Thank you for banning smoking

So says Mythili Bhusnurmath, praising Anbumani Ramadoss, the man who is (unfortunately) “out in the cold.” Unfortunately, she’s not being sarcastic-

Anbumani Ramadoss, former health minister is out in the cold. Unsung! Unlamented! But there are two things for which the maverick minister will long be remembered: the zeal with which he fought the All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Dr P Venugopal and the equal zeal with which he campaigned against tobacco consumption. If the first showed him at his petty best, the second showed a surprisingly public-spirited side that few expect to see in our political class.

While his almost personal vendetta with Venugopal has been forgotten by all save, perhaps, Venugopal and Ramadoss, his other legacy, the battle against tobacco consumption, lives on. “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones”, lamented Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. But for once the bard was wrong! Sometimes the good does live on, as in the case of Ramadoss.


According to the Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control, smoking kills nine lakh Indians every year. To the extent these are in large part avoidable deaths, it is incumbent on government to use whatever means at its disposal, short of an outright ban, to curtail the consumption of tobacco.

Ramadoss as an epitome of the good. I am flabbergasted. He, no doubt, will be flattered.

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