Dealing with the devil


|By Rajesh Chaudhary

Kathmandu | June 20, 2013

Time and again, history has outspoken pertaining to the issues of women being subjected to physical violence which suggests from physical to mental ail. Since the beginning of the civilization women has been sporadically been subjected to some forms of violence and it can’t be discounted.

There is one latest example of the one of those violence against women which is harsher, cruel, inhuman or even called barbaric than anything else and it governs both mental and physical ail — “THE RAPE”!  And, this problem is not the product of our society; it has been in existence since the beginning of the era and has been clearly expressed in various occasions and news outlets citing its existence in Greek Mythology, Ancient Rome as well as during the time of Christian empire.

The censes data on rape victims has appalled from rags to riches alike. Some of the few examples are something like this: Delhi has witnessed 700 rape cases in 2012 alone with Madhya Pradesh of India has reported highest number of rape cases which amounts to 3,406 during that time. Besides that, as of January 2013, our country, Nepal, has witnessed 30 rape cases in last 3 months of time. Out of which one third has been reported to be in Kathmandu itself. However, this might be just a part of the story, and might not reflect the complete scenario of Nepal. The reason is more than 50 rapes is thought to have taken place during that 3 months period while police might have been able to collect the data for just 30.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on its website under the article “Rape Prevention and Education Program (RPE)” has mentioned that, “nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives and nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced other forms of sexual violence victimization in their lifetime (e.g., made to penetrate someone, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences)”.

So, now, the bigger question is, how we can deal with this devil or the perpetrators behind this heinous crime? Would the answers be the anti-rape underwear (which gives shock to the molester) which has just been developed by a team of students of Instrumentation and Control Engineering at Chennai’s SRM University or would it be anti-pervert stockings for females which has buzzed the Chinese media since last couple of days.

I personally believe that the answer doesn’t lie in what we develop, rather than, it lies in our mores. Developing certain kind of tools to fend of these kind of crimes might be appreciating for a while, but this is not going to last long — this is not an ultimately solution. As a human being, our moral values determines what we ought to become — either a human or someone who is inhumane.

Though, the data on rape cases might be subjecting to the fact of level of education we have attained, we can’t completely rely on it. The reason is that even the capital city like Kathmandu and Delhi has tasted the bigger chunk of it rather than more improvised states and regions of both of these countries.

The only ultimately step to be taken to tackle with this existing problem is to introduce more modified educational system as well as stricter laws and amendments of the rules governing the violence against women — just like India has amended its legislation according to which a perpetrator is liable to capital punishment if the victim becomes handicapped or dies.

Different awareness programs along with the NGOs and INGOs might help a bit to tackle with this problem, if not completely uproot it. I think, the violence against women has rooted itself in a such as way that it might take years before even a iota of progress be made in curbing it. And, sadly enough, it is going to remain here for sometime now since the authorities responsible for amending the legislation doesn’t seem paying much heed to this ever growing serious problem.

I think, they (the authorities) are not going come out of their cozy cocoon until the problem knocks their door. This is how it always works and becomes effective.

Find the PDF file here:  Dealing with devil

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Quality versus Quantity


 

|By Rajesh Chaudhary

Agree or not, as the time progresses, the thin demarcation line between the clinical sciences and the basic sciences is fading away, and this is because of the assimilation of medical disorders which are linked to the molecular ground.

We have been bickering on the fact that who is to be called a medical biochemist, medical microbiologist, medical physiologist, immunologist, pharmacologist or pathologist — either the one who have pursued the basic science or those who are into the medical science since the beginning of their undergraduate work — I mean those who are completely into the medical science.

I think it is inane to bicker on the issues that doesn’t hold any significant value in itself. And, this can only be realized when we have some sort of exposure to the real scientific world. I mean, who have that time to just keep on arguing something which doesn’t have any productive value? It’s just like killing time instead of getting engaged into something productive. After all, we all have our own area of expertise and it has not to be judged from any side.

