Monthly Archives: October 2012

Early modern natural history: Contributions from the Americas and India

Rajesh Kochhar (2012) Journal of Biosciences, Vol. 37, No. 6 ( Dec.) pp. 937-947

DOI 10.1007/s12038-012-9272-9

The early success of its oceanic voyages brought contrary pulls to bear on Europe, with the practical needs of the hour standing in contradistinction to the age-old religious authority, sectarian antagonism and the recovered Greco-Roman intellectual tradition. How in course of time the former triumphed over the latter in the case of natural history is an interesting and instructive line of enquiry. This article examines in some detail how the Materia Medica of the Americas and India were incorporated into the European mainstream.

What the hell is Karka Rog? A question for IBN7

The Indian television channel IBN7 carries a message in Devanagari script: Dhoomrapaan se karka rog ho sakta hai: Smoking can cause ‘karka rog’ . Some clever chap, showing off his pseudo-learning , has rendered cancer as karka rog. The term cancer is Latin for Crab. The Sanskrit equivalent is karka, which in Hindi becomes kekda. The Latin term has been employed in two separate situations. It has been used to denote a Zodiacal sign.  Since the veins affected by cancerous tumors resembled legs of a crab, the disease itself was called cancer.

Just because a Zodiacal sign, an animal, and a disease have the same Latin etymology does not mean thatin Hindi also same etymology can be applied. The term cancer has a distinct connotation which Hindi-users understand. Saying that smoking causes karka rog, instead of saying that it causes cancer, isunwittingly   playing into the hands of cigarette manufacturers, because it obfuscates the message. Every one knows what cancer knows,. Nobody except IBN7 knows what karka rog is. Incidentally what give it a dignified name as karka rog/ why not kekda rog?

Could IBN7 simply and effectively inform its viewers that  dhoomrapaan causes cancer