By Dr. C.G. Narasimhan
Getting admission to the medical course in the then Mysore State was a dream come true those days in 1950s. There were only two medical colleges. Mysore Medical College was started in 1924 while the Bangalore Medical College was just then started in the year 1955. Though Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore and Karnatak Medical College in Hubli were started in 1953 and 1957 respectively, they were both not in Karnataka State then. Naturally, there was keen competition for admission to these two colleges in Mysore and Bangalore.
Those days after SSLC, we joined intermediate classes. CBZ and PCB (Biology) were the preferred combinations that would make one eligible to go for medical course. A few from PCM and after B.Sc. used to get selected. Getting a percentage of 60 to 65 in the third part (CBZ or PCM), as it was called, would ensure a seat in the Medical College.
With 64%, I was one among 100 to get admitted to Mysore Medical College in July 1957. The selection was strictly by merit and by caste reservation. Coming from a remote and a backward place of Chitradurga I was all at sea in the Royal city of Mysore.
Before entering the medical college we had a six-month pre-medical course at the Yuvaraja’s College, Mysore, where L. Seebaiah was the Principal. All of our theory and practical classes in Botany, Zoology, Physics and Physical Chemistry were taken by senior teachers.
We entered the Medical College building in January 1958 with Anatomy, Physiology and Organic Chemistry as the main subjects in the first two years. (There was no semester system then). The first hurdle to cross was the second year examination which used to be in the month of December. With very strict examiner like Dr. Y. Appaji (Anatomy) passing the exam was not at all easy. There were many failures. It was like a first filter before entering third year which was the clinical side at K.R. Hospital.
I do remember a few students even discontinuing as they could not pass in the second year exam. Physiology was handled by Prof. B.V. Puttaraj Urs and Dr. S. Rama Rao. The latter though didn’t have a post-graduate degree was an eloquent teacher. After the second year, the next filter used to be in the fourth year exam where we had to take Pathology, Bacteriology, Microbiology, Preventive and Social Medicine, Jurisprudence and Ophthalmology.
Out of the 100 students admitted in 1957, only 11 passed the final exam in December 1962. This does not happen these days. Scoring 60% and getting first class was almost impossible then. Apart from being strict in the examinations our, professors were very dedicated in teaching.
Both Dr. Charles D’Souza (Pathology) and Dr. M.C. Devannaiah (Microbiology) used to take special classes at 7 in the morning which is unheard of these days. Dr. Y.P. Rudrappa, who had just come after obtaining MRCP was a dedicated teacher and a disciplinarian. We learnt basics of medicine and clinical examination from him. Some of the teachers were very popular among students. To mention a few: Dr. A.K. Gopalarajan, Prof. of Surgery, Dr. K.G. Das, Prof. of Medicine, Dr. Jayalakshmi Y. Iyer, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr. Capt. A.T.S. Iyengar, Professor of Jurisprudence and Dr. P.S. Sambashivan, Professor of Dermatology and Sports Secretary.
After passing the final year, we had to do one year of housemanship. This included three months each in Medical, Surgical and Obstetrics and Gynaecology wards, 15 days each in departments like ENT, Casualty, Orthopaedics, Paediatrics and Eye.
Several of our classmates excelled in sports. Dr. N.M. Sreenivas was the National junior champion in tennis in our days. Later he became a well-known name in Mysore, heading a Tennis Association.
Many of our batch-mates went abroad to pursue higher studies. They had to pass the entrance exam called ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) to go to USA. It was much easier to go to UK.
After getting DMRD in England, Dr. N.M. Sreenivas returned to India in early 70s and started his Nandi X-Ray centre in Mysore which later became a household name.
Dr. D. Prabhamandal did D.ch and DMRD and started his own Kiran Nursing Home in Mysore while I did my MS in General Surgery and started private practice in Mysore.
Three of our classmates need special mention — one is G.V. Satyavati who became the Director of ICMR, Delhi. She published a number of original research papers and garnered number of prestigious awards. The second person is from Nepal, Kokila Vaidya, who occupied the highest post in public health in Nepal after getting PG training in USA. The other person is K.M. Annaji, who joined armed forces after getting MS in General Surgery. He took active part in Bangladesh War, Operation Blue Star and IPKF Operation in Sri Lanka.
After a memorable 50th year ‘Swarna Milana’ celebration in Dec. 2007, we are fortunate to meet again for our 60th year ‘Vajra Milana’ on the 13th of January 2018 at the Silent Shores Resort. While most of us are reaching 80 and some past that, nearly 30 are no more and another 20 could not make it due to old age issues; only 25 of us with families are meeting this time.
The event is marked by Prof. Krishnegowda’s ‘Hasya anecdotes’ and later ‘Musical evening’ by V.N. Prasad, Jayanthi Bhat and young Shabbir. With all us belonging to the era of Hemanth Kumar, Talat, Geeta Dutt melodies of those days like ‘Yad kiya dilne kahan tum, Neend na mujko aye, Jhoomta mausam, mast mahina, Babuji dheere chalna along with popular Kannada hits are packed in his list. They are entwined with beauties of 60s to 80s rendered by the legends Rafi, Kishore, Lata and Asha.