The ground reality is that both of these fields are not separable as both requires the expertise of another to reach to a common goal, which is to find a tangible solution to the existing baffling several diseased conditions of the world.

Now, again, this fact of finding a common solutions to the existing problems has another hurdle — which is to find the resources necessary to initiate the work of research. Forget about even initiating a research work without external funding source, it is really difficult to even say that, “I want to do a molecular research work which will have some potential to turn the table to those who wants a desperate answer to the existing problems in the health sector” — specially when we have been downgraded from “developing nation” to “least developed nation” on earth.

This might be the reason why we are getting indulged into some sort of research work which is considered as a sub-standard research work whose data are often flawed or manipulated. The only thing we care of today is to somehow get paper published in some national journals, if not a descent international journal having impact factor. Because, after all we all need some sort of paper for getting promoted if we are into pure academic sector.

As I have figured out, if I am not wrong, Nepal has over 12 scientific journals which includes : Kathmandu University Medical Journal, Journal of Nepal Health Research Council, Journal of Institute of Medicine, Journal of Nepal Medical Association, Nepal Medical College Journal, Journal of Nepal Dental Association, Journal of Nepal Pediatric Association, Journal of the Nepal Nursing Council, Journal of Kathmandu Medical College, Nepal Journal of Biotechnology and many more like these.

Now, from all these piles of journals, there are hardly any scientific evidence which have potential to influence on the decision of Nepal’s National Planning Commission — obviously, on the health sector. I mean, as a Biotechnologist, Biochemistry, Microbiologist et cetra, what we are engaged in, today, is not a real research work. Most of the research works are basically finding the prevalence rate of disease, infection, effect of certain drug on the health of an individual or the pH of their digestive system or the influence of that diseased condition in life of an individual.

What I have to say is, all those things have already been researched before introducing some sort of drugs. I mean as a person in the basic science who have more molecular touch than any other filed, and thus, it is our responsibility to be a little bit descent and honest in our work when it comes to the quality of research work.

On this run-and-melee for number of publications we are our selves trying to subvert our own field by not being honest to it. My point is that either we should seriously get involved in the quality research work or just leave it rather than bungling it up with something none sense.

I think we are either not sure what we want to do and how we want to do while longing for increasing number of research publications in our curriculum vitae or either we are just trying to fool people. But, ironically, this has become a trend! Even those who are capable to give a tangible scientific output are also being involved in this act.

I am really baffled to the researches going on in Nepal and it’s all because the line of separation between the subjects has turned out to be too hazy. Take for example, a microbiological research work about the prevalence of some sort of microbial infection — what it has to do with the anatomy filed? I mean, we are still correlate things if we want but I don’t see there is any point in correlating a superficial work of microbiology to anatomy. And, even after that, how can a microbiologist take the survey data of infection and call it a research without getting to the root cause of the infection? How can we separate it from community medicine, public health and the microbiology?

As a microbiologist, biochemist we have to get down to the root cause of the disease which has to be on the molecular level. Our research can’t just rely on the fact whether or not to change a perception just based on the superficial data which might vary depending on the several different factors, for example, environmental factor, diet, genetic make up of an individual, their immunity and so on.

The genuine research works have a potential to influence a country’s economy and that is what Japan is now heading towards — reviving its economic strength based on the research work. Japan is calling for the international researches to its country and for that Japan is going to provide a complete free and fair environment so that researches can brood without a boundary — either monetary, language or cultural barrier which is thought to be the biggest hurdle for the researchers around the world.

The cultural dissimilarity has created big confusion between the researchers from different backgrounds and culture, which is thought to be the biggest hurdle when it comes to reaching a common goal of finding solution. In fact, it is true. How can somebody work freely and concentrate on their work while they are being judged based on their country of origin and their past background?

