Tag Archives: Israel

Dr Shantabai Gulabchand Oration on Cross-Border Reproductive Tourism at the ET2010, Lavasa

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Israel: Wishing You A Happy Independence Day

I was pleasantly surprised when I received this appended email from Orna Sagiv, the Consul General of Israel for India. The Israelis did not have to do this for our girl-children! Think about it….And please watch the movie clip as well.
India, the world’s biggest democracy, and Israel, one of the tiniest democracies, surprisingly have much in common.  Both are the cradles to the world’s most dominant religions. Thus, for over 5000 years they have sprouted the foundations of human culture, as we know it today. Both these countries have many sites, which are considered the holiest to the largest number of followers all over the globe. Both countries received their independence from the British in the late 40s and both have ever since been trying to recuperate from the aftermath of geographic division based on religion. We have many cultural and social similarities. We both built our nations from scratch; we value education and hard work. We are quick to adapt to a new methodologies and we thirst for success and recognition.India and Israel are among the most significant democracies of the modern world. People are encouraged to make choices and more importantly be heard.
Given India’s strong scientific and technological base, Israel is keen on strengthening professional medical ties with India.
If we have to emulate a nation in education, nation-building, defence, education, research, science, technology & National-pride, it should be only Israel.
We are natural allies…will get closer as these turbulent & violent years pass by! Whether Israelis & Indians want it or not, I see a stronger partnership between these vibrant democracies in the years to come.

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Tel Aviv Nights, But Were Afraid To Ask!

Let me tell you a fascinating bed-time story:) The story of my night out with Erez & Evyatar (my guides) exploring the night life in Tel Aviv, last month. This was a unique new tour started by Dan Knassim for individuals or groups wanting to experience the fabled night life first-hand in sizzling Tel Aviv! The Tel Aviv night-life culture is one of the biggest night cultures in the world. Tel-Aviv is one of the only cities that is awake & throbbing with life 24x7x365.
I went to Tel Aviv for my routine teaching assignment as visiting Faculty to the University of Tel Aviv, Sackler School of Medicine at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. I was interviewed on channel 2 at their Jerusalem studios as part of the Gay Family – Surrogacy story being lapped up by the Israeli media. India was suddenly in the news with Surrogacy being written about in all major newspapers. I was told that a film by Zippi Brand on Surrogacy in India was also beamed on a major TV channel the same month.

A typical night in the weekend (Thursday-Friday-Saturday) can start at 22:00 hours with a cocktail with friends continuing to a party at 01:00 hours and then finish with a crackling after-party that starts at 6:00 am and finishes that night at 22:00 hours. Twenty four hours of non-stop partying is a way of life for youngsters over the weekend!In most of the bars and night-clubs you will find a burly bouncer-type person who is sitting at the entrance usually with a pretty woman. The woman points out discreetly to the bouncer who does not go in. This decision is based entirely on this screening woman who decides first on ethnicity, next on looks & many a times just to maintain the “exclusivity” of the club by refusing youngsters in.There is a law in Israel that prohibits those under 16 from entering these night-clubs & it is this screening-siren that decides who goes in. I saw youngsters break down in front of this security-screening duo at a couple of night-clubs because they were refused permission to get in. My guides told me that this is sometimes considered such a big insult to a youngster who has brought his date to the bar on a week-end & is not allowed in; these incidents lead to peer-pressure psychological disturbances & nervous break-downs.

In Tel Aviv there are various types of parties.I was getting bored in the hotel room & a common friend suggested Erez take me out for a night-life exclusive tour beginning at 23:00 hours & ending at dawn! Lima Lima was our first stop since our night club expert Evyatar heard of a wild Gay party on at Lima Lima. Lets talk about the Gay party scene in Tel Aviv. The Gay parties & the Gay community are very well known in Tel Aviv. The orthodox Jewish state turns a blind eye – to them the Gay community does not exist- It is another world – unseen & unheard to the orthodox Jew! Every single night there is a different gay party in the city with different music and crowd. There are very open Gay parties, very erotic, very open… as if you can feel the sex in the air and hungry searching eyes all around. Seeing is believing! I attended one such party at Lima Lima, which is one of the oldest night-clubs in Tel Aviv. Every Monday, you have a Gay party where singles come to find partners & couples to rock the night away(see pictures!) And then there are more relaxed parties where everyone knows everyone else; at such parties there are more gay couples partying out with their friends; where everyone is busy socializing, gossiping and here the music is a little muted in the background with lots of drinks going around.The focus is on camaderie & chilling out with friends.

