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Doctors' Day 2022: Facts About Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, On Whose Behalf India Celebrates National Doctors' Day

Every year, on 1 July, India observes National Doctors' Day. This day is dedicated to Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, a physician, philanthropist, educationist, social worker, and former Chief Minister of West Bengal.

Who Was Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy?

Bidhan Chandra Roy (1 July 1882 - 1 July 1962) was an Indian physician, educator, philanthropist, freedom fighter, and statesman who served as Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1948 to 1962.

Bidhan Roy was often considered the creator of modern West Bengal, as he played a key role in creating several institutions and the cities Durgapur, Kalyani, Bidhannagar, and Ashoknagar. One of the few people in history to be a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons as well as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians.

Every year on 1 July, National Doctors' Day is celebrated in his memory in India. On 4 February 1961, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy's Contributions

In health:

  • After completing his education, Roy joined the Provincial Health Service. As a nurse, he demonstrated immense dedication and hard work. In his spare time, he practised privately, charging a nominal fee.
  • In addition to teaching at Calcutta Medical College, he also taught at Campbell Medical College (now the NRS Medical College) and Carmichael Medical College.
  • In 1928, Dr Roy founded the Indian Medical Association and, in 1933, the Medical Council of India. While the former consists of a voluntary organization of physicians, the latter was a statutory body tasked with setting uniform and high standards of medical education in the country until its dissolution in 2020.
  • In his academic career, especially after completing his postgraduate studies, he became a member of the Royal College of Physicians. Eventually, as a result of his work, he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.
  • British Medical Journal described Roy as having the largest consulting practice in the world since even word of his arrival at a railway station on any given day would bring forth hordes of visitors - many of whom were patients.
  • Even at his busiest time as a political worker, Roy would see as many patients as possible without charging a fee.

In politics:

  • In 1933, Dr Roy became the Mayor of Calcutta, and later on, in his political career, he became the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Dr Roy served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the remainder of his life.
  • The party ranks were united and disciplined under Roy. A calm and systematic approach was adopted as he began working on the enormous task.
  • The Congress party leaders, including Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, regarded Roy respectfully. He was Mr Nehru's trusted adviser on politics and health issues.

For the state of Bengal:

  • He returned law and order to Bengal within three years without compromising the dignity and status of his administration.
  • During his tenure, the Corporation expanded free education, free medical aid, better roads, improved lighting, and improved water supply.

The B.C. Roy National Award was established in 1962 in memory of Roy and has been presented annually since 1976. The award recognizes excellence in medicine, politics, science, philosophy, literature, and the arts.

Story first published: Friday, July 1, 2022, 13:10 [IST]
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