By Dr Satish K Gupta*
Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy
(July 1, 1882 – July 1, 1962)
Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy was born and brought up in the Patna district of Bihar. His father was an excise inspector and his mother was a devoted social worker. They were strong followers of the Brahmo Samaj movement.
While being a medical student, he was deeply impressed by the inscription “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” This became a source of inspiration for him throughout his life.
He was the first to complete both MRCP in Medicine and FRCS in Surgery at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London in 2 years and 3 months and returned to India in 1911.
Dr Roy was a famous freedom fighter and a friend of Mahatma Gandhi. He had a strong belief that freedom would remain a dream unless people become healthy and strong in mind and body.
Dr Roy started his political career in 1925 and served the Calcutta Corporation from 1930-31 and as Mayor in 1933.
He has been recognized as an architect of modern Bengal. He established industrial hubs out of Calcutta and also found 5 cities in Bengal, namely Durgapur, Kalyani, Bidan Nagar, Ashok Nagar and Habra.
After the independence, he became the second Chief Minister of West Bengal in 1948 and served in that post for 14 years until his death.
He established the first postgraduate medical college, Infectious Disease Hospitals, and the Institute of Mental Health in Calcutta. He pioneered the foundation of the Indian Medical Association in 1928 and the Medical Council of India. Also, he served as the first President of MCI.
He was the recipient of the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 1961.
His birthday (July 1st) has been declared “National Doctors Day”.
In 1962, an annual award in his name, Dr B. C. Roy National Award, was initiated by the Medical Council of India, for rewarding outstanding service in the field of medicine, science, philosophy, politics, literature and arts.
*Dr. Satish K Gupta is an MD in Medicines, a Visiting Senior Consultant Physician and Internist at Max Super Speciality Hospital, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at GS Medical College, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut. He is the author of Journey of COVID in India: A Doctor’s Perspective.