CME INDIA Presentation by ⚜ Dr. M. Gowri Sankar, MD, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of General Medicine, Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.

Today’s History Feature:

Dr. Jivraj Mehta

(August 29,1887 – Nov 7,1978)

💠 🇮🇳 Indian Physician & Educator 🇮🇳

His Contributions...

  • Jivraj Mehta was born in a very poor family at Amreli, Gujarat. While growing up, he was highly inspired by his grandmother and one of his school teachers.
  • As his family couldn’t support his education, he continued his studies with the help of the money he made through tuitions and he studied under the streetlights all his school days.
  • He also got inspired by Dr. Eduljee Dadachandjee, a civil surgeon in his town, and was the reason why Jivraj Mehta took up medicine.
  • Although, he faced many difficulties, he studied well and successfully obtained admission in the Grant Medical College and Sir J.J. Hospital, Bombay. He continued his medical education by the support of sponsors and scholarship.
  • He completed his final year medical education by winning seven of the eight prizes offered and shared his eighth prize with his hostel roommate.
  • Subsequently, he acquired a prestigious fellowship from the Tata Education Foundation and did his masters in London Hospital Medical College.
  • In London, he won University gold medal in his MD examinations in 1914 and then became the member of prestigious Royal College of Physicians of London.
  • When he returned to India, he involved himself in freedom movement with Mahatma Gandhiji and was also a private physician for him.
  • Under the British rule, Indian physicians were restricted to only the non-clinical departments and none of them was appointed as teacher in clinical departments .
  • Hence, Indian physicians all together decided to build a medical college staffed with only Indian doctors.
  • Consequently, Dr. Jivraj founded the India’s first Non-Government medical college in 1926 – based on his experience in London and with the financial support of Bombay merchant Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas.
  • In fact, Dr. Jivraj was instrumental in architecting the institution by constructing two separate but adjacent buildings – Seth GS Medical College and King Edward VII Memorial (KEM) Hospital. These buildings are interconnected by covered corridor. There, he was the first Dean and served for around 18 years (1925-42).
  • Thereafter, most of the medical colleges in India were designed on the architecture of Seth GS medical college.
  • Thereby, he proved that Indians could run a medical college successfully alike British physicians.
  • His involvement in freedom movement brought him various positions after independence in 1947. Those are as follows:
  • 🔅First “Dewan” (Prime Minister) of the Baroda state in free India.
  • 🔅Director General of Health Services and Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the Central Government.
  • 🔅Minister of Public Works, Finance and Industry for the Bombay state.
  • Later, he became the first Chief Minister of the newly formed Gujarat state in 1960 and subsequently, served as the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
  • During his service, he made a proposal that was well received by the central government and resulted in the establishment of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. 
  • Furthermore, he involved himself in the improvement of various medical colleges and hospitals at Pune, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Aurangabad and also established:
  • 🔅Topiwala Nair Municipal Hospital.
  • 🔅Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Hospital.
  • 🔅Dr. Balabai Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai.
  • Eventually, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1972 for his meritorious service.
  • Dr. Jivraj Mehta was a man of simple but multi-faceted personality, a pioneer of Medical Education in India, pioneer of Hospital Organization in India. He always believed in practicing before preaching and is ultimately celebrated as a “Doyen of Medical Education in India.”
  • In order to honour his devoted service, an exclusive award has been announced in the name “Dr. Jivraj Mehta National Award” by the Association of Physicians of India for the eminent physicians and the outstanding medical practitioners.

A Day to Commemorate…

An Architect of Indian Medical Education.

🇮🇳 Dr. Jivraj Mehta 🇮🇳🙏🏼

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