Saturday, December 31, 2011

PART III: Why I left a cushy job at one of world’s largest Pharma MNCs to promote NATUROPATHY – Tale of 4 brothers

This is 3rd in the series of 4 articles.
This is perhaps most transforming of the 4 stories. It is also the oldest. More than 3 decades back in late 70’s. A doctor completed his education and returned to his village in Kutch as a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Like most Ayurvedic doctors of his times, he started out as a general practitioner. He treated patients from nearby villages using the best knowledge he had. Pain killers, steroids, and other drugs were key tools in his tool box.
Since patients got quick relief and there were no other doctors in the nearby villages, his practice picked up very well. Soon he had good patient flow and was making good money.
One day while he was having lunch, a friend of his jokingly tapped him on his head and he bit his tongue. The cut was deep and severe and it started bleeding profusely. He was taken to a hospital where doctor put stitched on his tongue. Unfortunately the tongue being soft tissue, the stitches didn’t stay. Doctors tried it again with same results. The condition worsened each time and he was given blood transfusion.
As days passed by he became weaker and his condition worsened. Only hope was to meet a bigger doctor in a bigger city, Mumbai. As the family made preparations, he was taken to Bhuj, which had the airport. They got down at another Doctor’s place in Bhuj. This doctor was educated in US and left his flourishing practice there to come back and serve in small town where he felt there was more need for his services. Those were heady days and people were led more by their heart than head. He read a book by Gandhi and that inspired him to come back to his people and serve them. He was equally influenced by Gandhiji’s experiments in Health and medicine. He shunned his western learning and adopted Naturopathy as his key line of treatment.
Many relatives came to meet the patient and some thought it would be their last meeting. The US educated doctor made a suggestion to the patient’s family. Why don’t we try some simple naturopathy treatments before moving the patient to Mumbai. The family agreed and the treatment started. He treated patient by regularly putting drops of cold lemon water on a piece of cotton cloth placed over the cut. The bleeding stopped within a day and the tongue slowly healed. In couple of months, patient was fine and became doctor again. Of course a very different Doctor this time. He chose Naturopathy as his main tool.
He became an intern again under the doctor who healed him. May be at a salary 1/10th of what he was earning before the incident. He learned at the feet of his guru and went on to become what I call a Rockstar of Naturopathy. He earned fame, ran a very successful practice, went to several countries to help people learn and adopt Naturopathy, went on to set up a beautiful Nature Cure Center and earned what you can call a fan following. People know him as Dr Jay Sanghvi.
About 25 years after the incident, I met him while he was still building his new Nature Cure Center and I was fresh out of IIMA. I was amazed to see how he treated patients for chronic medical conditions using simple Naturopathy treatments. The set up was simple, tools were simple, and environment was very non-clinical. It was a hospital most unlike a hospital. The meeting changed the course of my life. I was fascinated by the idea of setting up several of such hospitals, making it accessible to common people, spreading the beauty of simplicity.
Few years later, I quit my reasonably comfortable job at GSK and set out to make this dream a reality. It gave birth to what is today called Swas Healthcare. I was extremely lucky to have my inspiration as my co-founder. I only wish I could partner more of such doctors who have the understanding, conviction, and most importantly the humility to accept that it is not the doctor but the nature that heals. Be the guide, be the lamp.

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