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MSM III:2-3, July-October 2005, p 39-40.


The Story of a Young Man


A bright young man decided he wanted to make the removal of suffering his mission. He also loved to understand human nature. So he chose psychiatry as his branch.

 He studied hard. He mastered his textbooks, he attended the lectures and tutorials, he attended the ward rounds and grand rounds, he took and presented case histories, he admired his teachers, he looked up to the greats in his field with awe.

 He wanted to do research and went about it in right earnest. But when the time came for publication, he was not the principal author. The Head of department was. He wanted to pursue further research, but his Head was interested in clinical trials that got money for the department, and free sponsored trips for him. The young man too got the sponsored trips to conferences to present papers. And since his Head was well known, his papers were appreciated, and got him further opportunities. The pharmaceutical companies took charge of financial matters, and he learnt the tricks of the trade quickly.

 He wanted posts and publications, and his flexible nature and compliant attitude with his bosses ensured both. He got to know what was current coin in his field, what was in vogue in research, what was most recent, and starting mouthing it on suitable occasions in conferences, seminars and workshops to get approving nodes from his seniors. He started climbing the ropes first gradually, then with greater speed. He enjoyed the heady feel of success as he climbed up the ladder, knowing and learning quickly which side the bread was buttered. And also learned whose feathers not to ruffle, and whom to cozy with.

 His publications list swelled, his invitations to CMEs and as speaker at other forums increased. All the time what he had learnt from his bosses served as a torchbearer.

 He himself had bright students. They looked up to him in open-mouthed awe. He gave them research projects, got them stipends, but saw that he became the principal author. They quietly acquiesced, since they wanted to remain in favour. It served both parties very well indeed.

 Awards, orations, posts, groupism, politics, became his major activity. Research was handled by bright students in any case, so that was taken care of. A cozy relationship with pharmaceutical companies looked after all expenses of attending conferences, and even organising them. So Regional, then National and later even International ones followed one after the other, adding feathers to his cap.

 Research done by his Department always kept up with current trends, and quoted extensively from numerous authorities abroad.

 Name and fame were not far behind. It was fashionable to sound like a thinker so a couple of papers on Ancient Indian concepts in mental health were written, while seeing to it no serious foray into any allied field occured, for psychiatry had to always stress and re-stress its linkage with its parent branch-- medicine.

 One more psychiatrist made his mark in his field.

 One more opportunity lost for Indian psychiatry to make its mark in the field of world psychiatry.


Ajai Singh


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