National Doctors' Day is celebrated in India to honour the memory of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy. The birth and death anniversary of the esteemed physician and former West Bengal Chief Minister falls on 1 July. To pay respect to the esteemed personality, National Doctors' Day is observed on the same date.
Who was Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy?
In its obituary of Roy, the British Medical Journal called him the “first medical consultant in the subcontinent of India, who towered over his contemporaries in several fields.”
Born on 1 July, 1882 in Patna, Roy studied mathematics at Patna College, before he switched over to medicine. After completing his graduation from Patna, he studied at the Calcutta Medical College.
In his younger days, Roy came across the inscription "Whatever thy hands findeth to do, do it with thy might.” This inspired him throughout his life, even in the face of several obstacles.
Roy had to face several difficulties to achieve his dream of studying at London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital, as the dean was not keen to admit him to the institution. It took him a month and a half, and almost 30 meetings with the dean to secure admission.
After completing his studies there, he became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), as well as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS).
Return to India:
Soon after he returned from London, Roy became involved in politics and social work. He was a friend and personal physician of Mahatma Gandhi and even joined the call for the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy is credited with establishing the Indian Medical Association in 1928 and the Medical Council of India. He also played a crucial role in establishing the Infectious Disease Hospital, Indian Institute of Mental Health, and Kolkata’s first postgraduate medical college.
The physician later joined politics and became the second Chief Minister of West Bengal in 1948. For his contribution to the country’s development, Bidhan Chandra Roy was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1961. He passed away on 1 July the next year, on the occasion of his birthday.