CME INDIA Presentation by Professor (Dr.) Shibendu Ghosh, Professor of Medicine, JIMSH, Kolkata; Vice-president API headquarters.

Association of Physicians of India (API) was formed on 23 December 1944. The date, 23rd of December, is observed nationally as Physicians’ Day.

About API (The Association of Physicians of India)

  • The Association of Physicians of India is a professional body of consultant physicians formed in 1944. Its members are physicians with postgraduate qualifications in different specialties.
  • Currently the membership of the association is 19,500 and is increasing every year. Obviously, this Association is the most elite physician’s fraternity in India.
  • This Association conducts various educational and professional activities for its members throughout the year.

The Illuminating Vision

  • The vision of a few stalwart Physicians of India gave birth to the idea of forming the Association of Physicians of India in 1944 mainly to provide a common forum to the Physicians of India to meet and to share experience and research observations in the field of Medicine.
  • Names of the Founder Members of The Association of Physicians of India:
  1. Dr. M.R. Guruswamy, Madras
  2. Dr. Jivraj N. Mehta, Mumbai
  3. Col. Amir Chand, Delhi
  4. Dr. Mangaldas J. Shah, Mumbai
  5. Dr. M.D.D. Gilder, Mumbai
  6. Dr. George Coelho, Mumbai
  7. Dr. J.C. Banerjee, Calcutta
  8. Dr. M.N. De, Calcutta
  9. Dr. N.D. Patel, Mumbai
  • The First President of API was Dr. Jivraj N. Mehta from Bombay in the year 1944.

Dr. M.R. Guruswamy

Remembering 23rd December – “National Physician’s Day”
  • During British rule, most of the top jobs in government hospitals in India were invariably given to doctors from the United Kingdom. Indeed, there was an I.M.S. (Indian Medical Service) which was at first open only to Whites. To occupy such high positions in Government hospitals was almost an impossibility for Indians. Dr. Guruswami Mudaliar achieved this rare distinction and created history.
  • He was the first Indian to be appointed Professor of Therapeutics at the Madras Medical College. Above all, he earned renown for his ‘lucky hand’ (kairaasi in Tamil). Indeed, he was the only Indian doctor of the day whom the grateful public believed had the healing touch of the hand.
  • Guruswami Mudaliar was born in 1880 in Nalamangala, then part of the Mysore Principality. His father was a prosperous building contractor and, like most men of the day with such wealth, he had two wives. Guruswami was the son of the second wife. For his elementary school education, young Guruswami had to walk several miles back and forth. His prosperous father felt that it would give his son a good constitution and also a sense of purpose in life. After completing his high school, he went to Bangalore and joined the famous Central College where he got his B.A. degree. One of his collegemates and a friend for life was Rajaji.
  • After taking his degree, Mudaliar moved to Madras, then the leading city in South India. He completed his MBBS degree there, securing a First Class and high rank. With cash-rich private hospitals not yet in vogue, and with the middle-class society day viewing government jobs as synonymous with life-long security – and a lure for eligible brides of     status – Mudaliar joined the Madras Presidency Medical Department and was posted to the Tanjore district headquarters Government Hospital where he worked for many years.
  • During the 1950s, influenza raged like an epidemic in Madras City. At the time the S.S. Vasan-owned Ananda Vikatan interviewed Dr. Mudaliar and he suggested in the interview a tablet called Elkosyn as enough to cure an influenza attack. The interview created a sensation and many bought the tablet by the hundreds! However, many city doctors were highly critical of Mudaliar for prescribing a branded tablet as treatment which they felt strongly was against medical ethics. Mudaliar replied that more than ethics the welfare of the patient was important.
  • Dr. Guruswami Mudaliar passed away in 1958 when he was 78. He lived in the Kilpauk area and the now popular over-bridge is named after him as the ‘Guruswami Mudaliar Bridge.’
  • President APICON, in the year 1946 at Bombay.

Dr. Jivraj N. Mehta

Remembering 23rd December – “National Physician’s Day”
  • Dr. Jivraj N Mehta (1887-1978) was a renowned physician, freedom fighter, administrator and the first Chief Minister of Gujarat.
  • He was born on 29 August, 1887, in Amreli, studied at the Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital in Bombay and lived in London from 1909 to 1915, where he completed his FRCS and MD. After suffering a personal setback in health, and practicing for the Tata’s and the Baroda State, he assumed the position of the first Dean of KEM Hospital in Bombay in 1925.
  • Dr. Jivraj Mehta was an avid participant in the freedom struggle, taking part in the Non-cooperation Movement and the Quit India Movement, for which he was jailed twice. He was the Dewan of Baroda (1948-49) and was the first Chief Minister of Gujarat (1960-63). As the first Chairperson of the IIMA Board of Governors, he played an important role in supporting IIMA in the initial years, facilitating the transfer of land to build IIMA’s campus. He also deputed Mr. G. C. Baveja (IAS), Deputy Secretary to the Government of Gujarat, to IIMA as Officer on Special Duty until 1963 when a full-time administrative officer was recruited by IIMA.
  • Doctor of Mahatma Gandhi – He was briefly the personal doctor to Mahatma Gandhi after returning to India and joined the independence movement.
  • He was twice incarcerated (1938 and 1942) by the British government for his role in Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement. After independence in 1947, he held various public offices. He served as the first “Dewan” (Prime Minister) of the erstwhile Baroda state in free India sworn-in on 4 September 1948, director general of health services and secretary to the ministry of health in the central government during the partition period, minister of public works, finance, industry and prohibition for the then Bombay state.
  • Dr. Jivraj Mehta resigned from IIMA to take up the position of the High Commissioner for India in the UK (1963-66). His wife, Hansa Mehta (1897-1995) was a freedom fighter and Vice-Chancellor of SNDT University (1946-48) and Maharaja Sayajirao University (1949-58). Dr. Jivraj Mehta passed away on 7 November, 1978.
  • President APICON, in the year 1944, at Madras.

