Monday March 19, 2018
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Tolerant India goes after Aamir


In the wake of his remarks on ‘growing intolerance’ in the country, Aamir Khan trended on the social media the whole day. He was supported by some, ridiculed by more. Jokes, sarcastic posts were hurled at the actor for merely exercising his right to free speech.

Particularly, Snapdeal endorsed by Aamir faced people’s wrath. The mobile application was deleted or given low ranking by many of its users so as to lodge their protest of the former’s ‘unwarranted’ remarks.

Social network has changed the dynamism of everything from politics to social issues. Its grip over the youth of the country is remarkable to say the least.

The point Aamir made was that there seems to be a climate of growing intolerance in India. We can debate whether he was right or wrong but the way people reacted to his comments, unfortunately, proved his remarks right.

Facebook saw a series of campaigns where people put Aamir and recently martyred Colonel Mahadik’s pictures side by side, asking a rhetorical question as to who was the “real hero” among them.

Colonel Mahadik deserves utmost respect considering his ultimate sacrifice for the country but comparing him and Aamir is like comparing apple and oranges. Aamir has never claimed to be a real life hero. While Col Mahadik’s and many of such army personnel’s sacrifice can’t be thanked enough ever but that does not mean anyone who doesn’t serve in the Army does nothing for the country.

This habit of playing on the guilty conscience of the people on social media has become a little too commonplace. There is a theory called ‘Spiral of Silence’ in Mass Communication which says while being in a group some people will just go with the majority so that they do not end up alone.

It applies in this case. There are posts where people show their support just to be with the majority e.g. How many likes for this brave soldier or cute God. Sad.

BJP termed Aamir’s comments as a part of a conspiracy. However, in my view, comparing Aamir with a person who just sacrificed his life for the nation is the much bigger conspiracy. They know that people will support the colonel and, as a result, more hate against Aamir. Simply involving a man, whose family is mourning his death, is shameful.

This is intolerance when somebody speaks his mind and you just label that person and blindly follow all who agree with you. 

The extreme reaction to Aamir’s remarks has only proved him right.

It would have much better if everyone would have been more sensitive. Aamir, in using the country’s name but more importantly, thousands of those who targetted him, they should have tried to understand his point of view. If asked, many would answer the same thing that intolerance is growing, however, ”leaving the country” remark could have been avoided simply because running away is not the option.

All the talks of India being intolerant are not right. India was tolerant and will always be tolerant. There is only one specific section of the country which is becoming intolerant or maybe it always was.


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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.

Also Read: With Medicine Running Out, Venezuelans With Transplant Live in Fear

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