice forcibly. Call the locals superstitious and then try to force their own vaccine on the locals, who have been using them for ages, and lament that they are backward because they cannot take to a new vaccine.

Isn’t it a travesty of history that a vaccine that had stood the test of time for many millennia perhaps as it propagated across the whole world, was sabotaged and thrown out of existence?

What did it comprise of? What was it like? Could Western science have learned from it?

So many questions remain pending. And, we Indians never even get to read about that part of our history where our ancestors were practicing inoculation for centuries, perhaps millennia!

devious plan of loyalty announcements

When the devious few of a community are given the microphone and a platform, along with money, media, and power to promote themselves, there are many consequences.

What is happening within and with the Sikh community is that tragedy right now.

As someone on Facebook announced how Sikhs had won the maximum number of gallantry awards in India and were always at the forefront of every battle that India has fought. “Are we traitors”, he asked.

That one question - incomplete, mischievous, and devious even - has the potential to do a lot of harm.

No one should and at least in my knowledge is pointing fingers at or questioning the wisdom of the “Sikhs.” Only the integrity and devious strategy of those who are backed by Pakistan and other forces and want to destroy the very land and nation that was created by their ancestors.

So, to generalize what is true of Khalistanis to all Sikhs, by someone who identifies himself as a Sikh is a very dangerous game. It asks a wrong question, intentionally. And worse, it goes on to sow the seed of mistrust against the other communities. For inherent in the question is the suggestion that others are actually suggesting that “all Sikhs are traitors.” When everyone knows that isn’t the truth.

To counter that, some simple-minded folks are coming out with messages like these.

They are sad as well. Why would anyone have any question about whether Sikhs stand for India or not? Who is even asking that question?! And who can even?

How do you ask anyone whose forefathers have created the very nation which we all call home? Those who still give their lives for it first?

But that does not mean that those - no matter what community they belong to - who go around playing proxy wars for forces hell-bent on destroying this society will not be questioned. Khalistanis will be and should be called out. Their funding, their god-fathers, their backers need to be exposed. As should be their violent agenda.

The plan of those who were planning to break the country have a very dangerous plan. And it hinges on alienation. By seeding such humiliating messages seeking ‘approval’ from whom?

market corner - 10 quick bytes

  1. India plans $60 bn investment in gas infrastructure until 2024 said Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Natural gas' share in the energy mix is expected to rise to 15 percent by 2030 - more

  2. Google accused of colluding with Facebook in an illegal deal to rig online ad market - more

  3. Indian edtech firm Simplilearn has earned more than 60% of its revenue from international markets since the Covid 19 pandemic started - more

  4. IKEA to invest Rs 10,500 crore in India; Rs 6,000 crore in Mumbai. After the Navi Mumbai store, IKEA plans to open two more city center stores in 2021 - more

  5. Commodities tycoon Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Resources is planning to invest $10 billion through a new partnership targeting government privatizations in India. - more

  6. Two in five Indian professionals expect a rise in jobs in 2021: LinkedIn - more

  7. Indian pharma companies have garnered 45 percent of all new ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) approvals over the past nine months - more

  8. A gradual increase in raw material costs given the recent rise in global prices - India Inc should brace for cost inflation - more

  9. State-run Coal India is aiming at substituting imported dry fuel of 80-85 million tonne with more domestic supplies in the current fiscal - more

  10. North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP) - CCEA approves revised estimate for the Northeast power project. This ambitious project is being implemented through the Public Sector Unit Powergrid, in association with beneficiary states Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland - more

nota bene

14th Arrest in Fake Scam: Mumbai Police on Thursday arrested Romil Ramgarhia, former Chief Operating Officer (COO), of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in connection with the alleged TRP (Television Rating Points) rigging scam. This is the 14th arrest in this so-called scam. (Source)

Seamless Highways: The government has been taking steps to enable the seamless movement of vehicles across the country. Over the last year, it has been pushing mandatory use of FASTags at national highways, to reduce traffic congestion at toll plazas. the union road transport and highways ministry has finalized a toll collection system based on the global positioning system (GPS) technology. The move will see India free of toll barriers. (Source)

NYT’s hit-job: How the New York Times reduced a 40-minute conversation with Sanjeev Sanyal to merely 2 words to prove that Shramik trains were ‘virus trains’. Sanjeev Sanyal gave a very detailed explanation of the steps taken by the government at various points of time in dealing with the Wuhan Coronavirus, but NYT chose to reduce his comments to just two words. (Source)

Right to protest not hurt: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that farmers have the right to agitate, but a whole city cannot be blocked in the name of protests. Hearing a petition filed for the removal of the farmers from the streets protesting against the agricultural laws, the court said that a protest is constitutional till it does not destroy property or endanger life. (Source)

AAP sanctions Treason cases against Islamists: The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government on Wednesday gave its sanction to the police to charge 18 people accused in the Delhi riots case, including radical Islamists Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, former AAP leader Tahir Hussain, and others under sedition charges for their involvement in the Anti-Hindu Delhi riots case. (Source)

Turkey vs Iran: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off a diplomatic row between Iran and Turkey during his visit (December 10) to Baku to attend a military parade of Azerbaijani forces after reclaiming some areas of disputed Nagorno-Karabakh in November. He recited a controversial poem referring to the Aras River. The poem said  “They separated the Aras River and filled it with rocks and rods. I will not be separated from you. They have separated us forcibly.”  The river is said to be a symbol of what some Iranian Azeri separatists call the separation of Iranian Azerbaijan from The Republic of Azerbaijan. Erdogan’s intent behind the move is clearly to incite the Iranian Azeri separatists causing much of worries for Iranian leaderships. (Source)

Brain-eating amoeba: Deadly "brain-eating amoeba" infections have historically occurred in the Southern United States. But cases have been appearing farther north in recent years, likely because of climate change, a new study finds. N. fowleri is a single-celled organism that's naturally found in warm freshwater, such as lakes and rivers, according to the CDC. It causes a devastating brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is almost universally fatal. Infections occur when contaminated water goes up a person's nose, allowing the organism to enter the brain through the olfactory nerves (responsible for your sense of smell) and destroy brain tissue. Swallowing contaminated water will not cause an infection, the CDC says. (Source)

Chinese threat to Europe

China has been building bridges, port facilities, railroads, and roads and spending billions of euros around the world. That has been the spearhead of its new diplomacy that focuses on creating situations where other countries owe debt and so give them their national assets. They have a hold on Piraeus port in Greece and have also targeted Trieste in Italy. The dockworkers do not have the protections they had earlier. Interestingly, under a regime that pushed socialism and communism in other countries!

A very informative documentary that showcases the Chinese strategy in Europe and how people in Europe may be waking up to the threat that China offers.

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