Dr. Col. Amir Chand

Remembering 23rd December – “National Physician’s Day”
  • Major General Amir Chand (1889–1970) was a physician and teacher of medicine in India. In 1936, while India was still under British rule, Dr. Amir Chand became the first Indian to occupy the Chair of Medicine at King Edward Medical College, Lahore. Post Indian independence, Dr. Amir Chand was prominent in laying the foundation of modern medicine in India. He was President of the Association of Physicians of India in 1947. In 1948, he was elected President of the Indian Medical Association. Maj Gen Amir Chand was also the founder of the Indian Society of Gastroenterology. In 1960, he was elected as the professional organization’s first president.
  • Before he died, Amir Chand donated his savings to the Indian Council of Medical Research, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Armed Forces Medical Services. He used to say that all he had earned came from patients and, therefore, once his own needs and those of his dependents had been taken care of, the rest must be returned to the needy ailing humanity and the cause of medical education.
  • President APICON, in the year 1948, at New Delhi.

Dr. Mangaldas J. Shah

  • President APICON, in the year 1957, at Agra.

Dr. M.D.D. Gilder

Remembering 23rd December – “National Physician’s Day”
  • Dr. M.D. Gilder was born at Bombay on the 5th of November 1882. His father Mr. D. D. Gilder, was a doughty champion in the cause of temperance. For half a century, he worked as the Secretary of the Temperance Association. The mantle of the father devolved itself on the shoulders of his illustrious son.
  • He received his early education at the New High school. The brilliancy of his talent was reveled in his academic career. He obtained a first class in all the Examinations. He graduated in 1901 and in 1905 took the L.M.S Degree.
  • For six years he stayed in London and secured M.D.(Bruse), L.R.C.P (London), L.R.C.S (Ed.) and F.R.I.P.H (London).
  • After his return he set up his practice in Bombay as a physician he earned his niche in the temple of fame. He became the President of the Bombay Medical Union and the Indian Temperance Association. He is the honorary Physician of the K.E.M Hospital.
  • For over 30 years he has been a member of the Bombay Municipal Corporation, The Bombay University Senate and the Director of the Bombay Mutual Life Association Society. He was also the first Non-Official President of the Bandra Municipality.
  • President APICON, in the year 1946, at Bombay.

Dr. George Coelho

Remembering 23rd December – “National Physician’s Day”
  • A renowned clinician, was superintendent Bai Jerbai Wadia hospital, the first children’s hospital in India.
  • From 1955 to 1971 was the editor of JAPI.
  • President APICON, 1953, Pune.

Dr. J.C. Banerjee

Remembering 23rd December – “National Physician’s Day”
  • The stalwart physician, cardiologist from Kolkata, served as President, MCESA, was an inspiration for thousands of medical students and medicos throughout his career.
  • He was the first honorary editor of Indian Heart Journal. He was part of Expert Committee on Rehabilitation of Patients with Cardiovascular Disease, Geneva.
  • Published research reports in WHO, Indian Heart Journal, JIMA.
  • A renowned clinician, teacher, organizer founder member of API, President APICON 1956, Kolkata.

Dr. M.N. De

Remembering 23rd December – “National Physician’s Day”
  • Professor M.N. De was an illustrious alumnus of Medical College, Bengal. Born in 1894, in a poor family, lost his father at an early age and encountered innumerable hardships enrooted to sublime academic height and excellence.
  • During his undergraduate training at Medical college Bengal, he showed his academic excellence, achieved university Honors and Gold medals.
  • He creditably obtained his Membership from Royal College of Physician in 1926.
  • He joined Medical College as professor Director of Clinical Medicine.
  • Published a number of papers in many national and international journals. He was internationally acclaimed for his work on “Bengal Splenomegaly” and ‘Epidemic Dropsy.”
  • He was among the founder members of API.

Dr. N.D. Patel

  • One of the very important Founder members, he played a crucial role in forming API.

API History

Membership: The Association which started with merely nine members, now has over 19,500 members.

Annual Conference: Initially, the only activity was an Annual Conference. The conference provided opportunity for members from all parts of country to meet, make and share scientific data and academic experiences. Other specialties like Diabetologists, Neurologists, Cardiologists have joined hands with API.

Journal of Association of Physicians India:

In 1953, the governing body sanctioned publication of a Journal when it was convinced that enough material would be forthcoming from the members for the regular publication of a Journal. The official scientific publication of the Association, JAPI was started under the dynamic Editorship of another leader from Lucknow’s KGMC, Dr. S.S. Misra was the First Editor and Dr. G. Coelho was the Editor since 1955, The Journal was published as a quarterly, then as bimonthly and soon after as monthly. Other Editors being Drs. N.J. Mody, K.G. Nair, G.S. Sainani, V.R. Joshi, P.J. Mehta, S.K. Bichile, Shashank R. Joshi and Siddharth N. Shah. After an initial period of teething difficulties, it has made steady progress and improved in quantity and quality.

Activities of API

  • CME
  • Oration and Lectureship
  • API Textbook of Medicine

Indian College of Physicians:

  • The popularity of CME Programs gave birth to the idea of forming the Indian College of Physicians – an academic wing of API in 1986 during the presidency of Dr. M. Paul Anand.
  • After several discussions, the governing body was formed in 1987 to frame the constitution of the college. The first dean was Dr. Shymal Kumar Sen.

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