anonymous

MY STORY - 5

MY STORY - 5

DR SHANTILAL J. MEHTA

The students appointed me as Vice President of their Union and I remained so for 24 years. Whenever any student was in trouble, financially or otherwise, I was always approached. To quote but one instance a boy lost his father when he was in the third year. I rang up Sir Homi Mehta (we used to call him 'papa'). On hearing that the bereaved boy had a mother and two sisters and it would take a minimum of four years before he started earning. Sir Homi sent me a cheque to help him out. He was a very dear friend of mine and I never had a 'no' from him whenever such help was required.

Parsis are well-known for their philanthropy and this was one such man. When we wanted funds for a blood bank. Sir Homi gave a cheque for Rs 50,000. I offered to name the blood bank after him, but he wanted it to be named after Mangaldas Girdharilal, an Ahmedabad-based multimillionaire who had helped Sir Homi when he had first started business. Here was this gentleman who had given us Rs 50,000, a fairly big sum in the 1930s, but still he did not want his name for the blood bank.

In my first batch I had a brilliant student, Dr Ernest Borges, who later became a cancer surgeon at the Tata Hospital. He had gone to the United Kingdom for his F.R.C.S. but he developed pleurisy there and had to come back. He could not continue after his primary Fellowship. He came to me with his problem. I told him that he had an M.S. degree anyway. I asked him to go to a dry climate and then got him a job at the Civil Hospital in Ahmednagar.