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Monks bringing peace and harmony between India and Myanmar


Yangon: The relations between the two neighbouring countries India and Myanmar linked by old ties of religion and culture are getting better as Indian Buddhist monks are sowing the seeds of peace and harmony.

As Myanmar moves towards forming a new government, the monks of India and Myanmar have taken upon themselves the task of the smooth transition of the powers to the democratically elected government but through the spiritual route.

“We are basically here for peace and harmony. Since everyone wants to live in peace, we from the Drukpa Lineage are praying for peace in this country which has strong roots with the Buddhism,” Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche said.

Thirty-year-old Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, who is leading a foot journey with 60-odd monks and participated in the peace summit, is the spiritual regent to the Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the Drukpa Order with over 1,000 monasteries across the Himalayas.

“This time, we have decided on a peace ‘padayatra’ (journey) in Myanmar as we did in many places in India. We have also brought a sacred bone relic of the Buddha in this country to bless people. In the past one week, the relic some 2,600 years old got the overwhelming response from the locals,” said Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche.

Tens of thousands gathered at the 2,500 years old Shwedagon Pagoda, which enshrines strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics, to pay homage to the bone relic.

Sitagu Sayadaw, the elderly spiritual guru of Myanmar, said the visit of the Indian monks would help strengthen the relations between the two countries.

“The Buddha relic comes from India, the birthplace of Buddhism but not the birthplace of the Buddha. The Buddha spent 45 years in India. Therefore, this is a very significant sign of the peace and stronger relationship between the two countries Myanmar and India,” he said on being asked about the relationship between India and Myanmar.

Indian Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya, who also attended the prayer sessions in the Shwedagon Pagoda, said this would definitely help strengthen India-Myanmar relations.

“It’s a rare opportunity and definitely a meeting point of two traditions the Vajrayana and Theravada schools of Buddhism,” he said.

On bringing the sacred Buddha bone relic to this country, Mukhopadhaya said it was rare that the relic had been brought out of the Hemis monastery, the oldest monastery of the Drukpa Order in Ladakh.

“It’s very rare that the bone relic of the Buddha has gone out of the country. The people of Myanmar have a lot of faith in Buddhism. This event offers a platform of religious faith between the countries. This will strengthen the historical relations that have been there since the colonial period,” he added.

The bone relic arrived in Mandalay by plane on January 21 and it was carried across many prominent towns and villages by the monks of the Drukpa Order. It will return to India on January 29.

Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, who is also the chairperson of Druk Padma Karpo Educational Society which runs the famous Druk Padma Karpo School of the Hindi film ‘3 Idiots’ fame, said he prayed that the ties between the two countries would be better and more strengthened.

Founded in the 17th Century, the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh in India’s Jammu and Kashmir houses the most famous holy relics which are thousands of years old.(IANS)(Image-wikipedia)

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS