his incident relates to the year 1983. I was then posted as District Collector of Basti in UP. Basti was a big district at that time and also a very backward one. Floods used to be the annual feature of the area and villagers were quite accustomed to the allied problems. However, the district administration used to take all the necessary steps to minimise the difficulties of the people. As collector of the district, I also tried my best to do so. During the floods of 1983, I was on a tour of a remote area of the district. I had left the headquarter early in the morning and it was late noon when I was returning. On the way back, I was feeling very tired and feverish. Therefore, I asked the driver to stop at some dispensary on the way so that I could take some medicines. Soon he stopped at a government Primary Health Centre (PHC). The doctor present there gave me some medicines. The medicines were loose tablets, which he gave me from a bottle. There was only one tablet which he prescribed to be taken three times a day and hoped that I would be all right within three days. Accordingly, he gave me the necessary quantity. I took the first dose there itself. On enquiry, the doctor also told me that my problem was quite common in that season and the medicines given to me were quite effective.
When I reached the district headquarter, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the district also came to know of my indisposition. Soon he came to see me and brought with him a packet of medicines which were not only many in number but also costly. When I enquired from him whether these medicines were also available to general patients, he replied in the negative and added that they were specially procured for me from the market. He also emphasised that I must take those medicines, if I wanted to be normal soon. My attention, then, went to the words of the doctor at PHC who had told me that the medicines given by him were quite effective in common people. With that in mind, I politely asked the CMO to let me try the common man’s medicines. One additional reason for doing so was the simplicity of the dosage, which was very complex in case of the medicines brought by the CMO. Though not convinced, he had no option and left along with the medicines.
I took the simple medicines for three days and became quite normal as per the hopes of the doctor at PHC. At this, I felt very happy and shared this experience with many. I also felt jealous of the common man who gets cured with simple medicines while an important person has to take complicated and expensive treatment for the same disease.