anonymous

My Story - 14

MY STORY - 14

DR SHANTILAL J. MEHTA

My best years which I have really enjoyed, have been those when I had students to teach. I am convinced that the present deterioration in the field of education is mainly due to the teachers themselves. We have hadseveral arguments on this subject: that present-day students are quite different from the rest. We have been hearing this cliche for a have spent 30 years as a teacher and another 10 years as an Emeritus Professor and I can boldly say without any reservations that the today are no different from the students of yesterday. If you find that at present they have taken to violence and other malpractices, it is because they are giving vent to their frustration when they find that they are indifferent or unpunctual in the performance of their duties.

I have had over 200 house surgeons working with me in my medical career spanning 54 years. One thing I have always sought to inculcate in them was that they should not run after Laxmi. She is an elusive woman. She runs away from you. But if you neglect Laxmiand worship Saraswati you will have the rewards of both, Laxmi and Saraswati.

Politicians have a way of lecturing to doctors that they should go to the villages.

I once challenged Bombay's Health Minister that if he provided the necessary facilities I would take my students and staff to any village he named for medical work. He accepted my challenge and named an area inhabited by Bhil tribes near Reogarh Bharia in Gujarat. The facilities were provided. I took with me a 37-member staff from the J.J. Hospital including surgeons, anaesthetists, pathologists, nurses and housemen along with the necessary equipment. In effect, we had a 50-bed hospital where we performed 1,100 operations in 11 days, working 14 hours a day and performing major surgeries. There was not a single death and when we finally left, we left behind four Registrars and some nurses to look after the patients. About 75,000 patients came to the camp.

I screened a family planning film, dubbed in Gujarati. I also addressed the people in Gujarati. At the end of the film, 144 adivasi women came forward for sterilisation. Unfortunately, we were already booked up and I told the Civil Surgeon present that it was not possible to perform sterilisations. But the women went on a hunger-strike and I was forced to do the operations which clearly shows that with a proper approach you can make even an illiterate woman come forward to be sterilised. The day we were to leave, a huge crowd collected to give us a send-off. You should have seen the joy on their faces!

If you want medicos to go to rural areas they should be given additional incentives such as free accommodation, allowance for children's education, special rural allowance etc.