Monday 28 February 2022


On the 21st of this month, Dr. Paul Farmer, infectious diseases physician and ambassador for the democracy of public health, died of a cardiac arrest in his sleep. With his death, we lose another giant oak under whose shade many small trees were trying to bloom. They are shaken, but we can only hope the roots are strong and the seeds are many.

As the grimmest of news swirls around our homes (are we not once again united by consciousness of a global storm brewing?), the work of Farmer in Haiti and Rwanda must not be forgotten. The grotesque healthcare inequities that characterise our modern world steered Farmer’s moral compass; compassion and charm did the rest. This month also ends Black History Month…

In March 1959, when Dr. King disembarked on the shores of Delhi, he said, 'To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim.'

King was besieged by villagers for his autograph and spent a night at Mani Bhavan, Gandhi's residence in Bombay, on a mattress on the floor beside the charka. Among the many elite persons he dined with, he also met with Dalit students in Kerala.

The five weeks King spent in India expanded his thoughts on race, the caste system, and land use discrimination.

The struggle to remain non-violent in the face of tanks and shells and every other instrument of war, cleverly crafted by the brilliance of the human mind, continues. Two peaceful leaders have died, and a non peaceful leader has re-awoken. What next? It is up to each of us to decide.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

A very interesting post. I didnt know about Dr King's connection with India. Dr Farmer sounds like an amazing human being. These are hard days for pacifists - and for people who root for the underdog. I cant believe this is happening, and yet it is.

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