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Doctors can write heart touching stories like nobody else can: Dr Lokendra Singh

In an interview with Nation Next, Dr Lokendra Singh speaks about his love for writing, his idea of romance and reveals what inspired him to write.
Dr Lokendra Singh

Dr Lokendra Singh is the Director and Chief Consultant Neurosurgeon at Central India Institute of Medical Sciences (CIIMS), Nagpur. He completed his MBBS from SMS Medical College, Jaipur, studied neurosurgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and also has a degree in hospital management from IIM Ahmedabad. Dr Singh is undoubtedly one the most popular and respected neurosurgeons in Nagpur but there’s a different side to him that’s really fascinating. Over the years, Dr Singh has also carved a niche for himself as a writer, author and a poet. In an interview with Nation Next, Dr Lokendra Singh speaks about his love for writing, his idea of romance and reveals what inspired him to write.

Excerpts:

Neurosurgery and writing poetry and fiction are fields that are perceived to be poles apart. Being a neurosurgeon, how did writing happen to you?

I think neurosurgery and writing are not poles apart. Doctors basically deal with human emotions, body and soul. They can write more heart touching stories because they see life and death very closely as compared to anyone. They see people breaking down and then rising up from the dark times of their lives and then being happy once their loved ones are alright and out of the hospital bed. There are very few professions like mine where a person can experience extreme human emotions. I discovered the writer in me because of one of my colleagues. When he wrote a book; I thought, ?if he can write it, why can’t I??

What can’t you survive without between the two – neurosurgery and writing?

Your brain will work only when your stomach is full! My livelihood is more important as my family is dependent on me. Writing is my hobby, a very serious hobby. I have an infatuation towards literature.

Between poetry and fiction, what do you enjoy more?

I enjoy both equally. If I experience a writers block, I immediately shift my focus and start writing a prose. I make it a point to write for two hours every day.

Your first book ?Coffin her back was a medical crime story that dealt with the dirty aspects of medical field. Is the situation really that scary as you have portrayed in your book

Yes, the book deals with ugly aspects of medical field but of course there are some good aspects as well. The book is about a real story which I have fictionalized further. Almost sixty percent of the book is fiction.

You are working on yet another crime story with Cardioplegia (intentional and temporary cessation of cardiac activity, primarily for cardiac surgery) being the central theme. Where does a poet-doctor like you get these hard core crime story ideas from?

I am writing the book with a feeling of revenge. The book has a character of an agent which featured in my first book as well. That agent played a nasty game with me in real life and duped me of my money! When you’re cheated by someone, it feels really bad and it hurts at multiple levels. You think that you are smart and intelligent but you are proved wrong. I was extremely angry when I was cheated. So, in my second book, I killed the agent as I wanted to take revenge! Writing about it brought peace to me. The famous physician and novelist, Robin Cook is my inspiration when it comes to writing and I always think that ? if he can do it, I can too.

You are a Jat from Mathura who got settled in Nagpur. How does a poet in you describe the diagonally opposite culture?

I was born in UP, brought up in Rajasthan and I’m working in Maharashtra now. I have always experienced cultural diversity and I blend with cultures very easily. Every state has a different culture. I have absorbed all the good things of all the cultures I have experienced and have created my own culture! Maharashtra is very rich in literature after West Bengal; the literature here is very forward and modern. Maharashtrian Brahmins are like western brahmins, they drink and have non-vegetarian food too. They are very knowledgeable and have in-depth knowledge of their culture and rituals.

Poets and writers are perceived to be romantic. What is your definition of romance?

I am a very romantic person. If I see a beautiful lady, I fall in love with her! My wife knows me very well and she gives me that independence in limits (laughs). I don’t like fighting at home. Romance adds spice to your life otherwise life can be boring. I am a very practical and a miser kind of lover. I will not spend; if she wants she can!

You have received the ?Hindi Sahitya Academy Award of Maharashtra for the anthology of your Hindi poems ?Bunde jeevan ki. But of late you have been writing in English only. Why have you stopped writing in Hindi?

It’s nothing like that. In fact, I write more in Hindi and in Urdu. I have written and uploaded hundreds of poems on my Facebook account, which I am thinking of publishing soon. It’s very unfortunate that nowadays people don’t prefer reading in Hindi. There are only few places like universities and libraries where you can find Hindi books. The demand for Hindi literature has certainly decreased over the years.

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Governance

Dharavi redevelopment to have dedicated areas for manufacturing: Devendra Fadnavis

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi redevelopment will have dedicated areas for manufacturing…

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

Devendra Fadnavis

The Mah Deputy CM says that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

As Dharavi redevelopment has been announced, doubts were raised on whether this locally evolved entrepreneurial hub will retain its spirit.  In a chat on Sansad TV with Sanjeev Sanyal, Member, PM’s Economic Advisory Council and a writer, on an Economic Sutra episode telecast on Nov 6, the Deputy Chief Minister had made it very clear how he foresees the future of Dharavi and Mumbai.

