The tale of two settings

Just around one of the posh corners in a South Delhi street, there is a huge hospital, which is known for its state-of-the-art facilities and its eye-catching architecture. Money can buy the best facilities. Money can cure so many diseases. Money makes the difference. On the other hand those who would come there for the treatment are not only the match-it type of people, those rich men and women who are as suave as the fine lines that mark the interior of the hospital; but poor folks, while disclosing fearfully their love for lives would also pawn their belongings, sell their land, and come for some chance to get the diseases out of their poverty-stricken bodies. Well, this is the same old life’s qualm. This hospital is also one place where it is truly what learning from the surrounding can be about. People have reached the zenith in modern technology, just a glance at the inimitable architectural grandeur of the building suffice to bear witness to the forward march of the human civilization. The same kind of people, those intelligent folks who have made all this possible will be no doubt smiling, resting once in a while on their laurels, while digging into better ways to improve on their achievement. But all of us are no hard workers nor born with silver spoons in our mouth, unlike the builders and makers, thereby raising again the same old question of having and not having.

On the other side of the hospital wall, some hard cores believe that a government can provide this kind of beautiful buildings and equally sophisticated machines and devices to treat the people. Even in other avenues and other intentionally complicated things of our collective life, we do believe the government should be responsible and accountable. Our belief is indeed amazing that we believe government can rule us and we have surrendered our natural rights. However the only thing we hear about government’s endeavour, such as the public distribution system and public sector units, is their failure to deliver or to put it bluntly, a failed performance before the show. So we have a gut feeling that only the private players can do it. Perhaps the people have the same thinking everywhere; even the Chinese commies have started believing in free market and are asking their citizens to splurge.

But is it fair at all? Perhaps the justice-injustice philosophy sprang out of some ancient discourse to stay for good. Even if we know the government can be more homicidal than an armed psychiatric patient, as obvious from the brutalities of laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the goals of justice remain as elusive as ever; so it is simple, not for the sake of simplification though, that poverty has no role in live-and-death situation but the wretched patient to visit the swanky hospital. Do or die. There are surely affordable hospitals too, non elegant but which still has many of the modern facilities. Unnecessary rambles could have been reduced yet there are several other pressing issues. For instance, my seriously-ill uncle had to go outside the state because on that day the premier hospital in our hometown was closed in protest against militant’s extortion. On other occasions, people are clamouring for a mental hospital because the bomb blast, killing, shooting and the kidnapping are as regular as day and night out there. So things are not as easy as simply categorizing the people as rich and poor. Deliberations on the concept of justice can be best left to the eggheads. It is laudable how we have come a long way from being troglodytes to computer-using animals — and in this context the credit should go to those folks who have discovered and invented the best antidotes, the best cures. Now the question is again on how many people, the commonest of all, are getting the benefits.       



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