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The only Hindu Unani doctor in Maharashtra learnt Urdu to crack BUMS exams

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:02:26 PM, Aleem Faizee

Dr. Arun Patil - The only Hindu Unani doctor in Mahasarshtra

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Akkalkuwa (Nandurbar, Maharashtra): On our maiden visit to Akkalkuwa, the town near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border that has a chain of education institutions founded by Maulana Ghulam Vastanvi we were roaming the streets when a signboard having a Hindu doctor’s name with a BUMS degree stuck our foot. A Hindu and BUMS? It was almost impossible. For, the medium of instruction in BUMS - a recognized medical degree course to practice Unani medicines is Urdu and having a Hindu with a reading and writing skills of the language is no less than a miracle nowadays. We stepped inside the dispensary only to be greeted by a young doctor surrounded by a dozen patients. We had to wait for half an hour more before we were disclosed the interesting accounts of how a Hindu boy became the only Unani doctor in Maharashtra.


Dr. Ramchandra was the only medical practitioner in Akkalkuwa. Though he had not graduated from any medical college, the Resident Medical Practitioner (RMP) status he had earned after working for over fifteen years under a doctor at Lalitpur near Jhansi was enough to pull the patients to his modest clinic. After his younger son Arun Patil finished BEMS - a certificate course in electropathy treatment, more than forty years of medical practice by Dr. Ramchandra had set the stage for him to continue medical practice without struggling. Arun Patil now a BEMS doctor joined his father Dr. Ramchandra, a RMP.


The things were right in place, however, Dr. Ramchandra’s elder son Nanasaheb Patil urged his younger brother to give a recognized medical course a try. Coincidentally, when the trio was deliberating on the matter Maulana Vastanvi decided to introduce BUMS – a medical degree course to practice Unani medicines in Akkalkuwa. They immediately decided to go for the course but when they approached the college authorities for admission, they were told that passing Urdu as a subject in SSC exam is compulsory for everyone seeking the admission.


“Though I had cleared my HSC exams with Science stream scoring good marks, never in my life had I touched Urdu as a subject”, Arun Patil recalls. It was a real hurdle for them but the trio remained committal and tried to find ways to come out of this problem.


Finally they approached Bhika Chandu Khatik, a respected figure known in Akkalkuwa for his skills in the Urdu language. Khatik was also regarded as an Urdu poet used to arranging Mushaira in the town. The meeting with Khatik was a blessing in disguise for the trio. He readily agreed to teach the Urdu language to Arun Patil. Meanwhile the college administration learning that a Hindu boy was willing to take admission for the BUMS course showed leniency and gave him conditional admission.


After six months of vigorous practice Arun Patil though leniently succeeded in reading, writing and understanding the language. Few more sessions, and he was ready to write the Urdu language SSC paper. “To everyone’s surprise I easily cleared the exam scoring over 60% marks”, Arun Patil recalls. The main hurdle to his BUMS degree was now removed. But few more were in line as he proceeded to the ensuing years.


“Like Sanskrit in BAMS – the equivalent degree in Ayurvedic medicines, Arabic was a compulsory subject in BUMS. Though I had acquired enough proficiency in Urdu, Arabic was still a mystery for me”, he says. He needed three attempts to clear the subject.


Now he was a star student in the college. Right from Maulana Vastanvi – the founder-chairman of the college to the peon, everyone would take special care of him. Finally he appeared in the final exams totally unaware that the destiny would be simultaneously testing him for one more exam. His father after a brief illness died just when he was to appear for the surgery paper. After facilitating his funeral when Arun appeared for the exam everyone was taken by surprise.


“It is not without tremendous courage that one handles such situations”, Dr. Yusufi, the principal of the college said while proudly patting his back. He managed to emerge triumphant in the nerve test. Few months later when the results were announced he emerged triumphant even in the other. Dr. Arun Ramchandra Patil now had the tag of being the only Unani medical practitioner in Maharashtra. There are five BUMS colleges in the state and an estimated 300 Unani doctors graduate from these institutions every year. However the honour Dr. Arun Patil earned in 2006 has never been shared by anyone till now.





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