There is another set of parties in Tel Aviv which are zoned according to ethnicity. Like the Ethiopian parties – This is like mini-Africa and you find most of the time just Ethiopian-Israeli immigrants rocking the night away. All you get to dance to here is Ethiopian music(sometimes hip hop music too!). And then there are the Eastern parties – not by the Chinese or Singaporeans but the immigrants who have migrated from Morocoo or Iraq – here you will find just “Mizrahit” music & clusters of only-Easterns(see Video!)

And then there are the regular night-clubs with teen-agers & youngsters in their 20’s dancing the night away. What is interesting is that these night-clubs have a gentry from a particular type of social set. You see only expensive cars outside a particular night club & the patrons of this night-club are usually children of very rich parents. Very subtly, there is a clear demarcation of social class in the night-clubbing scene in Tel Aviv. From Lima Lima which had a steamy gay party going on till the wee hours of morning, we went to Amazonia which was obviously a “rich-kid” night club with all the expensive frills.

After spending time in an Ethiopian & an Eastern night-club, we had the sun-peeking over our heads by the time we decided to return home. I had seen night-life in Mumbai, London, New York, Mexico City, Munich, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai and Cancun… but everything paled in comparison to the sights & sounds of the night-life in Tel Aviv. Lechhaiim!!!!Picture 1

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The Presidential Address at the 56th AGM of the Mumbai Obstetric & Gynaecological Society

