Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Doctor's Death

The Man Who Sold his Rolls Royce

By Manuwant Choudhary

Dr.Bindeshwari Prasad Mishra - a pathologist - passed away at his Muzaffarpur residence last week. He was my maternal uncle but someone I always knew as a child as "The Man Who Sold His Rolls Royce' to buy two brand new ambassador cars!

Dr.B.P. Mishra as he was popularly known had humble origins...as a child in his Chapra village he didn't even have a proper house but then he studied hard and went on to become a doctor. And then his marriage to Sumitra - the daughter of well known Dr. Sheetal Prasad Sinha. An uncle of Dr. Mishra came to Darbhanga to fix the marriage but he said he could allow his nephew to marry Sumitra only if he got the dowry he wanted - an elephant!
Dr. Sheetal then explained that he didn't own an elephant and offered instead a modern elephant - a Rolls Royce!
Dr. Sheetal himself was the personal physician to the Maharaja of Darbhanga and the Maharaja had gifted their doctor some nine cars - the Rolls being one of them.
In the early 70's a Ranchi businessman told Dr. Mishra that he could offer Rs.30,000 for his Rolls with which he could buy two new ambassador cars for his family. Not quite knowing the real value of a Rolls Dr. Mishra sold the car!
Many years later I heard that the car is in Deogarh, Jharkhand, as the businessman gifted the car to his Guru Anukul Thakur. So some years ago I visited the Anukul Thakur Ashrams car musuem only to be told that photography is strictly prohibited. But an uncle who works in the ashram somehow convinced the swami on duty that the Guru's Rolls once belonged to my grandfather....so I was allowed to take photographs of the car for two minutes.
This story is amusing but for those who know Dr. Mishra personally he was a very practical man, a family man, a doctor educated abroad but who chose to serve poor and backward Bihar. He left his full practice in Darbhanga to his equally capable younger brother Dr. Baikunth Mishra and went off to Ranchi. Dr. Baikunth Mishra now runs a large R.B. Memorial Hospital in Darbhanga. At a time when the Darbhanga Medical College Hospital, once a premier medical college and hospital in the country, being in the pits...its the private R.B. Memorial which has saved lives.
Dr. Mishra was also the founder principal of Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur and after retirement he made Muzaffarpur his home. He also built a house in his village for his elder brother - a retired post master.
So when he passed away his family members rushed...even fourth grade employees from the medical college wept, "Doctor saheb never raised his voice even once."
He did not cheat but he did cheat death many times....being a heart patient himself he had a bypass in The US in the seventies from the famous Dr.Kelly.
On His last day after his six hours at his Modern Jaanch Ghar
he bought samosaas for his wife and they spent the evening together, had dinner, watched TV and then he told her, "How long do you want to keep me in this world? Let me go now..."
His heart failed him. He was almost 87.
And worth a lot more than a Rolls.


1 comment:

Rohit said...

I m also from the same city. I knew this wonderful person, he was a gem. The way he used to talk, the way he used to console his patients was fantastic. I visited his lab a few times for getting the "all fit" certificates, I used to look into the isolated glass room he used to sit, and side by side his son Dr. A.K. Mishra, one more polite and a great doc. Once he called me in and queried a few questions, like why I was seeing into the room, I said I was fascinated by it, he laughed and showed me some slides through his microscope, I cud not understand what exactly was it but it looked good. He laughed and asked if I wanted to be a doctor, I nodded for a NO. We chatted for a few minutes and then some staff came in then I had to leave. He was THE polite person. cool and calm. We will never forget him. and Yes, abt the Rolls, OH MY GOD !