September 25, 2011

Healing with ... what?

I saw this press release the other day that reported Shabana Azmi taking enthusiastic part in a book launch for "well-known homeopath Dr. Mukesh Batra." (I have shamelessly cropped Dr. Batra and others out of the above picture; please follow the link to see it.) Shabana ji said at the event that she believes in homeopathy, and praised Dr. Batra for helping relieve her pain and speeding the healing when she suffered a leg fracture. She also credited him for her beautiful skin.

The press release gave me pause. To me, the word "homeopathy" refers to the use of hyper-dilute "solutions" in which nothing is left of any active ingredient other than some mystical molecular memory. I believe this is utter quackery, snake oil of the lowest order. It includes such arrant nonsense as the claim that these solutions become more effective as they become more dilute. In short, I think it's rubbish, and that purveyors of it should be prosecuted, not praised.

But I did some research before sitting down to write this post, because I know that the term "homeopathy" has a broader usage as well, that refers to a wider variety of what we in the West sometimes call "alternative" medicine, natural medicine, or holistic medicine. That is far too broad of a scope for me (even as a fairly narrow-minded rationalist) to dismiss out of hand. Reading the press release, it sounds to me like Shabana ji, Dr. Batra, and his book are using the word in this broader sense. I did a sanity check with an Indian friend of mine, who also understood the word that way (and spoke very highly of her own experience with practitioners).

If Shabana ji believes that she has been helped by such natural and holistic remedies, I have no quibble with that, and no concern for either her good sense or her well-being. I would worry about someone who would reject scientifically-developed treatments for serious ailments - I wouldn't mess around with cancer, for example - but for pain remedies, or mild stimulation, or treating cold symptoms and the like, I can readily believe that natural remedies are often as effective (if not more so in some cases) than pharmaceuticals. So, it was just the term "homeopathy" - its two very different meanings - that threw me in this case.

This video puff piece has some more about Shabana ji's relationship with Dr. Batra, and some clips of both Shabana ji and Javed Akhtar looking wonderful.


Ankita said...

Carla! Thank You soo much for coming up with this brilliant blog...just cant thank you enough! I was watching 15 park avenue this of Shabana's finest i believe...would like to know your opinion on the same :)

Filmi Geek said...

Thank you Ankita! I write reviews of Hindi movies on my other blog, Filmi Geek. If you scroll down the right-hand side of this blog, you will find links to my reviews of all of Shabana Azmi's movies (that I have seen) - including 15 Park Avenue. Hope to see you and your comments again soon!

Ankita said...

Ya i read a lot of your reviews...beautifully written i must say! I was watching 'Saaz' yesterday. Its a good movie. Please do watch it! Shabana looks like a cutie baccha in that one!
Also watch out for her expressions during the song 'baadal chaandi barsye' and 'aaj hum roshan karenge'.