Hindu deity in National Medical Commission’s logo: Critics say reflection of pseudosciencetext_fields
New Delhi: The National Medical Commission (NMC) has found itself amidst a heated controversy after altering its official logo, which featured the national emblem of India—four lions—replaced with a coloured image of the Hindu deity Dhanvantari, the god of Ayurveda, accompanied by the addition of the word 'Bharat.'
This move has sparked a wave of criticism from various quarters, ranging from medical practitioners to political leaders like Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Thomas Isaac leading the charge. Isaac expressed concerns about the perceived shift towards pseudoscience, deeming it as "the shameless entry of India into the inner circle of pseudoscience hell."
The Indian Medical Association's Kerala unit joined the dissent, asserting that introducing caste or religious elements into the medical field was unacceptable. They contended that the new logo could potentially undermine the scientific and secular nature of the commission. The association strongly condemned the decision and demanded immediate action to rectify the situation.
Yogendra Malik, a member of the ethics and medical registration board of the NMC, apparently in damage control mode, sought to downplay the controversy, insisting that the logo had not undergone significant changes. According to Malik, the only difference was the addition of colour to the image of Dhanvantari, which had been part of the logo for the past year.
However, the altered logo is visible on the NMC's official website, raising questions about the consistency of the explanation provided. On the contrary, the old version featuring the traditional national emblem can still be observed on the X social media platform.
BN Gangadhar, chairperson of the NMC, acknowledged the replacement of "India" with "Bharat" in the logo but claimed that it was a reflection of the country's nomenclature. He asserted that the change was made simply because "the country has done so," without delving into further reasons. T
he purported change has not happened as such through any legislative process, but the new dispensation only has only chosen to take the preferred from the language of the Constitution 'India that is Bharat'.
This development comes in the wake of a broader trend, as seen in the renaming of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres to Ayushman Arogya Mandir by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This move, accompanied by a directive to states and Union Territories for implementation of the scheme, has fuelled speculation about a potential renaming of the country itself.
Critics, including Isaac, have denounced these actions as "ultra nationalism at its worst." As the controversy unfolds, it raises important questions about the intersection of medicine, national identity, and the potential implications of such symbolic changes on the integrity of the medical profession.