Archive for March, 2011

India: Euthanasia Allowed in Extreme Cases

Posted on March 27, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Health, India, International.

MUMBAI, India – Nearly four decades ago a janitor at a Mumbai hospital raped a young nurse, strangling her with a dog chain. The nurse, Aruna Shanbaug, plunged into a vegetative state from which she never recovered.

Thirty-seven years later, the courts say she could be allowed to die — should those who care for her deem it the best decision. Right-to-die activists are heralding the landmark ruling as as step forward, though in a somewhat surprising turn of events, the nurses who care for Shanbaug have not chosen to exercise this new right.

Regardless, the court’s decision to allow passive euthanasia has once again provoked debate over whether terminally ill patients should be allowed to die willfully.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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Homai Vyarawalla, India’s First Female Photojournalist, Showcased in Mumbai

Posted on March 14, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media, women.

An exhibition featuring the work of India’s first female photojournalist is showing at the National Gallery of Modern Art through April 11. The collection of about 150 photographs by Homai Vyarawalla includes images of the last days of the British Empire, the Indian Independence movement and the birth and subsequent struggles of a new nation.

Ms. Vyarawalla, who is now 97, spent most of her career working for the British Information Services, which later became the British High Commission. Many of her photographs depict important political leaders and events in India’s modern history. These include the first flag-hoisting ceremony at Red Fort and the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi.

The exhibition (Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort; 91-22-2288-1971) also includes photographs of Indians enjoying leisure time at cultural events, social gatherings, school functions and private institutions, said Sabeena Gadihoke, a curator and the author of a biographical book on the photographer, “Camera Chronicles of Homai Vyarawalla.”

Continue reading at NYTimes.com.

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Surrogacy Turned Nightmare in Mumbai

Posted on March 10, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Health, India, International, women.

MUMBAI, India — “Chai Baby,” “Baby Masala” and “Made in India.” These are a few of the many blogs written by infertile Westerners trying to start a family through surrogacy in India. For the most part, the blogs tell tales of frustration, nervous anticipation and joy.

Commercial surrogacy has boomed in recent years as a result of India’s low cost of labor, lack of regulations and relatively inexpensive yet high quality medical care.

Surrogacy, which can cost upwards of $70,000 in the United States, is only a quarter of that in India. The Indian women who carry the babies earn about $5,000 to $7,000, upwards of 10 years’ salary for rural Indians.

“India is fast becoming a hub for surrogacy,” said Amit Karkhanis, a lawyer in Mumbai whose office, KayLegal, gets one new query a day from someone who wants to come to India to have a baby via surrogacy. “Five years ago, we were not even doing this.”

But not every surrogacy story has a happy ending, and given the fact that each country has its own laws on the matter, some Westerners who have engaged in the practice in India are finding themselves in legal limbo. As a result, the Indian government may soon regulate the surrogacy industry.

Consider the case of Kari Ann Volden, from Norway.

Continue reading from GlobalPost.

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