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Sonam Gupta ‘bewafa’ once again, courtesy new notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Writing on currency notes is a strict no-no, with the government having stated that any defaced notes are immediately void. However, that’s not stopping internet trolls from using the new Rs 2,000 notes to breathe new life into an old joke.‘Sonam Gupta bewafa hai’ (Sonam Gupta is unfaithful) is something you might’ve already come across at some point. While no one really knows where this particular phrase was born, a lot of Indians will remember seeing it written in Devanagari script on Rs 10 notes at one time or another.Whoever the heartbroken lover may have been, what likely started out as spiteful comment spiralled into a common knowledge trend, similar to the ‘Beanbags’ graffiti spray painted across Mumbai’s walls in yesteryears. Eventually, the trend died down, and people stopped maligning the unidentified Sonam Gupta on their currency for fun. But now, thanks to the issuance of the new currency, people are once again sporting the phrase on their Rs 2,000 notes.It’s taken over social media, making thousands wonder – who is this heart-breaker Sonam Gupta? And do others who share her name find it as funny?Sonam Gupta (21), a commerce student from Mumbai, isn’t affected by the trend. “Some years ago too this had appeared all over social media,” she says. “We can’t take everything seriously. She believes that the jilted lover was stupid to make his personal grouse public. “I am constantly receiving messages and getting tagged in such posts all over social media. It doesn’t matter, people will stop after a while,” the college girl states. She isn’t ready to lose her sleep over something so stupid. “It’s not worth my attention,” she smirks.“One of my friends forwarded me a picture and then followed a queue of messages and posts. I’ve never even had a boyfriend in my entire life,” sighs Sonam Gupta, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Indore. Initially, she took it sportingly, finding humour in the coincidence of the name. “My family too laughed about it when they first read this online, but later they were equally irritated,” adds the 23-year-old. She says she is being ridiculed even in her college (being the only Sonam Gupta in her batch). Even her WhatsApp status indicates how bored of the joke she has become. “Hey there! I am not that ‘Bewafa Sonam’… so please stop sending me ‘Sonam Gupta Bewafa hai’ images and links.”Having been single her entire life, Hyderabad based Sonam Gupta says she couldn’t be bothered about the whole issue. “Why would I be angry or take it personally?” she asks.“I am not the unfaithful one. I am pretty chilled out about the whole thing,” laughs the 23-year-old. Although her friends have been teasing her with photos saying, “Look, you’re famous” she just replies with a smiley face. The engineer says she can’t even be mad at her friends, as she would have done exactly the same thing in their position. “It’s the way friends have fun,” she shrugs.

Neet to be held in December

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for Post Graduate Diploma courses will be conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE) from December 5-13 across 41 cities.For MDS courses (dental), the examination will take place from November 30 to December 3 across same number of cities.It will be a computer based test, with multiple choice questions from the MBBS curriculum followed at medical colleges in India.”The examination will be held in 86 test centres at 41 cities from 5-13 December 2016. The questions will be based on MBBS curriculum followed at medical colleges in India duly prescribed as per the Graduate Medical Education Regulation notified by Medical Council of India (MCI) with prior approval of the health ministry,” an official statement said.The statement said that it will be a single eligibility cum entrance examination for admission to PG medical courses for the academic session 2017 and include all India 50 per cent quota seats for MD, MSand PG Diploma courses. This will apply to all states except Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmirand Telangana.It will also include state quota seats for MD, MS and PG diploma courses for all states and UTs including Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana. Similarly, the examinations for NEET MDScourses (Dental) will be held in 86 test centres at 41 cities and it will also be a computer based test which will comprise of 240 multiple choice questions.”AIIMS, PGIMER, Chandigarh, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) and SRICHITRA Institute are not covered by NEET PG.”The AIIMS, New Delhi Dental institution is not covered by centralised admissions for MDS seats through NEET-MDS for 2017 session,” the statement added.The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is an entrance examination in India, for students who wish to study any graduate medical course (MBBS), dental course (BDS) or postgraduate course (MD / MS) in government or private medical colleges in India.

