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Pioneers in Homeopathy in India


Homeopathic Journal :: Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Nov-Dec 2007 (General Theme)   -   from Homeorizon.com
Author : Dr. Shalini Srivastava, D.H.M.S, Amrawati, India
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Article Updated: Oct 18, 2009


Dr.Rajendra Lal Dutt,

If Dr.Mahendra Lal Sircar may be called the fosterer of Indian Homeopathy, Babu Rajendra Lal Dutt may be called the Father of Indian Homeopathy. It was he who converted Dr.Sircar to be a homeopath. It was Dr.Rajendra Lal Dutt who brought homeopathy into esteem of the elites of Bengal by curing illustrious luminaries like Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Raja Sir Radhakanta Dev and score of others.

          He was born in the famous Dutt family of Wellingtons Square, Calcutta and amassed immense fortune by dint of his personal talent in honest business and trade and spent the whole of it in various philanthropic works and mostly for mostly homeopathy. He expired at the age of 71yrs on June 5,1889, leaving homeopathy on a firm, sound and wide footing.

Dr. Mahendra Lal Sircar,

In the early years of eighteenth century a galaxy of personalities were born in Bengal. Dr. Mahendra Lal Sircar was one of them. His life and work for the society, especially in the field of science and homeopathy will surely inspire the scientists, physicians as well as students of India even today.

Birth and childhood : On 2nd Nov,1833 Dr.Mahendra Lal Sarcar was born in Paikpara village of Howrah district. He was the first son of Sri. Taraknath Sircar and Smt. Aghormoni Dev. He got admitted in Hare School in 1841, and passed the Entrance with a bright result and then got admitted into Hindu College with Junior Scholarship. 

Meritorious academic life: He had sound knowledge in mathematics, literature and philosophy. After leaving Hindu College he entered Medical College in 1860 and passed the L.M.S with scholarship and medals. The eminent professors of that time loved him very much for his excellent merit and behaviour. In the year 1863 he passed M.D from Calcutta University standing first. He was the 2nd M.D. from Calcutta University. He was elected secretary of the Bengal Unit of British Medical Association. From 1866 he had been the chairman of that association. In this period he started his practice and gradually became established in this field.

Conversion to Homeopathy : Initially Dr. Sircar was against homeopathy. But at the request and also seeing some brilliant cures of Babu Rajendralal Dutta he became interested in this system and ultimately became a devoted propagator and practitioner of homeopathic system of medicine through extensive study, practice and experience. He was bitterly criticised by his allopathic colleagues but he stuck to homeopathy against all odds. In 1868 he published 'The Calcutta Journal of Medicine' to spread the glory of homeopathic treatment to the people. He became a great luminary in homeopathic profession of his time, his name and fame having spread all over the country.

Other assignments : He became the fellow of Calcutta University( at first in law, then in engineering faculty), honorary magistrate of Calcutta, CIE of Govt of India in 1863, member of Legislative Council(1887-93), sheriff of Calcutta(1887), member of syndicate of Calcutta University(for a short period acting as Vice-Chancellor), member of Asiatic Society, D.L from Calcutta University in 1868, and life member of British Science Association, French Astronomic Society, etc.

Contribution to science and to the society : Service to humanity and great love for motherland were noticed in his character from childhood. He advised the government to amend the marriage act and made it a rule that girls should be married when at least 16yrs old. In 1888 he became the President of 'Bangia Pradesh sammelan' and he registered his strong protest against the atrocities on the tea workers of tea garden. He also founded 'The Raj Kumari Lepra Asylum' at Baidyanath for leprosy patients.

          He had written a lot of homeopathic literature, like Treatment of Cholera, Sketch of the treatment of Cholera, Therapeutic hints of Cholera, 'Olaotha chikitsa' in Bengali, Therapeutics of Plague, Hahnemann- the father of scientific medicine, etc. The first omeopathic drug Acalypha indica which was proved by Dr. Tonnery, was reproved by Dr. M.L.Sircar. He also proved Achrynthus aspera (apang).

          His historic step in the field I the field of science was the foundation of Indian Association for the cultivation of Science by the natives. The world famous scientists like Prof. C.V.Raman, Sri J.C.Bose, Satyendranath Bosa, Acharya P.C.Roy, Dr.Meghanand Saha, Albert Einstein were attached to this institution.

