A statement you recently made in Chennai regarding homeopathy has created much controversy. You are reported to have said during a public address that ‘homeopathy works on belief’ and homeopathy is a ‘fake discipline like astrology’. That statement pained homeopathic community a lot, where as it is being enthusiastically utilized by those who regularly attack homeopathy.
Actually, you were echoing the words of ‘anti-homeopathy’ skeptics of western world who are engaged in exposing the ‘pseudo-scientific’ homeopathic theoreticians propagating ‘spiritual homeopathy’ and ‘energy medicine’. I am sorry to say that you failed to realize the entirely different ground realities existing inIndiain the field of homeopathic education and practice.
Homeopathy has been consistently attacked in this way for last 250 years since its inception, but in spite of all these malicious attacks, homeopathy is thriving inIndiaas a major recognized branch of public health care system.
Hope you would know India is home to around 285,000 registered homeopaths, 186 prestigious homeopathic colleges imparting UG and PG courses, over 6000 government homeopathic dispensaries and about 250 government hospitals. More than 15000 student come out of these colleges every year with BHMS degree, after completing a rigorous five and half year course of study and internship, for which they got admission by scoring top rankings in entrance examinations after 12 years of schooling in science streams. Curriculum of BHMS course constitutes Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Practice of Medicine and all subjects of modern health care knowledge. There is a Central Council of Homeopathy under Government of India, constituted as per a n Central Act passed by Indian parliament, overseeing everything in the field of homeopathic education, research and practice inIndia.
Homeopathy is a very important wing of public health care system in inIndia. Homoeopathic wings are working in many allopathic hospitals and dispensaries, both government and private. Homoeopathic doctors provide treatment to millions of patients for different day to day illnesses in the public health care system. Even during sporadic and epidemic conditions, people tend to use homoeopathic drugs for prevention. Recently, the Indian Government successfully ran a national health campaign ‘Homeopathy for a Healthy Mother & a Happy Child’, which was based exclusively on homoeopathy. Also, private homeopathic practitioners are contributing a great deal in public health care through their private or charitable clinics.
Besides clinical research, there are fundamental, drug standardization, drug proving and clinical verification research going on, both at government and private levels. For example, the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy is conducting a lot of such research, either independently or in collaboration with other research institutes or individual researchers, under an extra-mural research scheme at the Dept of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of the Indian Government. Other than that, almost all homoeopathic organizations and individuals are doing their bit toward research for the further validation of homoeopathy in today’s times of evidence-based medicine. The results have been encouraging, to say the least. In fact, over the years,Indiahas learnt better ways of conducting research from their international counterparts and the recent research has been carried out as per standardized, internationally recognized methods and are therefore more acceptable.
A few exemplary results from clinical studies include work on tubercular lymphadenitis, japanese encephalitis, etc. In addition, some administrative studies have been undertaken, like the ‘assessment of the cost effectiveness of homeopathic clinic in the cafeteria approach’ and ‘public-private partnerships in the provision of homeopathic services in the city of Delhi, where it was tried to analyze both the strengths and weaknesses of medical pluralism in India and have worked out some solutions for implementing medical pluralism more effectively in all parts of India.
These facts and figures are a clear reflection of the belief of the people ofIndiain the homeopathic system of medicine, which, in turn, is a result of the effectiveness of homeopathy in treating a wide range of illnesses, which has convinced the Indian masses over a period of time.
Sir, as a well-respected nobel-winner scientist, who is expected to be more concerned about truth, you would have considered all these facts before publicly declaring ‘homeopathy is based on belief, a fake discipline like astrology’. Community pay much value and reverence to words you speak out, and you are expected to keep up that responsibility when commenting on sensitive topics. You should have experimented yourselves and done a little more home work about homeopathy, before echoing the malicious propaganda of ‘anti-homeopathy skeptics’. We would not have bothered much if you had said ‘homeopathy is not scientifically well proved’, instead of declaring it is ‘fake like astrology’.
I am sure, you have nothing personally against homeopathy or homeopaths as such. You were talking your perceptions as a truthful scientist. As an individual respecting science, scientists and scientific methods, I would not blame you for making such a statement. I know you are not a homeopath- only a scientist. I understand, as a truthful scientist, as things stand now, you cannot say ‘homeopathy is scientific’, after seeing all these nonsense theories propagated by ‘homeopathic ‘masters’ the world over. I understand, nobody could so far even propose a scientifically viable hypothesis about how homeopathy works, a hypothesis that could be presented as a rightful candidate for verification using scientific methods. Actually, those ‘pseudo-scientific’ homeopathic theoreticians are doing the greatest harm to homeopathy than truthful scientists like you.
Homeopaths as well as millions of patients visiting them know homeopathy works. That is their personal experience. You should think more than twice before saying it is ‘mere belief’ and ‘fake’. If you had visited a few homeopathic clinics in you city, you would realize that all people visiting homeopaths are not much less knowledgeable or more ‘superstitious’ than you. Many respected members of scientific community- may not be nobel laureates- use homeopathic medicines, knowing well that it is not ‘proven according to scientific methods’, but very much confident from experience that it is not ‘fake’ or ‘mere belief’. They experience it WORKING. If you had ever consulted a homeopath or taken a course of homeopathic medicine yourselves, you would not have made this demeaning comment against homeopathy.
But the sad thing is that nobody knows how homeopathy works. To mask this ignorance, ‘intellectuals’ among homeopaths create fanciful theories. All these theories about homeopathy are utter nonsense- pure absurdity. Until homeopaths stop talking nonsense ‘ultra-scientific’ theories about homeopathy, we cannot expect a fair deal from scientific community. At least homeopaths should show the humility to say: “we know homeopathy works- that is our daily experience; but we do not know how it actually works; we need the help of scientific community to resolve this riddle”.
By saying ‘homeopathy is based on belief’, what did you actually mean? Do you mean it is based on ‘beliefs of practitioner’, or it is working on ‘beliefs of patients’?
Do you remember, when you declare homeopathy is a ‘fake discipline’, you are saying that the Act passed by Indian parliament is ‘fake’, Central council of homeopathy is ‘fake’ and those 186 homeopathic colleges inIndiaare ‘fake’? You mean 285000 registered homeopaths, 6000 government dispensaries and hospitals are doing ‘fake’ medical practice that may ‘endanger’ human lives? According to you, BHMS and MD degrees awarded by Indian universities are all about ‘fake’ disciplines? Do you mean those millions of people thronging daily in homeopathic clinics and getting relief for their ailments are idiots attracted to ‘fake practitioners’ due to ‘belief’ only?
Dr Venkatraman, I would earnestly request you to spare a little time to verify whether homeopathy works. If you would co-operate, we are ready to provide as many real life proofs as you need. Only when you are ever convinced homeopathy works, we would expect you to take up topic of ‘how homeopathy works’. If you are interested in that topic, I am ready to provide details of my work which try to explain and prove ‘how homeopathy works’ on the basis of ‘Molecular Imprinting’. I am giving link to my article, hoping you can spare some time in between your busy schedules. http://dialecticalohmeopathy.wordpress.com/
Until that, kindly refrain judiciously from commenting against homeopathy. You can say: “I don’t know whether homeopathy works or not. I know all those theories about homeopathy are unscientific. If homeopathy actually works, it has yet to be proved and explained according to scientific methods”.
If you exhibit the audacity to kindly modify your earlier statement in this way, homeopathic community will be much grateful to you.