NEET row: Hombay HC allows Maharashtra to go ahead with its domicile policy

The court was hearing petitions filed by Mahatma Gandhi Vidyamandir’s Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital, a private unaided college, and the students from outside Maharashtra, challenging the rules denying admissions to applicants from other states in these courses. It allowed Maharashtra to go ahead with its domicile policy. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a setback to the petitioners challenging new rules for admission to any graduate medical course (MBBS), dental course (BDS) or postgraduate course (MD/MS) in government or private medical colleges in the country through the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), the Bombay High Court on Monday declined to interfere into the matter and asked Maharashtra to go ahead with its domicile policy.Lifting a stay on the admissions to various courses through NEET, the court, however, asked the Maharashtra Government to prepare a separate list for candidates from outside the state, but restrained the government from putting that out without its review. The court was hearing petitions filed by Mahatma Gandhi Vidyamandir’s Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital, a private unaided college, and the students from outside Maharashtra, challenging the rules denying admissions to applicants from other states in these courses.The High Court had on August 30 stayed a government’s resolution that made it mandatory for all deemed medical universities and colleges to follow the NEET merit list for admitting students. More than 20,000 students had registered for the centralised admission process through NEET for admissions to 1,675 seats in deemed institutes in Maharashtra. The selection list was supposed to be published by September 3, but it was stayed by the High Court till it decides on those petitions.The petitioners have challenged the rules that allow the benefit of reservation only to local students, questioning how such domicile rules could be applied in private unaided colleges.

Catch ’em young! government school students on border tours

Fifty-six students from government schools — Kendriya Vidyalayas (Kvs) and Navodaya Vidyalaya Schools — last week — had a first-hand feel of the life of armed forces personnel deployed on forward areas along the international borders.Under ‘Seema Darshan’ (border visit), an initiative jointly coordinated by the army and the ministry of human resource development, 28 boys and as many girls from across the country were taken to Dharchula and Pithoragarh in Uttrakhand and Nathu La in Sikkim in two groups.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This comes at a time when the youth in the country are preferring other career options over the armed forces. In March this year defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written response to a question in Lok Sabha, “In army (excluding Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service), as on July 1, 2015, against the authorised strength of 49,631 officers, held strength of officers is 40,525 with a shortage of 9,106 officers.”While the Navy, as on January 31, 2016, faced a shortage of 1,265 officers, the Indian Air Force as of November 1, 2015, didn’t have any shortage.The initiative, besides giving the students exposure, is also to catch them young and inspire them to join the armed forces, said an official.During their visit to the Army units in Uttarakhand, the students witnessed ‘Jungle Lane Shooting’ and ‘Rock Climbing’.The other group went to Nathu-La in Sikkim and had a first hand interaction with troops on the India- China border.In their three day trip to the north east, among other places, they visited Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. A similar tour was organised in January too.

President’s ordinance on NEET ‘partially overturns’ SC order, postpones ‘testing times’ by a year

New Delhi: After raising queries, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday signed the ordinance to keep state boards out of the common entrance test (NEET) for MBBS and dental courses for this year.

The President promulgated the ordinance this morning after Health Ministry officials returned with the file addressing all the queries raised by him, official sources said.

A file photo of Pranab Mukherjee. AFPA file photo of Pranab Mukherjee. AFP

A file photo of Pranab Mukherjee. AFP

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was at the President’s Secretariat early this morning along with top Health Ministry officials to respond to clarifications sought by the President on the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
The Ordinance had been sent on Saturday to the President, who left for China today on a four-day state visit. After the ordinance on Uttrakhand was overturned by theSupreme Court earlier this month, the President’s Secretariat was this time more cautious and raised pointed queries as it was virtually taking on the apex court’s order which had directed the Government to hold medical exams under NEET
covering government and private colleges besides state boards.

The President was briefed by Union Health Minister J P Nadda yesterday mainly on three issues including different exams of state boards, syllabi and regional languages.

This was followed by another briefing by officials after which the file was taken back by the Health Ministry last night only to return this morning with additional information and legal advice.

