How can an elected representative, that too, a minister, demean the vice-chancellor of a health science university?
You need not search further as a classic example of high-end political drama and humiliation ensued at Faridkot's Guru Gobind Singh Medical College & Hospital on the 29th of July, 2022.
At the receiving end was Dr. Raj Bahdur, the vice chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, a veteran doctor with a career spanning over four decades and, reportedly, the state's only spine surgeon.
According to the viral video, Punjab Health Minister, Chetan Singh Jourmajra, forced Dr Bahadur to lie down on a dirty mattress in the Department of Skin as he was inspecting the hospital. The minister is supposedly blaming Dr Bahadur for the deplorable state of the hospital and the lack of beds and facilities.
The minister's deed has left the entire nation shocked, as he has breached all protocols and humiliated a citizen, a highly regarded medical administrator, and a surgeon of exceptional calibre.
The IMA, the medical community and opposition parties have condemned the Minister's action. In response, Dr Bahadur has resigned and has asked to be relieved of all his duties, even as the Punjab CM has apologised to him on behalf of Jourmajra.
It is not a rarity in India that elected representatives manhandle and force things on administrators. Blaming officers in charge and publicising the same for votes and popular appeal is quite common. Questions have even been raised as to how an uneducated minister can humiliate a well-respected doctor.
Is popular appeal and votes enough to become a minister, or should etiquette be instilled in them before allowing them to use their powers?
Should education and work experience in a relevant field be required to run for office?
Will our country ever rise to the level of one of the top ten powers if we do not change our political system? That is some food for thought!