Stress Disorder Among Indian Politicians
I don’t wish to be in Amar Singhji’s shoes. He had been called a ‘King Maker’ but the fifteenth Lok Sabha election results show otherwise. With twenty-three seats in the parliament, a number that has come down from thirty-eight from the last Lok Sabha, Amar Singh had to undergo tremendous stress in keeping his former party together and to dispel any rebellion. Creating an organisation with a power base in Uttar Pradesh and transforming it to a national party had not been easy for Amar Singhji.
Amar Singh has been seen as a major player in Indian politics. It was a long way from Kolkata to Madhya Pradesh where he was the provincial secretary of Congress I and then finally to Uttar Pradesh and national politics where he once remained a major pillar of the Samajwadi Party. But I would not like to discuss politics although he remains my favourite.
It was a statement made by Amar Singhji a few months back that he would like to retire from politics and spend time with his family after the elections made me think about a possible connection between medical disorders and politics. He further added that he had not been keeping well. This prompted me to write more about him. Amar Singh was admitted a few months back in a Mumbai hospital and later in a hospital near Dehradun, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls. He also went for a check-up and medical advice to the United States.
From undergoing a kidney transplant in Malaysia to his recent arrest for trying to bribe members of parliament is undoubtedly a story that the media kept on giving different versions and then Digvijay Singh, Congress I General Secretary supporting him also suggested there is more that meets the eye.
It is his raised serum creatinine for which he is at the moment being kept under constant supervision at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences rather than at the Tihar Jail. There was also an argument between the Nephrologist and the Honourable Justice when asked on the clarity of his treatment. I just don’t understand how one can ever argue with an honourable judge in the court of law. I also believe that Amar Singh’s health bulletins should be made public.
Definitely Amar Singh is not well nor are other politicians from a wide spectrum of national and regional parties. As a medical doctor, I believe that there is a common ailment among all of them.
Priya Ranjan Das Munshi is a person whom I have never seen with a grim face. I remember him at the World Youth Festival in 1978 at Berlin where he was seen dancing all the way to the podium. He was much sought after by the East Germans then as much by friends in India crossing all political colors. Today he lies in a coma in a Delhi hospital after having a stroke.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a cardiac surgery at AIIMS on 24 January 2009. He hardly had any rest and recuperation after that. He was found clocking an enviable number of kilometres travelling all over India during the recent polls. Today as a leader of the UPA alliance and the Prime Minister of democratic India, he needs to be in good health.
I know of one Orissa politician who was addicted to benzodiazepines and couldn’t sleep without it.
DMK politician Mr. Karunanidhi has not been well and was even seen receiving the Prime Minister from his hospital bed.
Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease with Renal Hypertension is the common factor seen among most politicians beyond the age of fifty. Late night meetings, insufficient sleep, irregular food habits and a state of perpetual excitement are causative factors leading to a cardiac / pulmonary and renal pathology.
There are no strict medical guidelines of health awareness for members of parliament in India. Many of those elected have chronic diseases which are kept under wraps.
Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangla Desh has chronic hypertension while Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Pranchada , the former prime minister of Nepal has not been keeping well due to the extreme political turbulence that has been recurring in that country.
This is an occupational disease which comes under the realm of Family Medicine and Occupational Health. The Delhi administration has a small dispensary attached to the parliament with a single medical officer and is rarely frequented by our politician.
Senator Edward Kennedy died of malignant brain tumour, Senator John Kerry is a prostate cancer survivor, Presidential candidate in the US is a melanoma survivor as many other politicians from USA who have exposed to the public about the diseases they are suffering from. I would hardly call their problems as occupational disorders resulting from indulging in active politics.
The question now remains of Amar Singh, a sick person and his desire to steer forward in the murkier politics of India. This seems like a conjoint tendon in the medical language that is difficult to exist.
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Dr. Amitabh Mitra
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