This is not only the case of Nepal, the problem seems overwhelming as it has engrossed even US system of research work and therefore, Arthur J. Ammann, a founder of Global Strategies and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, California, USA writes, “US clinical-research system in need of review”, in nature journal. Though, it has been more focused on the ethical background, it along with other such articles still holds a notion about the research works being published every now and then.

Today, we are longing for the number of research proposal rather than focusing on the quality of paper and this is becoming a serious problem of today, and there doesn’t seem any sign of it abating soon.

Commercialization of plant tissue culture technology


Kathmandu | Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Few months back I got a chance to attend a youth forum which is being organized once in a month by the biotechnology graduates of Nepal. And, it has been nearly a year or more since this talk program has been conducted continuously. And, it has been a year of glorious journey and we feel glad to share this to all of you. The essence of the program is to make people aware about the necessity and importance of biotechnology in Nepal. And, this time the topic of this talk program (Team Up and Talk Biotechnology) has been “Commercialization of plant tissue culture technology”. It has been long since I wrote this blog on the very program, but somehow I have not been able to manage to post it. But, now, I am posting it here. Hope you will enjoy the post.

There are just few handfuls of people, group, organization or institute that dares to escalate and stand in the time of adversity, and “Team Up and Talk About Biotechnology” is one such youth forums. “Team Up and Talk About Biotechnology” has ventured in this noble work of garnering the current molecular biologists of Nepal since January 2012, and since then has been engaged actively in such discussion programs pertaining to the ongoing research works in Nepal and their achievements so far.

In the due process, this time, the very group has just finished its 10th. Talk-episode successfully organized in Martin Chautari on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 among the enthusiastic biotech graduates and scientists from different renowned organizations such as Kathmandu University, SAAN International, White House International Sanpo International Corporation, Japan, and Department of Plant Resource under Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Nepal. The talk program was entitled: “Commercialization of plant tissue culture technology”.

The chief guests of the program was Mr. Hari Krishna Saiju (plant tissue culturist) and Mrs. Amira Dali (International Business Management officer associated with Sanpo International Corporation, Japan) – one of the few renowned figures in Nepal who have devoted their entire life contributing to the Nepali society with the available plant resources and making it one of the sustainable business through research work.

The talk show was opened by Mr. Saiju – one of the leading plant tissue culturists of Nepal who had invented and introduced “Sand Rooting Technology” in plant in Nepal – one of the groundbreaking technologies in the field of plant science that has made the world owe on that particular achievement. The technology made the world jaw-dropped because the technology made plant grow their roots in sand which didn’t contain any form of growth hormones such as auxin or delicate environmental conditions necessary for generating root – it rather contained just clean moist sand from Godawari river.

The very technique was universally accepted and got publication in various international journals on plant research after the technique was approved by researchers from US and Japan – including Professor Murasakami from Okinawa University, Japan who once visited Nepal during 1970-1980 and took the sand sample from Godawari to investigate possible nutritive materials that was thought might be inducing rooting in plant. However, researchers didn’t find anything other than just moist sand which has contributed so magnificently – and that was really hard to believe and accept. However, unfortunately, researchers in Nepal failed to patent the technique due to fund crunch – required for processing patenting work in US. And, later, the technique was made available free of cost for the society – a paragon of philanthropic work by Nepali scientists.

The gist of the talk program reiterated on the fact that Nepal is rich in natural resources and there is a tremendous scope if research works on plant resources is to be taken seriously, especially on tea, potato, wheat, maize, banana and some other cash crops. Because of the lack of proper business-oriented tissue culture labs in Nepal and the reluctance of Nepal government towards research work, current cash crops are on the verge of aging and it needs serious attention to rejuvenate it.

Yes, of course, there are some stymies that might be trying to stumble work, but it is not impossible! While Nepal is under the transition phase which seems unceasing for the time being with surmounting load-shedding hours in addition, it is obvious that it might be somewhat disheartening to those who are seriously giving it a thought. But, the current growing demand for tissue-cultured tea plants in Nepal is so overwhelming that once it is initiated it will surpass all those stymies.