          His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor General of India in his capacity as the Chancellor of Calcutta University appointed Dr. Sircar a fellow of Calcutta University on 3rd Dec,1870. Dr.Sircar was placed on the Faculty of Arts. Eight years later, in 1878, by a resolution of Senate at its annual meeting he was transferred to the Faculty of Medicine. The members of the faculty protested against the nomination objecting to come in contact with one who professed and practised the absurd and obnoxious system of homeopathy. The members of the Medical faculty passed a resolution on the 27th April, 1878 to remove the name of Sircar from their Faculty.

          This resolution drew forth a letter from Dr. Sircar's powerful pen in which he vehemently protested and submitter his observations to the Hon'ble Vice-Chancellor ofniversity and requested him to place his letter before the next meeting of the Senate for a full-hour debate, discussion and decision on the question at issue.

         The Senate met on the 13th July,1878. Dr.Patridge and Dr. Anderson seconded to remove the name of Dr. M.L.Sircar from the Faculty of Medicine and then to transfer him to some other Faculty. The Hon'ble Justice Sri Ramesh Chandra Mitter moved an amendment to the priginal motion of Dr. Patridge to the effect that the Medical Faculty be asked to reconsider their decision. The amendment was seconded by Hon'ble chief Justice. Dr.Patridge then withdrew his motion.

          The senate then forwarded a copy of their resolution to the Syndicate which in turn sent it to the Medical Faculty for their information.

          The Medical Faculty met on 23rd July, 1878 and passed resolution to effect that they "are unable to modify their resolution and to associate themselves with a Faculty of Medicine member who professes and practices homeopathy."

          This compelled Dr.Sircar to send a rejoinder in which the cardinal doctrines of homeopathy were enunciated with such logical precision and supported by aid of such authoritative opinions that it was indeed the only scientific system of medicine as yet discovered.

          In the ordinary course the matter came up before the Senate in their meeting on 31st August, 1878, where Dr.Patridge moved and Dr.Cayley seconded to rescind the resolution passed at their last annual meeting nominating Dr.Sircar to be a member of Faculty of Medicine. Raja Rajendralal Mitter whereupon moved an amendment that after consideration of the letter submitted by Dr.M.L.Sircar to the Registrar, Calcutta University and of the proceedings of the Faculty of Medicine the senate "resolve that Dr. Mahendra Lal Sircar's letter and the proceedings of the Medical Faculty be recorded."

          Dr.K.M.Bannerjee seconded the amendment which was put to vote and carried.

          The curtain did not drop here. All members of the Medical Faculty cut sorry figures and got frustrated and disappointed at the failure of their long cherished object of removing Dr.Sircar from their faculty. They began to hatch plots secretly against Dr.Sircar. This fact was brought to Dr.Sircar's notice and he in utter disgust tendered his resignation as a member of Faculty of Medicine.

HIGH HONOURS

1.      Dr.Sircar was appointed as Honorary Presidency Magistrate im 1887 and he discharged the responsible duties of his post with his characteristic zeal for 25yrs till June, 1922, when he tendered his resignation owing to his failing health. The title of C.I.E. was bestowed upon him in 1883.

2.      The government was pleased to appoint him as a Member of the Bengal Legislative Council on the 26th January, 1887 and he was nominated for all four terms. But he was compelled to retire after his last election in 1893. He was appointed Sheriff of Calcutta in December, 1887. He was the president of the Faculty of Arts for 4yrs(1893-97).

3.      He was for ten years member of the Syndicate and generally in the absence of Vice-Chancellor used to preside at its meetings as senior fellow. For several years he was a member of the Council of Asiatic Society of Bengal.

4.      He was the only medical man who was honoured with the honorary D.L. degree of the Calcutta University in 1898.

5.      For many years he was a trustee of the Indian Museum as a representative of the Asiatic Society, a life member of British Association for cultivation of Science, corresponding member of the American Institute of Homeopathy and of British Homeopathic Society and also a Life member of the Astronomical Society of France.

   Death

            On 23rd February of 1904, "The Ocean of knowledge" Dr.Mahendra Lal Sircar left this physical world forever at the age of 71. He had written something just before his death which means "Oh my well wishers, good-bye, never accuse the Almighty God. That will occur what He wants".

          Dr.Sircar was an inspiring seer, and the legacy left by him to his country is a goal to a perfect and dutiful life.

          It may be very aptly and truly said of Dr.Sircar-

"His life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up And say to the entire world----This was a man."

References:

  1. Pioneers of Homeopathy by Dr.Mahendra Singh.
  2. Spirit of Organon by Dr.T.C.Mondal.

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