Indian Journal of Surgery, Vol. 65, No. 5, Sept-Oct, 2003, pp. 449-452
Letter to Editor
Whither Indian Journal of Surgery?
Anandlok Hospital, Health Point, Prannath Pandit Street, Kolkata 700025. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Code Number: is03098
I would like to congratulate the editorial team of Indian Journal of Surgery (IJS) for bringing about considerable improvements in the standards of the Journal. After a slow start and a period of steady consolidation over the past two years, from early 2003 the IJS has witnessed spectacular improvement not only so far as its overall visual appeal is concerned but also from the perspective of the scientific material published. The credit for this must go to Dr Udwadia, and the editorial team that he leads.
Dr Udwadia had promised the readership in his very first editorial1 that he was aiming to bring out the IJS on time, every time, improve the scientific and publishing quality and to get the IJS indexed. It is commendable that the first two goals have been achieved. But the third and, for putting the Indian surgery on the international map, perhaps the most important, goal of getting the IJS indexed still remains to be fulfilled.
That being the case, I was rather surprised not to find the names of Dr Udwadia, nor of any of the member of the current editorial board from Mumbai included in their ballot papers for the election to the editorial board for the term starting January 2004. Does this mean that the Mumbai members are not interested any more in this work? Or has Dr. Udwadia been elected unopposed, without any further help from his junior colleagues from Mumbai? I shall be grateful to you, sir, if as Chairman of the Editorial Board you make your plans for the future clear to the entire membership, particularly so if you have chosen not to contest the election for a second term.
Anandlok Hospital, Health Point, Prannath Pandit Street, Kolkata 700025. E-mail:email@example.com
I am utterly surprised and amazed to find that neither Dr Tehemton Udwadia nor a single member of the current editorial team from Mumbai has cared to put forward his nomination for the election of the editorial board for the second term starting 2004. Although the current team has a done a reasonable job of managing the journal, they had promised to deliver a lot more over coming years. Then why are they now abandoning the IJS midstream?
I can well understand that running a journal is a strenuous and trying ordeal requiring the core team to commit a significant amount of time and effort. It may difficult for a team to go on forever. At the same time, the importance of maintaining continuity in the composition of the editorial team, and in particular at the helm of the affairs cannot be overemphasized. That being the case, it is rather unfortunate that the Mumbai members have seen it fit to desert the IJS after managing the journal for a single term of three years.
Prashanth RaoMamta Hospital, P 43 Phase II, MIDC,
The Editor has received a spate of letters which in essence ask several questions. The first few letters were ignored, but more poured in, each one repeating the same questions, many of them uncomplimentary to the editor. This has forced us to publish a few of these letters and to respond in general to the members' questions and demands for information. I place below the facts to explain why the name of no member of the Mumbai team of the IJS appears on the Ballot Paper for the IJS Editorial Board 2004-2006.
1. By a strange if not sinister coincidence NONE of the members of Editorial Board active in Mumbai (Tehemton E. Udwadia, H. S. Bhanushali, H. G. Doctor, Deepraj Bhandarkar, Satish Dharap) had received any nomination papers from the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) Office.
2. The Indian Journal of Surgery (IJS) Office had received no intimation of the election of the IJS Editorial Board from the ASI.
"Received your letter dated 14th July 2003. Regarding elections to the IJS Editorial Board the nomination have been requested and the election process is on. I wish to thank you for your kind letter."
3. We referred to the handbook published by the ASI to see if any Election dates for IJS election were given. Dates were given for Election of President, ASI, Governing Body ASI, for various orations etc. No such information was given by ASI Office regarding I.J.S elections. We then referred to the ASI website. Information was given about election dates for various positions, orations etc., no information at all was given for the IJS election
4. Hence the same day 14th July 2003 I wrote to the Hon. Secretary by Registered A.D.:
"Dear Dr. Gunasagaran,
This is to draw your attention to the fact that the term of this Editorial Board of the Indian Journal of Surgery terminates on December 31, 2003 and a new elected board will take over from January 1, 2004. This is to request you and the ASI Office to set into motion the process of conducting the Editorial Board election for the years 2004 to 2006 by sending out nomination forms etc. to the membership of the Association of Surgeons of India at the earliest. Kindly acknowledge this communication".
1. Any Secretary with reasonable intelligence and integrity would have surmised that:
a) We were ignorant the Election process had started.