The ordinance on NEET, cleared by the Union Cabinet on Friday last, is aimed at “partially” overturning Supreme Court order that had also taken into account the multiple medical entrance tests by states and private colleges as well as allegations of corruption.

The court had directed that a common entrance test-NEET-will be held across India for MBBS and dental courses.

But state governments had objected to its implementation from this very year, saying it will be too stressful for students as they had little time to prepare for the syllabus and also there were issue of language.

They said the students affiliated to state boards will find it tough to appear for the uniform test as early as July and such students will be at a loss compared to those who have followed the central board.

After the Supreme Court turned down the plea, the Centre had decided to take the ordinance route.

Different states earmark anything between 12-15 percent seats in various private medical colleges for state quota so that students from one state can get seat in another state.
More than 15 states were opposed to NEET and had raised issues like different syllabus and languages during the recent state health ministers’ meeting.

The next phase of the exam is scheduled for 24 July. Nearly 6.5 lakh students have already taken the medical entrance test in the first phase of NEET held on 1 May.

With the ordinance being promulgated, students of state government boards will not have to sit for NEET on 24 July.
They, however, will have to become part of the uniform entrance exam from the next academic session.
The exam will be applicable for those applying for Central government and private medical colleges.
The Supreme Court earlier ruled that the students would have to appear for NEET starting this academic session for admissions into medical or dental colleges in the country.

‘Oral history’: Four things you can learn about India through a tube of toothpaste

Baba Ramdev’s call for “deshbhakt” Indians to choose his Dant Kanti toothpaste raises an intriguing question.

How much do patriots know about dental health in India? Probably very little. Many people think dentists are boring and consider toothpaste banal.

Think again. From the ironies of history to the marketing tactics of today, dentistry and its discontents offer some compelling lessons. Oral hygiene also provides vital clues to economic and gender disparities. Here are four things you can learn about India through a tube of toothpaste.


India’s history of modern dentistry springs from a curious fact. It is intimately connected with ice cream.


India’s history of modern dentistry begins with a curious fact

Rewind to 1909, and follow the steps of Rafiuddin Ahmed. Seeking an education in the United States, this restless young man from Bengal talks his way onto an Italian ship bound for New York. After making contact with Irish activists at the NYC office of Friends of Freedom for India, he aims for a degree in dentistry at the State University of Iowa – mostly because the fees are cheaper and he can find plenty of part-time work. One summer, a friend invites him to work at an ice cream plant and soda fountain at a luxury resort at Spirit Lake, Iowa.

That creamy apprenticeship proves crucial. When Dr Ahmed finally graduates, heads home, and sets up a dental practice in Calcutta in 1920, he also launches an ice cream parlour. Dr Ahmed calls it “New York Soda Fountain,” possibly in homage to the iconic chain of Schrafft’s — where pretty Irish waitresses caught the eye of their compatriots at the Friends of Freedom for India. The idea was to funnel ice cream profits into subsidies for India’s first dental college, which takes off in Dr Ahmed’s private chambers.

Located in the teeming Dharmatala area, New York Soda Fountain quickly finds fans among middle class Bengalis. Bearers wear white uniforms. Vanilla and mango flavours are popular. Sometimes Dr Ahmed himself scoops ice cream at the counter, and supervises the vendors in Howrah and Sealdah stations.

“Boozers really liked that ice cream soda. It covered the bad odour of country liquor,” recalls novelist Supriyo Chowdhury.

Was it all a case of sophisticated backward integration? In other words, did Dr Ahmed know that the refined sugar in ice cream could cause cavities, and thus help his dental practice to flourish?

Nothing of the kind, responds his family. “That didn’t strike him at all. Now, we know that ice cream and cold drinks cause cavities. Had he known, he would have done things differently,” says Dr Zarina Aliya, a dental surgeon in Baruipur and granddaughter of Dr Ahmed.

“This was a time of entrepreneurship,” she adds. “He was a very self-made man. He wanted every citizen to get good dental treatment. Dentistry was chiefly for the rich and famous in those days.”

