Charak Shapath Controversy: Dean removed in case of Charak oath, reinstated, student union president defends

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Charak Oath Controversy: Controversy erupted in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai Medical College after first-year students took the Maharishi Charaka oath instead of the Hippocratic oath. After this, the state government removed the dean of the college, Dr Rathinvel, from the post. After this, the opposition parties targeted the Tamil Nadu government and called it a political move. However, now the state government has reverted its decision and reinstated the dean of Madurai Medical College. Tamil Nadu Health Minister MA Subramaniam gave this information.

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The student union had taken the blame on itself

Ahead of the reinstatement of the dean of Madurai Medical College by the government, the students’ union of the college had organized a press conference. In this, the student union president Jothis Kumarvel had accepted the change in the affidavit. Jothis said that it was his decision to observe Maharishi Charaka’s oath. He did this because it was recommended by the National Medical Commission (NMC) in its guidelines issued on March 31. He is following merit-based medical education of NMC since the year 2019. So he decided to follow the guidelines of NMC even during the swearing-in. So he downloaded the Charaka oath from the internet and translated it from Sanskrit to English a day or two before the event. He did not inform the college management about this.

Denial of pressure and political leanings

Kumarvel further said that there has been no clear order from the state government to make the Hippocratic oath mandatory for freshmen. However, after this incident, he has received instructions from the Director of Medical Education Narayan Babu to continue on the Hippocratic oath. These instructions have also been sent to other medical colleges across the state. Students who supported Kumarvel also said that they had no idea that this move would create controversy. He said that this work was not done due to any pressure and political inclination. The Tamil Nadu government has ordered a departmental inquiry into the entire incident.

Why did the controversy happen?

The students took the Maharishi Charak oath during the college’s white coat ceremony held on Saturday. According to the information, the state government had expressed displeasure over this incident. Soon after, the dean of the college, A Rathinwell, was removed from his post and put him on the waiting list. The BJP had targeted this move of the state government and called it a political move. At the same time, many opposed the incident and called the Charak oath regressive. He had alleged. He alleged that the BJP-led central government was trying to saffronise medical education.

Government ministers were present

State Finance Minister PTR Palanivel Thiaga Rajan and Commercial Taxes Minister P Murthy were also present at the Madurai Medical College entrance ceremony. He immediately objected to the Charak oath. Rajan has also shared a copy of the Charak oath on social media to which he has objected. This oath reads – I (especially a male doctor) will treat a woman only in the presence of her husband or any close relative.

What is Charak oath?

Charaka Samhita is a text of Ayurveda, the supreme text of Indian traditional medicine system. Maharishi Charak oath has been prepared from the excerpt of this text available in Sanskrit language. Whereas the Hippocratic Oath was inspired by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. On March 31, the National Medical Commission had recommended replacing the Hippocratic Oath with the Maharishi Charak Oath. However, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently said in Parliament that the Maharishi Charak oath would be optional and would not be forced on medical students.

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