Ajai R. Singh MD

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Abstracts of Some Published Papers

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Ajai R. Singh M.D.

Shakuntala A. Singh Ph.D.

(For abstracts of Mens Sana Monographs see http://mensanamonographs.tripod.com)
1. Singh A.R., Singh, S.A.(1988),The Comparative and the Creative, Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Vol XV:2, p189-208.
Creative and comparative approaches appear at loggerheads.
The former considers the latter inferior. Unjustified psychological and intellectual reasons exist for this. Superiority-inferiority controversy only results in mud-slinging and banter, and reeks of chauvinism. Both creative and comparative works can be mediocre as good. They are equally relevant within their methodological framework and conceptual goals. Each has worth and limitations; none is wholly proper or improper. Either approach is justified only to maximise personal articulation with the qualification that other equally worthwhile approaches exist. The comparative can be creative; and the creative has nothing to lose by being comparative.
2. Singh A.R., Singh, S.A.(1988), Appendix to The Comparative and the Creative, Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Vol XV:3, p369-373.
In every sphere, the prerogative of primary creativity rests with a few ancients who propound the germ of a thought we elaborate upon, or depart from. We today can at best assume secondary creative status, irrespective of our abilities to originality. In this, we are neither superior nor inferior to preceding or successive thinkers, neither under-privileged nor inconvenienced. We have to accept this status and build upon it. Further not every idea is creative just because it is new. The essence of creativity is to create, or to lead to some such constructive goal. Rather than new, our search must be for new constructive ideas. For, if obsession with the old can stifle, that with the new can be equally anarchical.
2. Singh A.R., Singh, S.A.(1989), Psychiatric Ethics: Role of Philosophical Enquiry, Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Vol XVI:1, p89-118.
Though obscure for most psychiatrists, philosophical enquiry can contribute to a holistic understanding of psychiatric ethics. Concepts like Code, Regulation, Purposiveness, Volition, Activity, when analysed, clarify that a psychiatric ethical code regulates will and guides purposiveness of psychiatrists' actions. Non-professionals in such watch-dog set-ups are inevitable, even necessary. For Involuntary Hospitalization, Informed Consent etc  legal difficulties cannot become a cover for necessary professional decision-making. This does not sanction steam-roller aggressivity. It only asserts conviction born from thorough grounding in moral values. One must also answer whether professional or societal commitment is supreme when they conflict. Making pious resolutions of ethical codes relevant without compromising moral soundness requires commitment from both philosophers and psychiatrists. This ensures morally sound practicality for psychiatrists and a living philosophy for philosophers. Study of Psychiatric ethics provides this provided the philosophers' absolutism is tempered with the psychiatrists' utilitarianism.
4. Singh A.R., Singh, S.A.(1988), Readings in Dissent-1, New Quest, Vol 71, Sept-Oct 1988, p289-296.
5.Singh A.R., Singh, S.A.(1988), Readings in Dissent-II, New Quest, Vol 72, Nov-Dec 1988, p.
Part I is divided into ' A survey of the scenario, ' 'Why do some people dissent ?' and 'Some first aid tips to handle dissent'. It analyses concepts like stability, firmness, no-nonsense attitude, accountability, destabilisation, survival, change etc. Stability is synonymous neither with survival nor with status quo. Survival is a measure of desperation while status quo only foils change. Stability is the manifestation of a national character where there is no aversion to change because there is a solid foundation of unswerving values. Similarly the leader who believes in no-nonsense has to have firmness and probity in equal measure. Further analysis shows how dissent can atonce be inevitable and necessary. It can be used as a stepping stone to greater success, as a touch-stone to confirm one's, and one's policies', authencity and relevance. Dissent, moreover, is for some only a pathway to acceptability- it may be the only pathway they know, or consider suitable for themselves. These are the mavericks, the romanticists and the idealists. However adoption of this method creates any number of problems for them as for others.