Saying that his government worked on clearing all the bottlenecks, he adds, “We understood that unless we have a place to rehabilitate people, which is nearby Dharavi, this project will not take off. We found out that there is around 42 acres of land which belongs to the Railways. We approached the Central Government and told them that we’ll free up your land. We’ll buy your land and we’ll give you a share in the profit and we entered into a definitive agreement and now they have handed it over to us.”

“The Dharavi Redevelopment project will be the most unique project ever done. In fact, this redevelopment was visualized by none other than Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 but nothing happened – until 2014 when Modiji came and we started governing Maharashtra. The redevelopment will be no less beautiful than BKC. Dharavi is just not a slum but it’s also a great manufacturing cluster, so what we did was that while planning this scheme we have created areas for this entire manufacturing industry along with planning for the rehabilitation of the people. Right now, this entire manufacturing sector is informal, but after this and over time they will come into the formal sector.”

Watch the full interaction here: https://youtu.be/FNeTrm0v0dw

Also, with Mumbai undergoing so many infrastructural changes, questions have been raised about retaining the quintessential character of “aamchi Mumbai,” which apart from being the financial capital of India is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant cities.

Speaking on the land issues, Fadnavis says, “The usable space in Mumbai is very little. It has length, but has limitations on the breadth so taking into consideration all these problems we wanted to design a very robust system for Mumbai for commuters and for vehicles. That’s why the all the new Coastal Road, which will decongest the western side of Mumbai. It will be a ring road type structure along the coast and this Western Expressway carries 60 percent of the Mumbai traffic right, so all that traffic will be mostly accommodated here.”

Commuting in Mumbai is a killer and every day Mumbaikars spend a lot of time on travel. Saying that he wants to reduce travel within Mumbai from anywhere to anywhere to an hour, Fadnavis explains, “Our Metro three is a very unique 40 kilometers of underground Network, which will be the lifeline of Mumbai. It is estimated to carry around 1.7 million passengers per day! All this work will be finished in two or three years and I want that from any place to any place in Mumbai one should reach within less than one hour – that is the planning. We are also trying to integrate the transportation system. Right now, our Suburban Railway is the lifeline of Mumbai. This Suburban Railway carries around 9 million passengers. The new Metro Network which we are creating will be carrying around 7 million or 8 million passengers, almost doubling the current number.”

Adding to this, the Deputy CM says that the 22 kilometers of Sea Bridge that will connect us to the hinterland, “so we have Mumbai, we have new Mumbai and that will be the third Mumbai that will be a land mass which will be bigger than Mumbai with new Mumbai airport. I think the future growth of Mumbai is on that side!”

Also read: Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Governance

Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm…

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm.

Dharavi

Is squalor for cameras, money more important than dignified living for the residents…  

Former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy’s Dharavi comments kicked off a storm when he said on Twitter that Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, ‘is not actually a slum but a tribute to the great entrepreneurial spirit of the weakest and smallest person fighting for his or her livelihood in Mumbai. It is also a model in collective coexistence in one of the toughest cities in the world, where nothing else matters. Not caste. Not faith. Not where you come from. But trust and togetherness.’

While this may be true, what is equally true is the squalor and subhuman conditions that reign supreme in this slum. Netizens felt that Nandy, by romanticizing poverty in this manner, was only feeding poverty porn and tourism. Nandy clarified that he was seeking to keep the spirit of Dharavi alive by “researching the architectural grammar, the cultural history that builds integrated and interdependent societies like Dharavi that have survived and flourished over decades and make that the base for the new redevelopment plans. Not just look at the future but also build in the past.”

The Maharashtra Government had on November 29, opened the financial bids for Dharavi redevelopment project.  While 3 companies Adani Realty, DLF and Naman Group had submitted bids, the Adani Group clinched the project with a INR 5,069-crore bid. The timeline for the entire redevelopment of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, might take close to 17 years, the rehabilitation of slum dwellers should be complete in seven years. 

Also read: Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Crime

Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai
The Bombay High Court said ex-minister Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues.

Anil Deshmukh

The Bombay High Court said, as per prima facie, 74-year-old former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, said that when Deshmukh’s bail plea was moved on medical grounds, then a fresh medical report needed to be called for. 

Singh said, “There is a compilation that has been given now. There are medical papers attached. We need to go through it. Even though this is not a bail application on merit of the case, it is still being circulated under medical issues. He is getting medical treatment as required. Moreover, medical issues are not static. We need a check on what his condition is right now.”

Deshmukh’s advocate Vikram Chaudhari said the senior NCP leader was being treated but has been suffering from several ailments that require constant treatment and care. Chaudhary said, ”He needs to be released. He is a chronic patient.”

Justice MS Karnik said that the court would hear the bail plea on merits. He said, “I am satisfied that we can proceed with the hearing on merits and give it priority. This is my prima facie opinion that priority should be given. One of the medical ailments (that Deshmukh is suffering from) is degenerative.” Deshmukh’s bail plea would now be heard on December 6.

The bench asked Singh whether he was ready to argue on the merits of the case immediately, to which Singh said he would require a week while Chaudhari said that he was ready to argue. However, Justice Karnik said, “We need to give them a fair opportunity.”

Also read: 10 lakh spectators across 50 km; PM Modi makes history with road show for BJP in Ahmedabad

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