IMA Kanpur Branch & The Temple of Service

This article was written by Late Dr. Jawahar Lal Rohatagi in the souvenir which was published at the time of Diamond Jubilee of the branch. Dr. Jawahar Lal Rohatagi was only living founder member at that time and has depicted the true story of formation of Cawnpore Medical Association. This is the only authentic document about the events that had occurred at that time.

It is indeed a thrilling experience to recall the events of past 60 years synchronizing with the birth and growth of the I.M.A., Kanpur Branch, which has gained a unique position among its counterparts in the rest of the country.

After qualifying from Agra Medical School. I served for short terms as Medical Officer of Agra Jail and District Hospital, Etah. My elder brother, Late Dr. Murari Lal Rohatgi was then working as Health Officer of Kanpur and also running a private clinic in Moulganj. Being overworked, he wanted me to assist him in his profession so partly on account of this and partly due to my own inclination accentuated by the attitude of the departmental bosses at that time, I resigned from the Government job in 1910 and came down to Kanpur at the call of my elder brother. Since then, Kanpur became my permanent home.

Kanpur’s population at that time was hardly 2 lacs and besides the Vaidyas and Hakims, the medical practitioners of the town had close personal intimacy among them, and even while engaged in our profession, we had time not only for developing social contacts but for cultivating social aptitude and rendering social service in our own humble way and that gained for us a prestigious position among the classes and masses, in whose personal contact we freely came.

The Offspring

The few men of our profession used to meet almost daily at some place to discuss civil and social matters of significance, developments in medical science & means of prevention of epidemics and common diseases. Very soon we had formed into a Doctor’s Club at my bungalow which was then located within the compound of G.N.K. College. After a few meetings, we decided to form into a Medical Association and run it on proper lines making it fully representative of the doctors of the town.

Dr. Major W. Young, the then Civil Surgeon of Kanpur, was the unanimous choice for the Presidentship of the newly formed “Cawnpore Medical Association”.

It was the memorable year 1912. The first official general meeting of newly formed Association was held on 28th May, 1912 at 7.30 P.M. at the place of Dr. S.N. Sen., Dr. Major W. Young being out of station, Dr. H.C. Bhattacharya was voted to chair, 20 members attending. At this meeting Rules and Regulations were adopted and the following were elected unanimously:

President : Dr. (Major) W. Young
Vice-President: Dr. H.C. Bhattacharya, Dr. M.N. Ganguli
Secretary : Dr. N.N. Dey
Jt. Secretary: Dr. Jawahar Lal Rohatgi
Treasurer : Dr. S.N. Sen
Members of the: Dr. Abdus Samad
Executive: Dr. Shaim Lal, Dr. S.N.Tiwari

The Office of the Association was to remain as before at my bungalow in Civil Lines.

Noble Resolves

The following Aims and Object of the Association were also adopted at the very first general meeting.

  1. To consolidate the unity and brotherhood among the members of medical profession.
  2. To maintain the dignity of profession.
  3. To improve the method of treatment by interchange of experiences.
  4. To keep abreast with modern scientific knowledge by means of debates, discussions respective Medical Journals and Periodicals and also by Exhibitions of rare cases.
  5. To educate in the matters of sanitary reforms. These noble aims have continuously provide impetus for the Association and its members to grow up with high traditions.

Growing Up

Month after month, the Executive Committee was working in concert for the furtherance of Association’s Aims and Objects. The membership subscription was fixed at Re. 1/- A list of Magazines and Journals to be subscribed from the Association funds was drawn out. Some magazines and Medical books came as gift from the members. Office furniture was presented by members. Clinical meetings were started and the same aroused keen interest among the members. Gradually, the need for having a regular rented office of the Association was being seriously felt. Starting with a rented room. the office and library shifted to the then Prince of Wales Hospital (now U.H.M. Hospital). This arrangement, too, could not work for long and then again we shifted to private residences of members. In the frequent movements of office, a good number of books were either destroyed or lost. The need for having a permanent place of its own was now considered of prime importance. This was essentially linked with the existence and the growth of the Association.

The Building

It was in 1928, that the Association succeeded in acquiring the plot of land, (Initially on a yearly rental of Rs. 120/-) near Ram Lila ground, Parade. The initial assistance rendered by Mr Munroe. the then District Magistrate and R.B. Vikramajit Singh in this respect and the magnificence of L. Kamlapat Singhania, Mr. West, Sir Thomas Smith, Mr. Horseman, Swadesho Cotton Miils, Muir Mills, Shri Kochar and the concerted efforts of Dr. S.N. Sen, Dr. Abdus Samad, Dr. R.S. Gupta, Dr. S.N.Tiwari, Dr. A.C. Dutta, Dr. H.C. Bhattacharya, Dr. L.N. Mehrotra, Dr. R.P. Kapoor and Mr. M.S. De-Noronha and Dr. M.X. De Noronha were responsible for the creation of the main building. Later on Buckley Room and Bhattacharya Room were added with the personal donations, received from their respective families.

Cawnpore Electric Supply Co. (B.I.C. Group) did the entire electric fittings free of cost. The present building named. Temple of Service was formally inaugurated on 16-11-31 by Mr. R. F. Mudie, I.C.S., the then Distt. Magistrate of Kanpur.

Growing into a “Temple of Service”

The Municipal Board, Kanpur granted a non-recurring grant-in-aid of Rs. 3,000/- The Boundary Wall in 1945, the servant quarters in 1947 and the Bath Room and Servant quarters in 1954 were added further to meet the absolute need. Telephone was installed in 1958. Extension of Hall was completed in 1961 and shops were constructed on the southern end in 1969 which have greatly stabilised the finances of the Association. The Main Hall now presents a thoroughly renovated look with new furnishings and electric fittings etc.

The I.M.A. and its building are living monuments to the zealousness of its younger members and office bearers, especially during the post-independence period, of course, the initial contributions made by the sponsors and enthusi