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

The best because our chosen profession has and is progressing by leaps and bounds and leading the medical world into new fields of research, therapy and hope.Assisted reproduction today is a highly advanced field and practitioners are doing what no one believed was possible.We provided the embryos and the cord blood from where stem cell research took off and is poised to make breakthroughs in irreparable nerve cell or cardiac cell damage, manage cancer, diabetes and liver cell failure.We are at the forefront of the medical world in endoscopy. Surgeons from other specialties to suit themselves, modified procedures and instruments devised by brilliant gynecologists. We are still eons ahead of them. Today there is no pathology that master endoscopists cannot treat laparoscopically. It was a gynecologist Ian Donald who first thought to use sound waves to make images of the unborn child. Today we can diagnose and treat an ailing fetus in its mother’s womb by blood transfusion or draining an over distended bladder. As the world ages, we are still there at the next frontier with our meshes and tapes that repair aging muscle, keeping a woman continent and giving her a new life. We have a variety of options in medications for the older woman to keep her bones strong and her skin tough. That we care deeply for our patients is obvious from the fact that we are among the few surgeons who make the effort of doing a surgery through a pfannensteil or bikini cut incision and painstakingly close it so that the scar does not show. Here too we are busy trying out tummy tucks with hysterectomies or even cesarean sections. It is a matter of pride that all these latest technologies are available in our country and its medical capital, this city of Mumbai. Impossible is nothing! The story of my Presidential year 2009-10 began almost 5 years ago and started with me searching for the promised land that will bring our post-graduates closer to academics, research & newer technologies. These are difficult times with the world at war, terrorism threatening our planet, our country, our beloved city and our way of life. We cannot even hold our cricket matches in our own country. A severe economic recession grips the world and threatens our medical tourism and outsourcing industries. However there is hope as a young new president takes charge of world’s most powerful nation and speaks of change. And the youngest thus far president takes charge of the Mumbai Obstetric and Gynecological society in its 75th year and also promises that this year will be different. This will be an Indo-Israeli year. My reasons for choosing the Israelis to partner us this year, is that we have many cultural and social similarities. We both built our nations from scratch; we value education and hard work. We are quick to adapt to a new methodologies and we thirst for success and recognition. Israel is a first world country doing cutting edge research in infertility and fetal medicine and genetics and has well established protocols and procedures in endoscopy and oncology. She has graciously agreed to help her developing sister country by sending her leading doctors who will share their knowledge and expertise. Since both countries became independent, this is the first scientific collaboration for an entire year between Professional Societies. Not one, but 7 Israeli Medical Organizations have thrown their weight behind the Mumbai Obstetric & Gynecological Society (MOGS) this year! Israel is sending us 14 world leaders in their respective disciplines. Our theme for MOGS this year is: “Technology Saves Lives. Let us learn from the best”. This is what the Indo-Israeli collaboration translates to. Let us also extend this generosity to our fellow gynecologists from other towns and cities who can attend all our academic programs this year. Information about our scientific sessions will be sent all over the country- so we expect a lot of new faces in town this year. To all of you fellow gynecologists I say be the change. Lets not have any negativity this year but contribute enthusiastically as if each one of you were the president of the MOGS and organize innovative, interesting and useful sessions for us as part of our outreach programmes. We are taking the good work started by my predecessors forward. Why partner with Israel? India, the world’s biggest democracy, and Israel, one of the tiniest democracies, surprisingly have much in common. Both are the cradle to the world’s most dominant religions. Thus, for over 5000 years they have sprouted the foundations of human culture as we know it today. Both these countries have many sites which are considered the holiest to the largest number of followers all over the globe.Given India’s strong scientific and technological base, Israel is keen on strengthening professional medical ties with India. The Indo-Israeli Year presents an exciting new means to help physicians from India and Israel to establish a vibrant partnership. This is going to be one of the first official academic collaborations between the two countries ever since they both achieved independence over 60 years ago. We are all looking forward towards an unprecedented opportunity of first-hand exchange of knowledge and experience that can forward our mutual goal of extending the best health care to all women. At this time, I would like to publicly acknowledge the support system at home. Despite me being me, all I got at home was solid support & love. Thank You Swati, Akanksha, Ranveer, Daddy, Titoo, Siddharth.They say a man’s upbringing starts a hundred years before his birth. We Hindus believe our good luck now is the result of past life karma. Someone up there must like me to have blessed me with superb teachers who shaped me as a gynecologist and fertility physician and as a man.My heartfelt respect and gratitude to Dr Snehalata Deshmukh, Dr Pratibha Vaidya, Dr Geetha Niyogi, Dr Vivek Patkar, Dr Sushila Saraf, Dr PB PaiDhungat, Dr Satish Tibrewala, Dr Shashank Parulekar, Prof. O Djahanbakhch & Dr Sadhana Desai. I could not have taken on this responsibility were it it not for my capable team from Rotunda & Deccan, Kaushal, Goral, Sulbha and Anjali who have been my backbone. No man is an island though people often accuse me of being a loner. I would not be where I am today without the help, support and guidance of my dear friends – This year would not have been in its present form without the support of Dr Daniel Seidman & all my other friends. It is just once in your life that you meet someone who can change the way you look at the world. Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. I have never in my life met a person who has so influenced me with his vision, intelligence & philanthropy. Mr Ajit Gulabchand is Chairman and Managing Director of HCC – one of India’s leading construction companies and has been a catalytic factor in the infrastructure growth of India including our own Bandra-Worli sealink & Lavasa – Free India’s largest hill station spread across 12,500 acres, set amidst 7 hills and 60 kms of lakefront. Corporate Social Responsibility remains intrinsic to Mr Gulabchand’s vision for the group encompassing HIV, Education, Water, and Disaster Management initiatives. He has recently endowed a new ‘Ajit Gulabchand Chair’ on Indian Business Studies being set up at Oxford University and is a member of the Oxford International Advisory Board for Executive Education. Upon my request, he has agreed to bequeath a grand sum of Rs ten lakhs to MOGS to set up an overseas training fellowship for a young MOGS member gynecologist in memory of his mother Late Dr Shantabai Gulabchand, who was an eminent gynecologist practicing in our own city. Being an ace ranker in her college, Dr Shantabai Gulabchand secured an easy admission for MBBS in Grant Medical College of the J J Hospital. She passed the MBBS with flying colors, securing various medals to her credit, such as Viceroy’s silver trophy, Lord Sandhurst’s Gold Medal and even the National Scholarship for Indian lady doctors. After completing internship at Cama Hospital, Mumbai, Shantabai was appointed as Lecturer at Bai Motlibai and Petit Hospital. Mumbai. She believed in studies, and perused whole heartedly by completing her F.R.C.S. (Gynecology) at an early age of 26 in London. After obtaining the F.R.C.S. degree, she returned to Mumbai and started her own clinic in Girgaum, Mumbai. She possessed an entrepreneurial streak right from the beginning of her career and started a company called “Altra Laboratories” that manufactured medicines. In June 1947 she married reputed industrialist Seth Gulabchand Hirachand. She served as Director on the Board of Hindustan Construction Ltd for nearly 31 years.Even in the post independence era, Shantabai was actively involved in politics and was associated with the Swatantra Party. She also deeply believed in women empowerment and education. Thank you Sir for partnering MOGS to help out our own post-graduates & to advance science in our own city. I would like to dedicate my own Presidential year to the memory of my late mother Dr(Mrs) Sanyogita Allahbadia who strived that her children be given the best education. I am grateful to my parents for having given me a sound education and made me capable enough to be speaking before this very august audience. We will try our best to offer an amalgam of the highest academic standards with the recent advances in the field. I was particularly impressed by one of President Ronald Reagan’s memorable quotes: Aim for the top, pray to God and Hope for the best. That has been my philosophy & it will be our endeavor to strive for excellence in all aspects of this year. We promise you will we will do our best not to let you down.I believe that a true student is never satisfied or content with the knowledge gleaned . And we will all continue to remain students all our life since education is a continuous process. I’m sure we will enrich ourselves with pearls of wisdom that we will pick up from the deliberations of meetings in 2009-10. The great pleasure in life is in doing what people say you cannot do . Let us all make this a memorable year!

