Kajal Chaterjee

On the occasion of Doctor's Day on 1st July, the birth as well as death anniversary of the legendary Doctor cum humanitarian Bidhan Chandra Roy, I desire to pay humble tribute to Doctors -- from fiction/films to real life(famous or not so famous) -- who have excelled themselves in performance of medical ethics to social responsibility.


Dr. Agnishwar Mukherjee. This character was brought to life by the legendary Bengali author Bonophool and portrayed on screen by another legend Uttam Kumar in the film 'Agnishwar' directed by Aurobindo Mukherjee. In the film, Dr. Mukherjee was seen to visit the quarter of a British officer in his own accord on hearing the critical condition of the former's newborn baby and battled the whole night and saved her from inevitable danger. The twist in the tale remains that Dr.Mukherjee and the British Officer were absolutely not in friendly terms ! Yet such personal feud didn't prevent Dr.Agnishwar Mukherjee from deviating from his conscience and medical ethics. Also, he used to visit the homes of poor patients for free.


Dr.Sengupta -- the protagonist of Sandip Ray's film "Uttoron". The urban high profile doctor, with his patient base being upper class elite, discovers the pathetic state of affairs in rural India while passing through a village and stumbling upon an ailing person. After providing minimal possible treatment due to lack of medical infrastructure in remote village, Dr.Sengupta had left for his destination; only to again make a comeback to the village to check upon the condition of the ailing person. This is called responding to the call of conscience.


Dr. Ashok Gupta in "Ganashatru" --- Satyajit Ray's third-last film. The Doctor finds through his factual analysis that the water supplied in the temple complex including the Charanamrita(Holy water) is polluted. When the concerned authorities failed to convince the Doctor that "Tulsi leaves destroy all germs" with the latter continuing to spread the message that the water is  indeed polluted, he was psychologically tortured to the extreme including  robbing all forums to register his protest or warning. Though voice being choked, yet valiant upright Doctor Gupta didn't find himself defeated and continue his fight as a socially responsible citizen.


The real-life Dr.Santanu Banerjee -- MD. As reported few years ago in a prominent daily; on the first Sunday of every month, Dr.Banerjee drives to his ancestral village Manihara(Bankura district) almost 300  km away from Kolkata so as to treat hundreds of poor patients throughout the day. Tests performed,  medicines distributed. All within the "astronomical" fees of Rs.10/-(Rupees Ten)! On each visit to the health centre,  Santanu spends Rs.30000/- to 40000/- from his own pocket!


 Providing medical service to the poor village folks --- major responsibility of the State. Yet when the concerned authorities are more interested in Mars mission-Bullet Train- Mass Yoga-Saraswati river discovery project-Ramayana Museum-Gigantic statues-glittering VISTAS-Puja Carnival--IPL or KKR-Film festivals and all such play to the gallery so as to cater to the lowest common denominator; Dr.Santanu Banererjee's compassionate heart cries for the medically-deprived poor villagers compelling him to devote precious time and money for the humanitarian service instead of utilising the time "properly" to make more and more money!


In this society of shrine-breakers and "holy animal-worshipping" muscle-flexers, in this age of chest thumpers mouthing bankrupt rhetoric after rhetoric along with violent words and gestures, in these times of "patriots" directing their critics to leave India and "God"-resembling matinee stars accused of running over footpath dweller to death or killing endangered animals --- these unsung unparalleled selfless Doctors like Santanu Banerjee serve as the last flame of hope and positivity in this merciless intolerant selfish vulgar times. Not any glamorous cricketer or Bollywood personality who all "serve" the nation for pure commercial selfish purpose of making money money and more money; rather these selfless Dr.Banerjees form the real Ratnas of Bharat.


Ending the piece with 3 medical messiahs whom I have personally experienced in life - - - living, shifted or left for heavenly abode. 


Dr.Ranjit Mohanty. As my wife almost collapsed in an early dawn due to dehydration 6 years ago, I called the Doctor (living around 5 km away) whether he can visit our home. Within 20 minutes, he reached our residence and administered required medicines and issued various direction. Only due to his urgent intervention, my wife's condition got revived. Later came to know that Dr.Mohanty's own wife was lodged in a far-away hospital and was getting readied to visit her when my call was done! Yet, by deferring his visit to the hospital, Dr. Mohanty rushed to our house to treat my wife! 


Dr. Sumit Chatterjee - - undoubtedly an excellent doctor in terms of skill and efficiency. But how many Doctors in present times care to pay home visit even if double fee gets offered! But the young sober gentle Dr. Chatterjee invariably pays visit to homes in any time of the day or night with a divine smile in his face! 


And at the end Late Dr.Suman Guha. My 5-month old son was brought to our residence for the first time after his birth in hometown of his maternal grandparents. In the third morning itself, he turned much sick. Dr. Guha immediately attended our call and brought relief for our baby. Thereafter along with our family members, my son was also in treatment of Dr.Guha(including vaccinations) whenever the need arose - - - many times in his chamber, some times in our home. During my son's school admission process, it was Dr.Guha who issued the necessary certificates including that of the vaccines administered. 


Last year when the engineering institute, where my son was set to be enrolled, demanded necessary medical certificates, again we had to turn to Dr.Guha for the same. As he signed the required Forms, Dr. Guha wished my son all success in life and I was left wondering how he remained a constant in the life of my son from his baby days to the verge of adulthood and how as many as 17 years have escaped like a  magic within minutes ! 


And within a few months of my son's admission to the college in another part of the country, news came in a fateful morning that Dr.Guha has left for that abode from where nobody can ever return! 


My respectful Pronam to Dr.Guha on the first Doctor's Day following his ultimate departure in physical terms. We will remain indebted to him for ever. 


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