Friday, March 4, 2011

The Status of Doctors in India/South Asia

Hello, folks!

Can someone please help me find some sources on the role/position of medical doctors in India and the rest of the subcontinent? I need it desperately for my thesis on Zakir Naik, who's a medical doctor. (A part of my argument is that he is revered as much as he is because of his position as a medical doctor, and Indians/Pakistanis view doctors as prophets, if not gods. I now need to explain why this is so.) If you can offer some of your own reasoning, that'd be appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance.


  1. I have no textual sources for you, only anecdotal. I do agree that medical doctors are highly venerated in S. Asia (and also in my own US society). One thing I noticed is that if someone is a doctor, they are address as Dr. Fulan. Like, I know someone who is always addressed as Dr. Zainab, never just Zainab. And I mean socially, not by patients. You might hear someone addressed socially by friends as daaktar saab. (also kaptaan saab, colonel saab, etc).

    I think there is a type of doctor who hasn't studied at a prominent school who is very middle class. So not all drs are socially privileged.

    What a really interesting subject for a thesis. My husband and I call Dr. Naik Dr. Kat a Kat because he has a very thick and distinct accent and style of diction that sounds like the food kat a kat being made.

  2. Being a doctor does make a huge a difference!!!And a minor correction--doctors are considerend gods, not JUST prophets in our part of the world,lolz. And why is that? Well, the physcian-patient model followed in South Asia is still a paternalistic one in general (so far my experience is concerned)!!!The doctor decides what particular procedure has to be followed and the patient is rarely involved in the decision-making process (It's still a big debate: if the patient is educated, they would DARE to ask questions about the prescriptions or would muster up the courage to discuss the medical problem in detail.However, the illiterate patients (who make up the majority) hardly ask any questions from their "gods".Therefore, things like "informed consent" (which is a big issue in western practice of medicine) is never a matter of concern for the doctors a matter of fact, even getting access to the doctors is considered not less than a miracle by the poor patients...One can say that the principle of beneficience/nonmaleficience are promoted by compromising the patient's autonomy.....It's not that the doctors there are evil (well some are actually!!) but she/he enjoys an authorative position--doctors decide and do whatever he/she consider is in the best interest of the patient.The patient (in most of the cases) follows whatever the doctor has suggested to him/her.Even if the patient is harmed, the patient/family/relatives are never gonna sue her/him lol..

    P.S.This was a quickie..I am in class now but will look for some stuff later..

  3. Physicians are regarded highly in every country, it is not limited to the Indian subcontinent. It is a title which has gained credibility over centuries. The fact that he continues to put "Dr." in front of his name insults the profession itself considering he does not practice it. He is using the nightingale syndrome to brain wash people with his opinions while he abuses the profession of medicine. I would recommend going on PubMed and finding journal articles there in regards to how physicians can influence patients and the general public. Or I can wear a white lab coat and convince you smoking tobacco is going to reverse aging. This theory was tested out when I presented an article on chemotherapy pumps. Once in business attire and then repeated it to a different audience while wearing a white lab coat. I got a higher mark and more medical questions when it was presented with a white lab coat.

  4. I thought he was held in high regard because he was Ahmed Deedat's student and took over his teaching when Deedat died.

  5. Thanks for all the insightful information, everyone!

    ~ LuckyFatima, what an important observation! I, too, can't remember the last time a (medical) doctor was ever referred to without her/his title. But then again, do we have titles for other professionals, like lawyers or professors?

    ~ Gulalai! Manana, guley! Thanks for the "minor" correction - how true! I'm going to ask my mom about this, too, and see what reasons she gives me for why doctors are regarded this highly-- or at least why she thinks I should become a doctor.

    ~ "Sta Malgaray," Khwdey mo mal shai! What an interesting experiment that must have been! Just the other day, a friend of mine and I were discussing the white lab coat and why doctors wear it even when they're not at work or in the hospital/clinic. She suggested it was to make a statement: "I am a doctor; respect me -- and give me discounts, etc., too, will you?" (The last part was prolly intended as a joke.)

    ~ Samina: I thought that, too, and that's certainly one of the reasons. Only, Deedat died very recently (2005?), and Naik has been involved in proselytizing since the early 90s (92, to be exact). But their style is soooo the same! And, ahh, Deedat once referred to Naik in front of a large group of people as "Deedat Plus"!

    So, it's the whole role that doctors play in the society -- any society. If they can save our lives, albeit with the will of God, if we can turn to them for something as important as our health (really, THE most important thing), then it only makes sense that everything that they say/preach be correct. And because they want the best of us (since they're doctors and we trust them to give us the correct medication, treatment, etc.), of course they are not misleading us spiritually. Why would they? They have great intentions for us.

  6. I wear my white coat to start conversations with strange attractive women. I am not a doctor though. It works just as well as some guy brain washing people using religion as his platform and doctor as his title. PS: I tell the women immediately I'm NOT a doctor.

  7. LOL! That's hilarious! :D
    Good that you don't fool them, though ... some others would.

  8. Th role and position of doctors esp in south Asia context is much obvious.You said well that they are consider Prophets(Maseeha) after God.This is the dream and desire of most of the parents to educate there children as a doctor.Two main focus of field in making career one is doctor other is engineer,remaining fields are usually kept if not nt selected in either of mentioned professions..Even here the illiterate parents see their children to b doctor in future,and this future title is usually installed in early childhood among children,when u ask,what you will be in future,most of children suddenly replies A doctor..It means that doctors title is much favourate social role in urban and even rural society,among literate,illiterates....Here in South Asia,doctors are like earning machines,They perform double jobs one as a governmnet employee other as a private clinic runner where they earn huge huge amount from the poor and rich both....Due to their private clinic(which is unfair according to govrnmnty per rules) they often dont give attention to government hospitals...As per my and many of my freinds personal experience and observation,doctors of pakistans have ''GOD COMPLEX' i.e. they consider themselve to be the life giver people,and due to this inner complex,they become proudy unnecessarily,They usualy make distance from teh patients.For me ,doctors has weak moral and psychological support towards patience..der ''kabar'' we paki,but exceptions are everywhere... ...This is great u doing research on dr naik,,goro che zakir bara ke sa doing extremely wonderfull job for yourslef and society..


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