Part II tackles one such problem of the 'Honest Dissenter,' who, oblivious of the hornet's nest he stirs by his dissent, continues to nurse hopes of acceptability. In this he reflects only his naivete and a damning ignorance of the exigencies of realpolitik. Dissenters are further analysed into five types: i) Weak dissenters; ii)Moral dissenters; iii)Powerful dissenters; iv)Meteoric dissenters; and v)Powerless dissenters. Differentiating characteristics of each are highlighted. The role of the intellegensia is then studied. It is found that action which is the result of a moral conviction is not attained only by political observation, by logic and reason, exegencies and pragmatism. These can be guides and caution-sounders, but not propelling forces. That needs the germ of a Socrates or a Jesus- the ability to live by, and die for, one's cause and one's principles. The latter part of the essay tackles the difficulty of such depth analysis as leads to scepticism, what is the worth of such scepticism, what motivates such scepticism and humility etc. The final part tackles the values-power dichotomy and suggests that whilst power must guide action, values must guide power. It presents the Samkhya metaphysical concept of prakrti-purusa in this connection and also the Kantian resolution of the Rationalist-Empiricist controversy. When values serve as motive force for power, the action that results is not only morally strong but physically powerful. This is the lesson of a mass movement like Gandhi's satyagraha, the conviction aroused in an Arjuna by a Krsna, or the unswaying righteousness of a Rama. The capacity needed is one that transcends most commonplace understandings of both values and power. 
6. Singh A.R., Singh, S.A.(1988), Thank you, St. Tamas, for favours granted, New Quest, Vol 75, May-June1989, p165-167.
The Tamas serial is the backdrop for an analysis of communal riots, sensibilities and perceptions. If the RSS-BJP-VHP is a convenient whipping boy, the leftist's fight against his rightist inner leanings, the Congressman's floundering for an identity, and the Muslim League- Jamaat-e-Islami's smirky enjoyment of all these people's predicament, serves to further heighten the anger and disillusionment of a progressive secularist who would like to place people before faiths. But this anger is not to be spent over serials and be done with. It must be preserved, for future use, whenever muddled perspectives and biased theorising garb themselves as secular sensibilities. Hence thanks to St. Tamas, for favours granted.
7. Singh A.R., Singh, S.A.(1985), Some Issues in Psychotherapy , The Indian Practitioner, Vol XXXVIII:12, p1193-1202.
The authors present some basic issues of relevance in psychotherapy. They content that psychotherapy fills an important gap which lay procedures based on common-sense on the one hand, and somatic therapies on the other, cannot achieve on their own. The patient-therapist relationship is the crux on which the various types of psychotherapies rest- Supportive, Reeducative or Reconstructive. A simple analogy of a building in need of repairs is presented to highlight the main features of these therapies. The various definitions of psychotherapy and its goals indicate that the psychotherapeutic approach occasionally has to go beyond the strict medical model of patient-sickness-diagnosis-treatment. The basic criterion for a good psychotherapist is the extent to which he can empathise with others as individuals not only in need of treatment but as unique in themselves. The usefulness or otherwise of medical training in this development is highlighted. Finally, a plea is made to further the Indian and other oriental systems ot thought in attempts to achieve better alternatives to the conventional models of psychotherapy.
8.Singh A.R., Bagadia V.N., Pradhan P.V. and Acharya V.N. (1988), Death, Dying and Near Death Experience: Preliminary report on surveying the need and developing the method, Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 30(3),p299-306.
Psychology of deaths due to acute medical emergencies is under-researched. Most studies till now have concentrated on extended death situations like malignancy. This open pilot study of twenty five patients examines the psychological state of patients during a life threatening acute medical illness( Group A, ten patients) and of those who survive such an experience (Group B, fifteen patients). The study finds psychological exploration both possible and necessary if carried out in a discreet manner. Salient features of the interview technique are discussed. The study finds out whether patients are aware of the possibility of terminality. The psychological disturbances manifest and nature of care expected are also discussed. Near Death Experiences of those who acknowledge their occurence are also reported. Some nuances of thanatological research are also high-lighted: What are the abilities needed in an interviewer? Can such exploration increase psychological distress in a patient already prone to it because of serious medical illness? What impact such research can have on the interviewer himself? The paper answers some of these common questions while developing the method of thanatological research in acute medical situations. 





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