Atithi Devo Bhavah

In 2001-02, Dr. Peter Forster from University of Cambridge set out to study the effects of nuclear radiation in Kerala. It is a well known fact that beaches of Kerala contains enough Thorium Phosphate to make the radiation 10 times higher than the normal level. The thorium salt gets washed down into the sea from mountains with the help of rivers.

He took 988 samples of saliva to analyse the mitochondrial DNA with informed consent from all the volunteers. He found that the inreased re-occurrence of down’s syndrome, chromosomal aberrations and congenital malformations could be attributed to prolonged exposure to radiation.

And this was the headline in the news:

DNA samples ‘smuggled’ out of India by European scientists

They were blamed for trying to help us out without seeking mandatory clearance from the Union Health Ministry. What would have happened if they had tried to get “permission”? How should he go about getting the “permission”? I bet there are no friendly interfaces to the Indian government. Only the shrewdest among the Scrooge-s of India know the tricks to make change happen.


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