SUBHADEEP SANTRA : All movie going audiences of India in the 80’s had not a scintilla of doubt that the disease of Tuberculosis served as a condiment to an engaging cinematic potboiler.

A sole breadwinner toiling had to make ends meet gradually gets affected by tuberculosis-A notion that besmirched the disease has roots in a grape vine.(unknown)

Neither a scientist nor a doctor would associate TB with hard work. However,movie makers may have adopted the theory propounded by physician Thomas Holmes in 1950’s.He propounded that emotional stress diminished the chances of convalescence.His research was based on a sample group containing people with disrupted conjugal life and/or fighting to extricate himself from financial instability.Therefore,cumbersome work may cause stress but pinpointing a direct correlation between Drudgery and TB may not be logical derivative.

Movie makes also took recourse to a notion that malnutrition caused TB. Modern scientists have opined that undernutrition weakens the immune system thus increasing the chances of acquiring active TB from latent TB. Malnutrition is not a cause but a catalyst.

It is a fact that  Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria that spread from one person to another through microscopic droplets released by TB patient.Though it is not easy to get affected through this procedure, the increase in TB cases post 1980’s provokes more deeper analysis.


Most TB patients in the world today have acquired the disease by inhaling bacteria from air released by another TB patient,making the origin of the disease a labyrinth.The TB causing bacteria were also found in the Egyptian mummies dating back to 3500 Bc.The Egyption hieroglyphs, being a pictorial script throws no light on the cause of the disease.

Earliest evidence of TB was found in bones excavated in Israel dating back to 6000 BC approximately. It was a time when no script was invented.Thus,cause of TB is a mystery. Malnutrition, stress  and over work are catalyst to the disease but not the cause of it.

Extricating knowledge out of cinematic liberty may be a risky business.


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