The handful of tissue culture labs in Nepal has just not been able to cope with the growing demand of tissue-cultured banana plants, virus-free potato and few ornamental plants which are also being exported elsewhere in the world. Mrs. Dali reiterated on the fact that, Nepal is still importing potatoes from Bhutan and India, but surprisingly only the Nepal’s homegrown potatoes are the only that are virus free – which has been developed by the researchers in Nepal. And, unfortunately, it will taint the current virus-free potatoes of Nepal in future. Additionally, current research on wheat has shown that Nepal’s wheat is only free of leaf-rust disease in South Asian region.

Finally, the talk show ended successfully with a hope that Nepal still have tremendous potential and ample of research fields to develop on cash-crops and ornamental plants that can be turned into a sustainable business with a R&D in the background for continuous upbringing of aging Nepal crops and plants.

DISCUSSION SESSION

Q. How sustainable is the area of plant tissue culture in Nepal?

We have to accept the fact that it will not be garnering money overnight, but since cultured plants have huge demand when it comes especially in tea and banana market, it is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nepal. But, you have to hold your heart for at least few years before it starts to bear fruits.


Imbroglio of scientific world


|By Rajesh Chaudhary

Just nearly a week ago, the entire scientific world wake up in a frenzy. It has been marked as one of the memorable day in the scientific world when the news about “human stem cell line through cloning” resurfaced throughout the world creating a huge buzz – the day was so significant and it holds meaning for its daring job. It has once again made it clear that the world of cloning is not fading away doesn’t matter how hard the religious sentiments are being crushed time and again and how many times they are being challenged for what they preach.

When you enter into a real scientific world, you will feel the need of knowledge in research ethics. When we entered into our research work, we were not allowed to start our lab and touch anything until and unless we were made sure through classes, seminars and other activities along with the exam on research ethics to make sure we were not going to bungle it up once we start our full-fledged lab work.

The fact of getting conversant with the ethical guidelines before getting into the research work can’t be discounted. But, the confusion arises on the way. There had been, and there are still, unattended issues of whether or not ethical guidelines has to be implemented as strictly as it has been suggested. The reason is ethical guidelines are still not clear and it leaves researchers in lurch thinking whether to proceed or to leave the work which took time, money and all those years  of perseverance.

The news about the revolutionary cloning of sheep, The Dolly Sheep” in 1996 has long gone, but it has left a sense of apprehension and confusion pertaining to the fact that whether we are destined to doom our own existence while longing for our godly attempt – to create a new individual from the existing one – THE CLONE! 

Recent groundbreaking discovery on “Human stem cell lines through cloning” is one of those buzzing news which has created a huge outcry in the scientific world not just because it has surpassed its limit to go beyond what is usually ethically permitted but also because of some of its errors that was crept in during its zipping attempt to publish paper in the journal Cell.

Though this groundbreaking discovery has its potential to turn the table to those who preach the strict laws governing ethical issues taking into account of its potentiality to find one of those desperate answers to the disease such as “Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy”, and to create perfectly match tissues that might be a answer for the disease ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease along with and other “mitochondrial-related diseases”; there still have been comments from the critics calling it a “barbaric” attempt while other terming it as “terrible injustice”.

The reasons was that during this procedure one has to go through three steps: egg donation, embryo destruction and cloning – all of which is unethical because for egg donation a women has to pass through procedures which have uninvited consequences.

It is also quite understandable that for every big achievement of whatsoever kind have a price we have to pay. We must have to take the lead and challenge what is being discouraged. I think the ethics stymieing the progress of research work involving stem cells has to take a back seat at least for a while rather than making issues with each and every groundbreaking discovery. It’s a high time to think about it rationally and give some space to those who are really seriously attempting to salvage from the diseases engrossing the entire humanity.