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The Response To Terrorists

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We Did Not Even Have 15 Seconds in Mumbai!

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Calling All Pakistanis

Published: December 2, 2008

By Thomas Friedman

On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?




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After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.

So what can we expect from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after Mumbai? India says its interrogation of the surviving terrorist indicates that all 10 men come from the Pakistani port of Karachi, and at least one, if not all 10, were Pakistani nationals.

First of all, it seems to me that the Pakistani government, which is extremely weak to begin with, has been taking this mass murder very seriously, and, for now, no official connection between the terrorists and elements of the Pakistani security services has been uncovered.

At the same time, any reading of the Pakistani English-language press reveals Pakistani voices expressing real anguish and horror over this incident. Take for instance the Inter Press Service news agency article of Nov. 29 from Karachi: “ ‘I feel a great fear that [the Mumbai violence] will adversely affect Pakistan and India relations,’ the prominent Karachi-based feminist poet and writer Attiya Dawood told I.P.S. ‘I can’t say whether Pakistan is involved or not, but whoever is involved, it is not the ordinary people of Pakistan, like myself, or my daughters. We are with our Indian brothers and sisters in their pain and sorrow.’ ”

But while the Pakistani government’s sober response is important, and the sincere expressions of outrage by individual Pakistanis are critical, I am still hoping for more. I am still hoping — just once — for that mass demonstration of “ordinary people” against the Mumbai bombers, not for my sake, not for India’s sake, but for Pakistan’s sake.

Why? Because it takes a village. The best defense against this kind of murderous violence is to limit the pool of recruits, and the only way to do that is for the home society to isolate, condemn and denounce publicly and repeatedly the murderers — and not amplify, ignore, glorify, justify or “explain” their activities.

Sure, better intelligence is important. And, yes, better SWAT teams are critical to defeating the perpetrators quickly before they can do much damage. But at the end of the day, terrorists often are just acting on what they sense the majority really wants but doesn’t dare do or say. That is why the most powerful deterrent to their behavior is when the community as a whole says: “No more. What you have done in murdering defenseless men, women and children has brought shame on us and on you.”

Why should Pakistanis do that? Because you can’t have a healthy society that tolerates in any way its own sons going into a modern city, anywhere, and just murdering everyone in sight — including some 40 other Muslims — in a suicide-murder operation, without even bothering to leave a note. Because the act was their note, and destroying just to destroy was their goal. If you do that with enemies abroad, you will do that with enemies at home and destroy your own society in the process.

“I often make the comparison to Catholics during the pedophile priest scandal,” a Muslim woman friend wrote me. “Those Catholics that left the church or spoke out against the church were nottrying to prove to anyone that they are anti-pedophile. Nor were they apologizing for Catholics, or trying to make the point that this is not Catholicism to the non-Catholic world. They spoke out because they wanted to influence the church. They wanted to fix a terrible problem” in their own religious community.

We know from the Danish cartoons affair that Pakistanis and other Muslims know how to mobilize quickly to express their heartfelt feelings, not just as individuals, but as a powerful collective. That is what is needed here.

Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village — all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.

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