NATIONAL DOCTORS DAY TODAY: A tribute to Bharat Ratna Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy
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NATIONAL DOCTORS DAY TODAY: A tribute to Bharat Ratna Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy

July 1, 2022

By Dr. B.V. Rajagopal

Past National Vice-President of Indian Medical Association

National Doctors’ Day is observed in our country on 1st July every  year. This was introduced by Indian Medical Association (IMA) in the year 1991 to mark the birth and honour the contributions of  the renowned Physician and former West Bengal Chief Minister Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy (B.C. Roy)  and to recognise the services  being rendered by our medical community.

Bidhan  Chandra  Roy was born in the year 1882 at Patna.  His father Prakash Chandra Roy was an Excise Officer and mother  Aghorakamini was a social worker. He had two brothers and two sisters and Roy was the youngest. He completed his BA in Patna and later obtained Honours in Mathematics.

He then moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata)  and was selected to pursue Engineering as well as Medicine course. B.C. Roy opted for Medicine and joined Calcutta Medical College. At the entrance of the college he noticed a write up as follows: “Whatever thy hands find to do,  do it with thy might.”  This struck to his mind and he started following it diligently.

After completing his MBBS course in 1909, he managed to go to Britain by ship with hardly Rs. 200 in his hands. At Barthalomew Hospital in London, he applied for permission to take MRCP course but was denied permission.  But, his persistence was successful and he got the permission to appear for the examination and he passed both MRCP (as a physician) and FRCS (as a surgeon) examinations within two years. He returned to India in 1911.

In 1911, he joined Provincial Health Service in Bengal and worked hard for the improvement of the society. He was appointed as a teacher in Medical Colleges and  became a very efficient and most sought after teacher in three Medical Colleges — Calcutta Medical College, Campbell Medical College and Carmichael Medical College.

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Dr. B.C. Roy contested for the post of Mayor in Calcutta Municipal Corporation and won. During his tenure as the Mayor, he was responsible for  starting Jadavpur TB Hospital, Victoria College and Hospital, Chittaranjandas Cancer Hospital, Chittaranjan Seva Sadan for Women and Children, Kamala Nehru  Memorial Hospital and many small hospitals in mofussil areas.

He was selected as the Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University and during his regime, he was responsible for starting a few new colleges in the State including Pharmacy Colleges. 

In the year 1941, Dr. B. C. Roy was appointed as the Governor of Bengal State. He was in the office for one year and during that short period he brought in a number of improvements in the administrative levels.

Dr.  B.C. Roy start Indian Medical Association (IMA) in the year 1928 with a few of his colleagues for which he was the first President for three years. There were only 226 members then and today there are nearly four lakh members who are fully qualified in modern medicine.

Dr. B.C. Roy started Medical Council of India (MCI) and was its President for five years. He brought in strict regulations to medical colleges. 

Dr. Roy became active in politics, succeeding Subhas Chandra Bose in 1931 as the Mayor of Calcutta. He joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience Movement, soon becoming his friend and personal physician.

In May 1933, when Gandhiji  was undertaking a 21-day fast in Parnakutivin, Poona (now Pune), Roy was by his side and taking care of him.

Dr. B.C. Roy was a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi and had participated in the Dandi March. At one point Gandhiji was a bit indisposed and Dr. Roy tried to give him medicines but Gandhiji refused and told him: “I don’t want your medicines for free. Will you give free medicines to all our people in the country?” To which Dr. Roy replied: “Gandhiji, I am not treating you as Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi,  but as a person who represents forty million people of our country.” Then Gandhiji agreed to take medicines.

READ ALSO  Selected for Dr. B.C. Roy Award

Chief Minister of West Bengal

At the instance of many persons in the Congress Working Committee and Gandhiji’s advice, Dr. B.C. Roy contested for the Chief Minister’s post in West Bengal and won the election. He served as the CM for 14 years.

When he took over as the CM, the whole State was in utter confusion and chaos. With dedication, devotion and exemplary planning, Dr. Roy brought the conditions under control stage by stage. Five new cities — Kalyani, Durgapur, Bidhan Nagar, Ashoknagar and Habra — were declared open by him. His concern for the poor and also women was greatest and he brought out many reformations.

On July 1, 1962, Dr. B. C. Roy, who was eighty years old, saw a few patients in the morning, came home and recited a few lines from his Brahmo Samaj book and retired. A few hours later he was no more. Dr. B.C. Roy was born was July 1, 1882 and he passed away on July 1, 1962.

In 1961, Dr. B.C. Roy was awarded with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country.

In 1976, ‘National Dr. B.C. Roy Award’ was instituted in his memory for work in the areas of Medicine, Politics, Science, Literature and Arts.

On this Doctors Day, let us all salute this legendary personality of our country.

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “NATIONAL DOCTORS DAY TODAY: A tribute to Bharat Ratna Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy”

  1. Satarawalla says:

    Interesting that this son of that famous Ayurvedic physician of Nanjangud B V Pandit, became an allopathic doctor! Wonder why he did not succeed his father, who was an exceptional Ayurvedic physician, pioneered many treatments, did not follow his father’s footsteps as Ayurvedic physician. The result is B V Pandit’s knowledge of herbal medicines is lost for ever.
    Now, about BC Roy. It was to the credit of the St Bartholomew’s Hospital,, a very top internationally famous hospital in London to have accepted BC Roy-btw, MRCP/FRCS have been very rigorous postgraduate qualifications earned through a strict training process working in a hospital under an expert mentor. Papaers and practical exams have been tough and filter out the less able. Those Indian doctors who fail these exams, easily pass the board certificate exams of the US!
    Anyway, not like the Lucknow MD of this author or the MD of UOM of Javeed Nayeem!
    B C Roy was also the personal physician of Nehru.
    Interesting that salt is proved to be dangerous for health, in every nutrition advice, less salt is recommended-even contemplating tax on sugar ( tax is already levied in Western countries on sugary soft drinks) and salt these days, but yet this Salt March was for Salt tax imposed!

  2. Howdy, Modi! says:

    This BV Rajagopal has a lot to learn from BC Roy. Although a busy CM of a state like West Bengal, BC Roy conducted free morning surgeries for poor patients. Better expert than this B V Rajagopal who boasts himself as the renowned cardiologist in Mysore, trained in UK and USA, but never took the UK’s MRCP exams or USA’s board certification exams, happy with his Lucknow MD! Anyway, sent his daughter after her medical degree to the USA! So much about BV Pandit’s Ayurvedic pedigree! These days there are better cardiologists even in Mysore than Nayeem and Rajagopal!
    There ia always Singapore hospitals, if a Mysorean needs really expert care! Wait untii Mysore airport get expanded, taking in A320/Boeing 737.
    Flights with just a single stop in midway from Mysore-Singapore will become the norm..
    Ofcourse Malayalee crime gangs from Gulf States who are currently smuggling gold to Kerala, are ready to expand their business in Greater Mysore., with non -stop Emirate flights from Doha-Mysore!

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