A young boy from a remote town of Dondiacha, enters a prestigious medical college, in his simple attire, thin, short, wearing a topi, sadra and pyajama, to join, the college as 1st year medical college. Many of his classmates, look past him, some ridicule him, some already have coined a pet name “mama”.
But, this is a boy of extraordinary intellect, resilience and sincerity. He very soon is revered by all his classmates, goes on to become the only student in the history of pune university and BJ medical college to have secured gold medal in every subject of every phase of MBBS, and MS general surgery.
This record still remains unbeaten.
That young man was DR RAVINDRANATH TONGAONKAR.
Refusing an opportunity to study FRCS, in the UK, he decided to start medical practice, in his home town Dondiacha. Renting a tiny mission hospital, he started his 3 bedded hospital, when the fourth patient arrived, he gave the only cot in his house to the patient, and himself slept on the chatai.
Working selflessly, day in and day out, he not only successfully operated thousands of laprotomies, but kept himself update to the recent advances, learnt laparoscopy, endoscopy, sonography. A one man army indeed.
He showed the world that an ordinary mosquito net possessed the same tensile strength as that of the 2900 times more expensive hernia mesh. Cost to the mesh = 50 paise.
World hernia foundation mentions him in its hall-of-fame as one of the most important contributors to the hernia repair surgery.
He shall always be remembered as a true Gandhian. No pride about his achievements, no ego about having dedicated his life to rural surgery.
He was the president of the international federation of rural surgeons and Associagion of Rural surgeon of India.
An atheist, a karyakarta, and former president of dhuleANIS (ANDHASHARDA NIRMULAN SAMITI) he didn’t believe in God or destiny.
His belief was only this— LIFE is the is perishable, what remains is only your deeds.
Dr R. Tongaonkar, treated thousands of patients in dhule, Nandurbar and neighbouring states of gujrat and Madhya Pradesh.
His compassionate and soft demeanor made every patient feel understood and satisfied.
DR RAVINDRANATH TONGAONKAR(Nana, as he will be fondly rememberd by all), passedbaway today on 7th of September 2020 due to COVID19 and its complications.
This pandemic has caused suffering of millions of the human race; but we hoped it wouldn’t touch the kindest, the purest of us. But sadly it has.
Nana, didn’t believe in soul, or life after death.
He insisted that life is now until death.
He is and will always remain an inspiration to thousands of us who feel enriched by his presence in our lives as a mentor, a friend, a philosopher, a guide, a doctor ,an ideal.
Today an era has come to an end. The era of a resilient, rational, passionate man- Dr Ravindranath Tongaonkar.
My heartfelt condolences to Dr Asha ( tai) tongaonkar the entire TONGAONKAR family.