2. The Registered A.D. letter was received in the ASI Office on the 17th July 2003. In response to a request for "urgent attention" by the Chairman of the IJS received on the 17th July 2003, the Honorary Secretary condescended to send this reply on the 26th July 2003:
3. "Received your letter dated 14th July 2003. Regarding elections to the IJS Editorial Board the nomination have been requested and the election process is on. I wish to thank you for your kind letter."
4. Written after a lapse of over one week this letter was POSTED at Chennai on 31st July 2003 (and so postmarked) ensuring it would reach Mumbai after the last date for Nomination.
5. We received the Honorary Secretary's letter during our Monday meeting on the 5th August 2003.
6. The same day I wrote to the Election Officer, Dr. R. Jothiramalingam at Madurai in Tamil Nadu:
7. Copies of the above letter to the Election Officer and the other correspondence were also sent to the members of the Election Tribunal, the body appointed to address grievances related to the election process of the ASI, as also to all the Governing Council members. We are uncertain whether or not the Election Office sought the opinion of the members of the Election Tribunal or the Governing Council.
8. I received a terse letter from the Election Officer that as my Nomination Form was received after the last date it was invalid. No reference was made to the reasons the form was received late. In due course, other members from Mumbai whose nomination forms had been forwarded to the ASI office also received similar letters.
9. I wrote to the Election Officer again: "I yet again reiterate and yet again inform you that you received my Nomination Form as also the Nomination forms of other Editorial Board members from Mumbai late solely due to inefficiency, lackadaisical impromptitude and possible perversity of the Office of the Hon. Secretary of the ASI whose duty it is to forward nomination forms if not previously received." This letter did not receive the courtesy of an acknowledgement, leave alone reply.
Dear Member, all the above are facts in black and white. The Mumbai team did not chicken out of our responsibility to continue with the IJS, and indeed to make every effort to ensure that it gets indexed. We were hijacked. However, please be assured we will always continue to work for the IJS, albeit as ordinary members of the ASI.
Many senior members including some Past Presidents have urged we go legal. I have loved the ASI for 43 years and received in return more than I would ever deserve from the ASI. Our Mumbai Team has tried to nurture the IJS, of which we are proud, over the last three years. Nothing could be more abhorrent to me than to drag two bodies I love, the ASI and the IJS, through the court of law. My team and I would much rather efface ourselves quietly. It may be that the back-room politicians who wield power and control the running of the ASI did not desire the Mumbai team to continue. So be it.
It is normal practice that the Ballot Paper carries the names for every Office, even if elected unopposed. Surprisingly and inexplicably the name of the new Chairman / Editor of the IJS is not printed on the Ballot Paper, but we are given to understand that Dr. S. K. Shukla of Indore, being the only person to have filed his nomination for the post on time, is elected unopposed. I wish Dr. Shukla and the new Editorial Board all the best. I am sure the IJS will achieve great heights under the new leadership and we will give the I.J.S our continued support. The IJS has been sent for indexing with Index Medicus, and one of the main requirements for consideration for indexing is the timely publication of the Journal. Delayed receipt of the contribution to the IJS from the ASI Head office has been one of the major roadblocks faced by the current editorial team in bringing out the issues in time. We hope that the new Editorial Board will be able to maintain the regularity of publication of the IJS and ensure that the journal is indexed.
At the moment the entire Editorial team in Mumbai is busy tabulating details of all received articles, accepted articles, articles sent for peer review etc. to ensure the new team has a smooth and efficient take over on 31st December 2003. All the data and all these articles will be ready at the Journal Office to be handed over on that day, presuming the ASI Office has settled all its financial obligations to the current office. I firmly believe that whatever happens, does so for the best, for "God fulfills Himself in many ways lest one good custom should corrupt the world". I would like to say that my three years as Chairman / Editor have been a labour of love. That would be dishonest, for while I have loved the IJS I have not laboured at all. All the labour has been done by my colleagues in Mumbai Dr. H. S. Bhanushali whose commitment made him travel 60 km in choking traffic every Monday, as also Dr. Deepraj Bhandarkar who shouldered by far the lion's share of the burden, ably supported by Dr. Satish Dharap and Dr. H.G. Doctor. They are true members of the ASI. I for my part look forward to be free for two hours every Monday to get to the golf practice tee.
Tehemton E. Udwadia
Chairman / Editor
© 2003 Indian Journal of Surgery. Also available online at http://www.indianjsurg.com