Dr Ahmed’s name adorns the biggest government college of dentistry in Kolkata, where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decreed free treatment for all. But the wholesome nature of New York Soda Fountain curdled in the 1960s, long after Dr Ahmed turned it over to new owners. (He passed away in 1965.) It became a rendezvous site for prostitutes and traders, as well as a louche hang-out for many artists, such as Ganesh Pyne and Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya.

“It was a great meeting point. New York Soda Fountain was the center of our time,” says Bhattacharya, who cooled his heels there from 1965 to 1979. By that time, the place had phased out ice cream and emphasised snacks like fish fry. Then it closed down. Today, the space is occupied by a mattress store. Its name, “Foam Junction,” still bears a trace of that bubbly ice cream soda.

Among multinationals, Hindustan Unilever Limited stands out for its continuing fondness for the toothpaste and ice cream combo. According to Euromonitor International, HUL’s Close-up and Signal figure among the top four toothpaste brands in India. At the same time, Unilever is flogging Kwality Wall’s ice cream and Cornetto, along with the more patrician Magnum ice cream.


One day in Orissa, villagers came upon a giant fake tooth displayed in an open field. Two teams were assembled. One was given shields and assigned to protect the tooth. The other team pelted the tooth with little white balls, seeking to overwhelm the defense. The skirmish ended with a friendly group photo, swiftly enlarged into a billboard. “This village is Calci-Locked!” said the sign. The digital smiles masked a silent message: No Trespassing on Colgate Turf.

In India, Colgate is trying hard to shield its whopping 54 percent market share. Last year, to counter a Dabur surge in Orissa, rural marketers from Mumbai-based Anugrah Madison implemented this surreal campaign, which recently won a Silver Medal from the Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI). Colgate “wanted to go very aggressive in terms of reaching out to consumers,” explains Prashant Mandke, head of the rural marketing firm. Extending to some 400 villages, the initiative also included a mobile phone twist. Winners received a 20-rupee top-up if they answered questions correctly about Colgate through IVR, an automated voice recording.

Aural recall packs more punch than the written word.

“SMS is not the answer. The answer is IVR, as they are able to listen to something,” says RMAI president Sanjay Kaul. Alternatively, call centers staffed with dentists proved unprofitable and unworkable due to the high volume of calls, says Girish Chaturvedi at netCORE, a communications and marketing firm.

But most analysts argue that low-cost phone tactics alone will not sway the masses — whatever product is on offer. “If you start with mobile, it would not work. Indian consumers are more prone to like face-to- face interaction. People like to touch the product,” says Abhishek A, assistant professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

That’s why marketing teams are still buzzing around India, actively engaging consumers in quizzes, magic shows, railway car surveys, and giveaways at religious gatherings. Follow-up comes via phone. “Activation is creating the need. Mobile is establishing the brand,” chants Chaturvedi.


James Wynbrandt makes an important point at the start of his entertaining book, The Excruciating History of Dentistry. “As civilisation arose, differences in diets of the wealthy and poor were evidenced in the state of their teeth. Typically, the richer the individual, the poorer their oral health, as decay made inroads in the human mouth,” Wynbrandt writes.

India was no exception. In poor rural areas, the traditionally low intake of refined sugars and the protective qualities of neem enhanced bright smiles. The custom of chewing a neem twig survives in many places today, despite the onslaught of mass-produced brushes and toothpaste. “It’s a very good agent for binding gums with teeth. This is the knowledge that has been passed down for generations,” notes IIMA assistant professor Abhishek. In devotional stories and songs, Radha invites Krishna to clean his teeth with a twig.

“It’s tasty. It’s cheaper,” says 30 year old Shiv Prasad, a Bihari who earns Rs 6,500 per month at the Alliance Jute Mill in Jagatdal, West Bengal. He buys seven twigs for three rupees from Upinder, a 75-year- old Bihari who chops neem twigs in front of the mill’s blue gate. A dense crowd of men jostle for their twigs. “Poor people don’t have the money to buy Colgate,” says Upinder.

