Socialite-columnist Shobhaa De is in the eye of a social media storm after posting a tweet ridiculing an obese policeman. She subsequently acknowledged that she didn’t know the cop’s weight was the result of a health condition. The policeman has suggested that she could help by paying for treatment. There several ways she can help the officer and many like him who gain enormous weight because of poor health.
Inspector Daulatram Jogawat of Madhya Pradesh police was “very fit” till 1993 when he underwent surgery for gall bladder and developed an insulin imbalance that left him weighing in at about 180 kg.
Earlier this week, De tweeted Jogawat’s photo with the caption, ‘heavy police bandobast in Mumbai today’, referring to security arrangements for the city’s civic elections. The Mumbai Police tweeted back that the policeman was not one of theirs, and social was quick to pick up on the jibe to deride De.
Jogawat’s doctor, Vipul Garg, confirmed his ailment, saying the policeman’s insulin level rose after surgery and as a result of that he started gaining weight.
“I was a very good volleyball and football player and represented the police in district-level matches regularly,” Jogawat told HT.
While De’s tweet has generated a lot of heated discussion on social media, there are a few things the Mumbai-based author can do to change the lives of those who suffer from overweight because of medical conditions.
Insulin imbalance is a condition where human cells don’t use insulin effectively, causing excess glucose build up in the bloodstream. In many people this leads to an abnormal rise in their weight.
In India, about 70 million people are diabetic.
“In about 99% of the diabetics in India there is insulin resistance (a condition Jogawat suffers from). Over time, if not treated, insulin resistance can lead to type-2 diabetes,” says Dr Ashraf Ganie, professor, department of endocrinology, AIIMS.
Which offers De the scope to raise awareness about this non-communicable disease, often dubbed the ‘silent killer’.
De is a popular newspaper and online columnist read by millions. She is also a public speaker. With more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter, she has an effective tool on social media to mobilise public opinion and spread the word about the disease.
De, who authored popular books such as Starry Nights and Socialite Evenings chronicling fabled Bollywood love stories and the lives of rich, bored wives of Mumbai high society, has access to people with the means.
She could use her position as an opinion-shaper and social influencer to organise campaigns, fund-raisers and donor conferences. The money raised could be donated to groups working in this field, or she could start a organisation of her own.
Either way it would be a service to people suffering from diabetes-induced obesity.
Jogawat has already received a lot of moral support on social media.
De can also help Jogawat, whose doctor says the policeman’s ailment can be contained.
“First we will have to treat his hormonal disbalance and then operate him to reduce his obesity -- either by sucking out his fat or through bariatric surgery,” Garg said.
“His diabetes will also come under control once he loses weight.”
All this will cost Jogawat Rs 2,50,000 for surgery plus Rs 5000- 10,000 for the tests. He will also have to travel out of the district for the treatment.