ndsharma's blog

How tricky the unconscious-subconscious business can be!

Posted on: August 1, 2009

Ashok Rathore of Indore suspected the fidelity of Surekha, his wife of over 21 years. Puja, 19, was the eldest of their three children, the other two being boys. He was said to have engaged a doctor to conduct a narco analysis test on his wife to learn from her about the person or persons with whom she was having an affair. The test, it is said, came negative. Still, Ashok was not satisfied and shot his wife dead in the morning of July 18.

In the narco analysis test, the person’s imagination is neutralised by making him semi-conscious. , the term narco analysis is derived from the Greek word narkç meaning “anaesthesia” or “torpor” and is used to describe a diagnostic and psychotherapeutic technique that uses psychotropic drugs, particularly Barbiturates, which act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. These produce effects from mild sedation to anaesthesia. Synthesized first in 1903, Barbiturates are among the oldest of modern drugs. Three of the most popular Barbiturates, which have been in use in narco analysis, are: Sodium Amytal, Pentothal Sodium and Seconbarbital.

What is significant is that a “neutralised imagination” is not always coherent and also not necessarily able to restructure the events in proper chronological order. This can be easily seen in persons with delirium, because of high fever or some other disease, as to how they jump from yesterday to some happening in 30 years ago and how jumbled their memory becomes.

Reporting the Indore event in The Telegraph (Calcutta), Rasheed Kidwai quotes Dr Saifullah Tipu, senior anaesthesiologist with the Bhopal Memorial Gas Hospital, as pointing out that “narco tests are not proper but exceptions can be made only to assist police investigation in national interest”.

Interestingly, the use of narco tests (by whatever methods) to test wife’s fidelity appeared to be in vogue long before the present-day narco tests gained popularity. A Hindi short story “Vishleshan” (Analysis), written by Chakradhar Sharma some time in the 50s, has its plot on such a test.

Dr Subedar’s colleague, according to the story, falls in love with Subedar’s wife. The wife divorces Dr Subedar and marries his colleague. The colleague, a doctor himself, starts suspecting the fidelity of his wife and spends now most of his time at work.

Once it so happens that the wife comes home late in the night and the colleague takes it as almost a confirmation of the wife’s “affair”. He administers to her an injection to make her semi-conscious and then starts interrogating her. In the semi-conscious state, the wife tells him that she went to see her lover at Neelam Hotel; the two had their dinner in the Hotel; then they went to see a film; after that she spent a couple of hours at her lover’s flat. She, however, stubbornly refuses to give the name of the lover.

Mad with jealousy, the colleague injects the wife with poison and kills her. The next day he discovers that the Neelam Hotel had been closed more than a year ago. Then he recollects how he and (then Dr Subedar’s) wife had met at Neelam Hotel some two years ago, had their dinner there, gone to see a film together; and after that the wife had spent a couple of hours in his flat.


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August 2009
« Jul   Sep »

Outright Perilous!

An egoist as the head of the government is bad enough. An egotist is a nuisance as his constant chant of I…, I…., I….. jars on the listeners’ years. But when he loses touch with the reality and starts believing his imaginary achievements to be his real achievements, that’s outright perilous.

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