Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ek doctor ki maut.......

People say when grad students talk you can summarize the whole conversion as a collage of complains! Well sometimes i do similar things but i didn't want my blog become a complain book, coz I am sure after a year or two they will sound extremely silly. So i will scribble something different than what I was doing. Reading a person like a book is something I do regularly, and I feel it’s harmless as long as I am not disturbing anyone. Before I deviate more I should say that I am feeling like writing about some one.
Recently, Anandabazar Patrika wrote an article in editorial page, it was on a marriage! I was surprised that a news paper like that is covering marriages!!! and later cursed myself for my ignorance, I came to know that it was the marriage of Kanupriya Agarwal,“durga”, the first test tube baby of India. Her birth was a scientific experiment with a huge scientific importance and the persons who carried it out was Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay and his group. His group consisted of doctors with a potential, but I will write only about Dr. Mukhopadhyay, who passed away just 25 years back. He was a pioneer researcher with great achievements committed suicide on 19th June, 1981. Who is a test tube baby? In short a baby who was born through a technique called in vitro fertilization in medical terms. In this technique eggs are fertilized outside woman’s body, at the beginning it was really a tricky experiment . The first “test tube baby” was Marie Louise Brown. Dr. Patrick Steptoe and Dr. Edwards’s successful experiment gave birth to Marie on 25th July, 1978, but was that really first? Scientific world is a cruel place, Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay and his group brought the first test tube baby to the world on 3rd October in the same year, just 67 days later! Those who have worked in Kolkata knows why it was an achievement, the follow up incidents proved this more evidently. Both scientists faced stern criticism, for Dr. Mukhopadhyay it was not the world, because this news never reached the world. Outside India it was Dr. Indira Hinduja who was the first Indian to perform IVF in 1986, which have birth to Harsha in Bombay. This was a documented fact till the beginning of the 21st Century. Why he was not given the credit? I don’t know how many people really know why this happened or what really happened? Unlike Dr. Subhas Mukhpadhyay, in spite of criticism the British scientists could carry out more successful experiment and published their work. West Bengal government took few very surprising steps and banned his research. He was due to attend a seminar in Kyoto University in 1979 which also he was not allowed. The only published document of this work was a report, submitted by Dr. Subhas Mukhpadhyay to the government of West Bengal, as he was instructed to do so. This document carried very little data as it was not a scientific report. He wanted to carry out further experiments to establish the technique but the government prohibited him from doing any kind of research in that field. They were not satisfied with this, they transferred him to an eye hospital that did not have any facility to carry out such research. This was a huge loss since the technique Dr. Mukhopadhyay used was different from the one from the British group. This must have been a testing time for his family and him, the medical research community in Bengal was also not very friendly to him that time and these lead him to commit suicide in 1981. This would have been the end of the story, but it was not. His friends and colleague such as Dr. T. Anand Kumar, fought for his right then on. This whole event reached the ear of masses through Dr. Tapan Sinha’s outstanding movie "Ek doctor ki maut" in 1991. This movie was based on Dr. Mukhopadhyay’s life and received applause from all corners of the country and the world. In the year 2003, British medical council celebrated the silver jubilee of this event in a grand fashion, and this fortunately during the same period Dr. Subhas Mukhpadhyay got due recognition. In October Indian Council for Medical Research and National Academy of Medical Sciences accepted Mukherjee as the ‘first’. In the Indian Academy of Science premises in Bangalore they felicitated his group members along with Kanupriya. It was recognition which took a long time to come. This was really a sad incident for Indian science since this was a discovery with immense scientific importance, till now a million people have born through IVF technique!

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