Intor: Dr Dhananjay Sagdeo, who works amidst different land and life, overwhelmingly smiles while thinking about the past. He works on the principle of satisfaction. He considers himself to be fortunate to get the opportunity to serve poor people. He knows that if he had opted for a lucrative career, he would have minted money. His training through discipline and sankaras of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was a mighty shield to weather any adversities.
There is a doctor in Kerala, Dr Dhananjay Sagdeo who traversed in the reverse direction and came from Nagpur to Kerala to serve the poor and downtrodden tribals living in the hilly district of Wynadu. He came to Wynadu in 1980 immediately after passing his MBBS from Nagpur Medical College. RSS’s third Sarsanghachalak Balasaheb Deoras was the inspiration for such a strange but firm decision. As a third year Sangh Shiksha Varg (OTC) trained swayamsevak, brothers also being associated with the Sangh, entire family supported the decision. Since Dhananjay reached Muttil, Wynadu in 1980, Vivekananda Medical Mission Hospital is his karmakshethra. The hospital was the evolution of a modest dispensary organised by the Sangh workers led by CS Muraleedharan, RSS Wynadu Taluka Pracharak during 1971–73. Muraleedharan told Organiser about the hardships they faced to find out and deploy Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP) to live and work under all sorts of discomforts. Those were the “rainy days” for Sangh and swayamsevaks, hence the appointment of an MBBS doctor was not there even in their remote
|Dr Dhananjay Sagdeo feels that his life is a fruitful pilgrimage and happy that he could offer fresh rose like life at the feet of Bharath Matha. He bagged several awards for his services all around the globe. He proved that Manavaseva is Madhavaseva.|
imagination. Once Dhananjay took over a dispensary and it became a cup of tea for his remaining life. This is significant because, despite the advancement of modern medical science in the country, the fruits of the same did not reach to our weaker sections. Vanavasis (Tribals) constitute approximately 20 per cent of the population in Wynadu district situated between Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. These vanavasis were exploited by the settlers from other parts of Kerala; their cultivable lands were converted into mammoth plantations.
They suffered from poor health, ignorance and alcoholism, etc. Wynadu was the district of scenic beauty; but, the poor vanavasi population was denied modern medical facilities. Deorasji got wind of it through K Bhaskar Rao, the Kerala Pranth Pracharak of RSS from 1965 to 1983. That is how Deorasji dispatched Dhananjay from Nagpur
Dhananjay’s task was to expand the eight years old dispensary into a reasonable clinic and then convert it into a nursing home with necessary facilities. As the vanavasis were suspicious of outsiders it was a challenging task to deal with the peculiar mindset; so, Dhananjay’s first step was to win their confidence. At the same time, they had to be involved in the activities meant for their
Now, Vivekananda Medical Mission has developed into a 35 bed unit with modern facilities. It is well equipped with X-Ray, Ultra Sound, ECG, ambulance, laboratory, pharmacy and other services. Twelve visiting specialist doctors have been called on different days by the hospital itself. Patients in the hospital get free food.
Another unique dimension of the Mission is its six sub-centers, which take medical care to the tribal homes with the help of mobile units. These centers facilitate services of visiting doctors for special care in Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Nephrology and ENT and awareness campaigns for health, hygiene, social evils, general health, etc. Medical camps are conducted in hamlets, and remotest villages in the district. Mobile units of the hospital visit those places on daily basis. Around 400 such camps are conducted a year. An average of 65 patients visits these camps. Around 12500 patients per annum avail such treatments during recent years.
Most important philanthropic service of the Vivekananda Medical Mission was the detection of sickle cell anemia; the nightmare disturbed the vanavasis for generations together. Doctor’s team first described it in 1994. The first pilot project was introduced in 1999 with the joint participation of AIIMS, New Delhi. Seventy percent of the tribal are screened. Awareness programmes and schemes to prevent social evils like marriages between carriers of the trait were launched. Schemes were launched to eradicate TB which caused high morbidity. And, now, Government of India has selected Mission
as Mother NGO for the implementation of several rural health programmes in the
Dhananjay opines that overall development of the tribals’ condition is the solution to improve their health. Several empowerment programmes are conducted by Mission in this regard. Bamboo craft is to sustain the tradition, coupled with financial gains. It also served as a way to rehabilitate the sickle cell anemia patients. Self groups, micro insurance programmes, etc. are running for the tribals’ self reliance. The doctor is against tribals’ excess dependence on government.
Mission runs around 100 vidya kendras with small libraries and reading rooms in villages. Doctor is humble but proud to disclose Mission’s five point programme, viz., Shikshan, Swasthya, Sanskar, Swavalamban and Samajik Sewa, extends succor to about one lakh tribal people. The outpatient department of the hospital gives medicare to more than 70,000 patients a year and most of them are Tribals.
Dr Dhananajay Sagdeo and his team have got all reasons to take pride in the name, Vivekananda Medical Mission. Because, they believe in practise the doctrine of Manava Seva Madhava Seva.
Dr Sagdeo, living afar skies and miles from his native place, succeeds in synchronising his proud social mission along with a happy family life. He got married to Smt. Sujatha of a north Indian business family settled down in Kozhikode for the last few generations. Elder daughter Engineer Aditi leads married life in Nagpur. Second one Gayathri is an MBBS student.
When Dhananjay looks back he is overwhelmed all smiles. He believes that he is extremely fortunate for getting the noble opportunity to use the best years of his life for the service of a people who were marginalised, ignored and neglected.
But, when he set out for Wynadu at his tender young age, he was very much aware of the fact that his remuneration was going to be meager. He did not have any clue about the language, climate, environment, food habits, facilities, etc. awaiting him. His RSS training was a mighty shield to weather any adversities. On top of all this, the source of inspiration for this idealistic migration was not
less a person than Sarsanghchalak
Mission has bagged several awards for the yeoman’s services rendered under the leadership of Dr Sagdeo. Guruji Golwalker Seva Puraskar of Jankalyan Samthi, Pune and Thakkar Bapa Puraskar of Madhya
Pradesh Government are the most prestigious among them.
Now, he feels that his life is a fruitful pilgrimage. He is happy that he could offer fresh rose like life at the feet of Bharath Matha. His life is crystal clear and transparent…… Yes, he proved that Manavaseva is Madhavaseva.
-T Satisan (The writer is a correspondent from Kerala)