A Sindhi who became ‘Oldest Working General Practitioner in the World’

Obituary

  • Dr. Kauromal M. Chandiramani who studied in Hyderabad Sindh was honored by Guinness World Book of Records as ‘Oldest Working General Practitioner in the World’ on May 9, 1999 when he was 100 years old

  • He was man of letters, author of some books, philanthropist and God-fearing person; he passed away in 2009 in Mumbai

Dr. Kauromal M. Chandiramani, born on 9th May 1899, in Hyderabad, Sindh, practiced as a general practitioner in Bombay for 75 years and 198 days from 22 September 1923 to 9th May 1999, to the age of 100. He obtained his medical degree, L.C.P.S (the first medical qualification to be introduced during British rule in India) from Sindh in 1923. Despite retiring on 14 February 1957, he set up his own General Practice. Aged 100 when awarded the record, he claimed to have remained celibate following the death of his wife in 1944. He never drank alcohol, had caffeine or smoked and had always been a vegetarian.

The name of Dr. (Dada) Kauromal Menghraj Chandiramani had been included in the world famous Guinness World Book of Records and received the coveted document that certified him as the oldest working general practitioner in the world.

Born to a School Headmaster Shri Menghraj Tarachand Chandiramani in1899 in a Village “Sadhuja” Taluka Moro (Sahiti) District Naushehro Feroze (former District Nawabshah) Sindh, he grew up seeing misery and poor health all round him, something, that instilled in him a desire to become a doctor. In 1923, he passed the LCPS examination and was appointed as a Medical Officer in Bombay Presidency during British Raj. In those days medical profession was a coveted one, rubbing shoulders with the British. He won the admiration of his countrymen and the British alike. However, he was not happy with the way things were with his country and countrymen. The British treated him with respect but held his countrymen in contempt. It was then that Dr. Kauromal decided to treat the Gandhian path.

Pro-Gandhian in thought and philosophy, he started dressing up in white khadi, which soon became his trademark. He had come to be known as the all “white khadi clad doctor”. And “the Service of man is worship of God” as his motto.

After retirement from Government medical services in the year 1957, he took to private practice. For a long period of 75 years, he was continuously treating the sick, poor and needy patients. Khar residents always saw this frail elderly white haired Doctor making his way to his dispensary in the area. But while one would fail to guess the good Doctor’s age, he had been the Cynosure of all eyes.

Dr. Kauromal knew a few secrets of longevity. He was a strong believer in God, strictly vegetarian, didn’t smoke or drink. Add to that a daily regime of Jogging, Yoga, Pranayam and deep breathing exercises. He possessed extra-ordinary qualities of head and heart with a sound mind, a steady hand and healthy body. (For his calm and cool temperament, his college mates often addressed him as “Kauro, the Saint”). It is not the age that made him feel proud but it was the active and physically able body that made his life useful and worth living. In other words he was amazingly a fit centenarian.

There were other interests also that kept him busy, like writing. Member of Sahiti, Sindh, Dr. Chandiramani was also a prolific writer, whose several writings had been published in Sindhi weeklies and newspapers. His writings in Sindhi are thought-provoking and emphasized the virtues of human kind, which could make an invaluable collection, if they are compiled in a book-form. He had also translated two books “Steps towards nobler life” and “Chart your way to success” into Sindhi and published them under titles, “Shandar Zindagi” and “Saphalta – jo – Marg”. The translations had been widely acknowledged and acclaimed.

A firm believer in “Simple living and High thinking”, Dr. Kauromal placed deep faith in God. “Make God your Guru”, he always said. “Let him tell you what to do. It is when you entrust yourself to his care that you cannot go wrong. Known for his charitable and philanthropic nature he had contributed greatly to social uplift and educational and cultural activities.

One of the remarkable features of Dr. Kauromal’s family is that it comprises of a record number of practicing doctors. His son, Dr. Alim Chandiramani is a renowned surgeon attached to the Hinduja Hospital. His daughter-in-law, Dr. (Mrs.) Devi A. Chandiramani is a well-known Obstetrician and a Gynecologist practicing at her own nursing home “Devi Maternity and Surgical Hospital” at Linking Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai. Dr. Kauromal has four daughters, all well settled. He is also blessed with three grandsons and one granddaughter, who too are all famous specialist doctors practicing in Mumbai and UK.

His was truly a century of extra-ordinary life. A wonderful example of nobleness indeed and of true belief in power of healing of modern medicine! He had not only to strive for better health of fellow-beings but also inspired generations of his family to take up the noble profession to serve mankind. By his emphasis on Vegetarianism, healthy habits and purity of thought, he had set an ideal path for all of us. Our society needed great people like him to help us achieve greatness, we are all capable of. He was truly a Karamyogi Purush! On completion of his great inning with unbeaten century of his noble life, several organizations such as Sahiti Panchayat Bombay, Sita Sindhu Bhavan, The Citizens and Joggers Civic Forum, Sindhi Panchayat Goregaon had honored him.

Sindhi Panchayats’ federation also honored him with its prestigious Award of an “Eminent Elder”. Various other groups and clubs also felicitated him profusely.

For a man who was born in the 19th century and lived through the 20th century, Dr. Kauromal Chandiramani was Millennium’s oldest Doctor. Dr. Alim, who was instrumental in getting his father to apply for the Guinness recognition, once said about his father: “While he still had a firm hand and can give an injection, he wasn’t really enthused to apply for the Guinness record. Whenever I asked my father to give an interview or pose for a photograph or even while we were applying for the Guinness record, his first reaction was what is the need for it,” recalled his son.

So, what was the centenarian’s reaction on getting the world’s most authentic certificate? “When his son showed him the certificate, he read it and then read it again before exclaiming, ‘So there is no doctor in the world who has worked more than me’.”

“Dr. Kauromal Chandiramani was my best friend. When he was 100 years in 1999, I had organized a big function in his honor. He is no more, as he passed away on December 13, 2004. His son is Dr. Alim Chandiramani and daughter in law is Devi Chandiramani. They have four siblings all of them are doctors. His elder son Vinod is attached to Hinduja hospital Mumbai. Other three are in London. Dr. Alim is trustee of Sahiti Panchyat Mumbai. In my souvenir I had written article on Chandiramanis,” said Mr. Dwarko Khilnani, a senior banker from Mumbai when Sindh Courier contacted him.

___________________

Courtesy: Guinness Book of World Records; Sindhishan.com who had published article of P. D. Jethwaney, former President, Western Bombay Suburban Sindhi Panchayats and Associations Federation and Mr. Dwarko Khilnani.

1 thought on “A Sindhi who became ‘Oldest Working General Practitioner in the World’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *