(Kuradi Chandrasekhara Kalkura)
Lead, Kindly Light…
While the country was getting ready to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanthi, early morning on April 14, 2020, we have lost one of the rarest Osmanian and alumnus of Kurnool Medical College. Dr. ISMAIL, an extraordinary popular medical practitioner of Kurnool is no more. Fate has removed him from our midst. Starting his career in the late 1960s, Dr. Ismail has been a practitioner for nearly five decades. His practice used to start early in the afternoon and over in the small hours the next morning. He used to keep a small open cardboard box on the table and patients would make voluntary payments, ten or twenty. Some of them put hundred rupees or fifty rupees and those who put 20 rupees note and withdraw change were not rare.
The doctor used to say- my father was a teacher. With his meager salary, he led a life of dignity and honor. He was a thoroughly honest and sincere professional. He brought us up with abundant love and affection. We inherited his legacy of reputation and transparency. God has given me enough. My son Dr. Iqbal Hussain is settled as an Associate Professor in Kurnool Medical College and one son- in- law (Imtiaz, the Collector, Krishna) is an IAS Officer, and other two sons-in-law are also well settled. They do not need my assistance. I studied at the cost of the Govt. God has been so kind to us all. Why should I demand fees from the patients? 90 %of his patients were BPL.
The doctor seldom prescribed unnecessary tests such as blood and urine tests, X-Ray, scanning, and ECG. He used to ask the patients, whether they prefer injection or tablets. If it is an injection, the compounder would give the injection. If the patient pays five or ten rupees, it goes to the compounder. The doctor had no share in it. He was a popular faculty member of the Kurnool Medical College and later the Principal of Dr Abdul Haq Unani Medical College, Kurnool. His nursing home served the marginalized community. He was Honorary Medical Officer of his Alma Mater, Osmania College, Kurnool. Any student from the College could knock at his door.
In late eighties the Police ordered him to close his clinic by 10.30 p.m. Practicing into early morning was the norm. The patients would come even after the second show. Till TN Seshan became the Chief of Election Commission, election meetings were being held till early mornings in the minority-dominated areas of Kurnool. Dr Ismail quietly obeyed the orders and locked his clinic by 10. 00 p.m and went home. People gathered and went on delegation to the Supdt of Police. The SP was adamant. The press highlighted the matter as the Kurnool Old Town’s legacy. The then SP sought the intervention of Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, former chief minister of combined Andhra Pradesh. Kotla insisted that the patients’ will must prevail. Police invited a delegation for discussions. I was the President of the Town Congress Committee. So I also joined the delegation. Other members were Ramabhupal Choudary (MLA) Dawood Khan (Municipal Chairman) and Somisetty Venkataramaiah, (Municipal Vice-chairman). The Police agreed for the continuace of the practice according to the doctor’s schedule and the convenience of the patients.
Dr Vadiraj another popular general practitioner from the city as well as Dr Ismail’s student recalls an incident with Nostalgia that happened in 1975.
“In 1975, when Dr Ismail was an assistant professor, a house surgeon by name Rajmohan died of undiagnosed fever. His body was to be transported to his native place, Srikalahasthi. There were no Ambulances. Kerosene operated old Ambassador cars used to be parked on the road-side near the General Hospital. House Surgeons, PG Students and the staff of the Medical College donated one day’s salary. Dr Ismail bore the entire expenditure of the car and paid the whole amount to the poverty-stricken family. Dr Ismail was the son in law of Late Chand, Proprietor, and Chand Theatre. So he arranges a Charity show in the theatre. Film, tax and the lectricity were all free of cost. An amount of Rs.4, 800 thus collected was paid to Raj Mohan’s parents in the form of FD Bond of the State Bank of India. Dr Mallikarjuna Rao, Prof of Medicine presented the bond. This is only a sample of Dr Ismail’s philanthropic activities.
Dr Vadiraj recollects innumerable anecdotes from the real-life student-teacher relationship. A popular and good teacher, daily after the rounds, Dr Ismail used to accompany the students to the canteen. The entire bill would be paid by the asst.professor. He would devote a lot of time to study before taking classes.
Dr Imail’s demise may not be untimely, for he was 75. But his services are still needed in the Society. It is also a personal loss for me. Since 1984 we have been together in politics; earlier with the former chief minister (late), Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy and later with T.G.Venkatesh , Rajya Sabha member. They counted us as their Principal and principled advisers. I have lost a companion who is unsubstitutable.
Secular to the core, his political activities were confined to the services of the needy and the poor. Interestingly he was the friend, guide and philosopher of the Kurnool Marwari Association. He has carved a niche for himself in the Medical and Health History of Kurnool.
May Allah shower His Blessings for Salvation and bestow strength and courage to bear the loss on the Family members.