According to RMAI, some 250 million Indians do not use toothpaste. “The deeper you go in the market, the higher the resistance to change,” notes Ankur Bisen, senior vice president at Technopak. Some families prefer ash made of burned rice husks, cow dung, or other ingredients, both for cleaning the teeth and applying a lingering gum massage. While the abrasive twigs and ash can harm tooth enamel or make gums bleed, the same holds for overly vigorous encounters with a toothbrush. “More harm is done every day, with people not aware of the particular way of brushing,” says Dr Barin Roy, a senior dentist in Kolkata who applied his talents to ministers and poets alike.

In the global context, India’s per capita consumption of toothpaste is “pathetically low,” as described by one industry veteran. According to Euromonitor International, India consumes just a quarter of the toothpaste used per capita in Brazil, and just half of that in China. Nielsen India reports that urban per capita toothpaste consumption stands at 270 grams, compared to 85 grams in rural areas.

But diets are changing. Sugary biscuits, colas, syrups, ice cream, and other dental enemies are vigorously marching through villages, having triumphed in Indian cities. Meanwhile, city travel and overseas migration have also spurred adoption of mass-produced toothbrush and toothpaste back in the village, says Anju Joseph, chief operating officer at Quantum Qualitative Research.

Still, the twig carries a certain element of style, especially for the male population — much like a rapper’s toothpick.

“Have you noticed that guys like to walk around the village and chew on twigs? You can’t do that with a mouth full of foam,” says Kolkata-based author Rimi Chatterjee.


The Indian Dental Association (IDA) has some surprising statistics up its sleeve. According to Dr Ashok Dhoble, secretary general of the IDA, 80-90 percent of recent dental graduates are women.

The number of dental colleges in India has tripled over the last decade, now topping 300. But out of India’s 25,000 dental students who pass out each year, only about 10,000 people choose to practice dentistry, says Dr Alias Thomas, former IDA president.

Many women graduates face considerable pressure to renounce a dental career and focus on their spouses and children. The steep costs of setting up a high-tech solo practice, combined with the low salaries offered in a group practice, also serve as twin disincentives. Surely, Dr Ahmed would mourn this turn of events. It’s a great loss in human resources.

Meanwhile, less than 20 percent of India’s 1 lakh 25,000 trained dentists are practicing in the countryside. That leaves considerable room for quacks.

Only 4 percent of the Indian population visited a trained dentist last year. But that figure wouldn’t bother Baba Ramdev, who does not seem fond of men in white coats. Ditto for purveyors of Dant Kanti. “All the dental problems have been solved with this. You need not go to the dentist,” advises Sadashiva Johari, manager of Patanjali Chikitsalaya in Bangalore’s HSR Layout.

Margot Cohen is a writer from New York. Her interest in India follows previous reporting stints in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s toothache turns into chest pain outside prison

As reported by Mumbai Mirror, Maharashtra’s Additional DGP (prisons), BK Upadhyay has ordered an inquiry into Maharashtra’s former deputy chief minister and NCP chief Chhagan Bhujbal’s sudden admission to Mumbai’s St. George’s Hospital. Curiously he had complained to prison authorities about a toothache, and was granted permission to visit Government Dental College and Hospital. Bhujbal is currently in jail in the money laundering case. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How did toothache become chest pain is the matter of inquiry. Inspector General (IG prisons) of Arthur Road jail, Bipin Kumar Singh will be conducting the inquiry. He will be seeking answers from jail authorities accompanying Bhujbal, doctors from St George Hospital and Government Dental College and Hospital, to understand what transpired on Monday after the leader left from the jail.While, St. George’s Hospital does not have a cardiology department, the doctors at both the hospital have also been giving contradictory details of the events. Dr Rohan Sequeira, head of medicine at St George’s Hospital, claims that he was brought in from the dental hospital, a little past noon on Monday, but Dr Mansingh Pawar, dean of dental hospital said that Bhujbal never visited them. St George’s Hospital, has earlier too said to have been hospitable to Gangster Arun Gawli and Maharashtra’s former minister Sureshdada Jain, when they were serving their jail term.