Sunday, May 13, 2007

The ugly face of AIIMS: An update

In my previous post, I pointed to this Telegraph story about the Thorat Committee Report "confirming" its own findings. I was not able to locate that earlier report when I wrote that post.

Now, thanks to Pratik Ray and Madhukar Shukla (see their comments), we have a link to that report from July 5, 2006. In addition, Pratik points us to this Telegraph story from March 9, 2007, and Madhukar points us to this column by Manoj Mitta in today's ToI (which also refers to an earlier report from September 12, 2006). If you have time to read just one report, I would recommend Mitta's hard-hitting article.

[The Telegraph story from 9.3.2007 refers to yet another report from 'last June', which we have not found.]

The picture presented by this diversity of evidence from old media tells us that there is something truly rotten in the land of AIIMS. Now, given this evidence, what has the government done with it? Manoj Mitta doesn't hide his anger:

when the much-awaited findings came, Ramadoss, unfortunately, seemed more interested in settling his personal scores with Venugopal. After tabling the report in a meeting of the governing body of AIIMS, all that the government could think of announcing was its decision to serve a show-cause notice on faculty members for condemning the Thorat findings.

Instead of pinning them down on specific instances of caste discrimination, Ramadoss did Venugopal's camp a favour with his clumsy attempt to muzzle their voices. Sure enough, they accused him of being autocratic and the committee of doing his bidding. By allowing them to reclaim the moral high ground on the autonomy of AIIMS, Ramadoss has helped the faculty and administration escape the odium of accounting for their errors of omission and commission.


  1. barbarindian said...

    All the allegations about "they don't let me play rugby" etc. are clearly bogus and no one is interested. The more serious stuff is about the discrimination in evaluation of exams etc.

    Naturally these allegations can be levelled at AIIMS where the professors are vulnerable by very design. The grading bias can not be proved at IITs or IIMs.

    I believe caste baiters are already working on a solution. Let's wait for them, instead of jumping to conclusions based on the report from just one institute.

  2. Madhukar said...

    This news report from Business Standard is relevant to the point you have highlighted:

    "Committee member Shyam Prasad, who is also chairman of the National Board of Examinations and president of the academic council of AIIMS, said the findings of the committee reveal that something is terribly wrong with one of the best institutions in the country and the rights enshrined in the Constitution are not being protected either by society or government.

    He, however, cautioned against using the report to play any blame game or to target AIIMS director P Venugopal by turning it into a ministry versus Venugopal issue, “The director of the institute is mentioned only in one sentence, while there are 300 pages on the unfair deal meted out to reserved category students. Hence, it is more urgent to take steps to correct a situation which is as bad as apartheid,” Shyam Prasad said.

    ...According to Shyam Prasad, the government should take responsibility for the occurrence of such discrimination rather than blame anyone.

    He said these students have been there for five years, much before Venugopal became a director. It is another matter that Venugopal came at a time when things took a turn for the worse and he did play a role, he said."

    Also, I think I was wrong to conclude that the report was also based on "documentary evidence" that I had mentioned in my earlier comment (though some news articles do point to that, e.g., about discrimination in promotion, appointment, etc.). However, this news items says that:

    The committee has based its findings on a survey questionnaire which was answered by 25 reserved category students of AIIMS out of the total of 50 such students.

  3. Dr Rajesh said...

    The AIIMS director, Dr P Venugopal is a criminal who is perpetuating casteism among the students. This has been evaluated and confirmed by the recent report of the committee headed by the UGC chairman. The Director instigated and helped the upper caste innocent medical students to go on an agitation while providing all support to use the AIIMS campus against the lower caste medical students.
    Such a Crime is punishable with imprisonment under the Constitution of INDIA. I still wonder how is still free and not behind the bars for his ghastardly act.
    Probably, because the media has made him a anti-reservationist casteist darling. Even the biased indian judiciary is helping him out. with such support it is afterall not surprising though.
    How can doctors who are taught to treat patients, feel different with their collegues based on their caste. What sort of professionals do they turn out to be. I see in them doctors who ask a dying patient his caste before treating him. No wonder AIIMS is deteriorating under the able (criminal?) guidance of the present Director P Venugopal.

  4. Anonymous said...

    you can find aiimsonians view regarding this controversy at

  5. Anonymous said...
    The above link gives the story of a Senior Doctor in AIIMS. It is not only the Junior Doctors but senior doctors are also being victimised on the basis of caste. This Senior Doctor has written a letter to the SC Commission alleging caste discrimination by HoD Dr G K Rath and her colleagues.
    On 25-9-07 AIIMS set up panel on caste row. But this is what Dr Bhasker wrote in reply to this: ‘‘This committee has been constituted consisting of members who were vehemently defending the accused before the honourable commission and were severely reprimanded for the same...In my considered opinion, setting up of this committee has been done with the singular motive of rendering the proceedings at the commission null and void and to bury the matter.’’
    As per several reports in Media her juniors have refused to assist her in patient care activities because of caste angle. She had actively participated in Pro-reservation agitations earlier.
    This is very worrying situation as this may set a dangerous precedence leading to wide spread indiscipline in offices.

  6. Anonymous said...

    Many media reports are saying that after Venugopal next AIIMS director will be Dr GK Rath. Unfortunately both were blamed by Thorat Comittee.