Dr. Alim Kauromal Chandiramani is an illustrious son of Late Dr. Kauromal Menghraj who made history in medical field by creating Guinness World Record in 2004, when he was declared the only doctor in the world to have completed a record of over 75 years of medical practice at the age of 100 years.
By Dwarko Khilnani
The ancestors of Dr. Alim resided in a village known as Sadhuja in Sahiti Taluka – Moro, District Naushehro Feroze (Formerly Nawabshah) Sindh.
Dr. Alim, who had childhood dream to become a doctor, was born on 7th August 1931 at a town called Jheruck, District Thatta (Formerly Karachi) where his father Dr. Kauromal was a Medical Officer. Dr. Alim lost his educated, pious and saintly mother when he was 13 years only. This caused a temporary setback to his aspirations but his father took up the challenge to bring up his children. Dr. Alim was one of five siblings – one son and four daughters, and all educated. As a school going child Dr. Alim took a double promotion and was promoted from 2nd Standard English directly to 4th Standard English skipping the third Standard.
In 1944 Dr. Alim left home for Boarding High School at Kandiaro, another Sahiti town, to do 5th Standard under the watchful eyes of Principal R.N. Nathani to whom he is highly indebted for inculcating fine qualities of life like meditation and reading religious prayers in the temple attached to the hostel, at the tender age of 13 years.
In 1945, Dr. Kauromal was transferred from Moro to Tharushah and Dr. Alim left Kandiaro to join his father at Tharushah for his sixth Standard, i.e. pre-matric class under very experienced and reputed teachers, whom he adores for imparting the highest standard of Education. He names Vice Principal Master Mr. Hundraj and Principal Mr. Atmaram Tahiliani, both of whom sharpened his knowledge in English and set an ardent desire in his mind to pursue his goal in life.
In 1946, his father Dr. Kauromal was transferred from Tharushah to Karachi where Alim joined seventh standard i.e. matric Class at historic N. J. V. High School. He passed matriculate exam in 1st class in 1947 from University of Bombay.
In 1947 he joined 1st year Science at D.J. Sindh College in Karachi and hardly two months later independence and partition brought a painful turmoil of migration from sweet motherland Sindhri and the family came to India first landing at Baroda in a Refugee Camp. His father Dr. Kauromal joined later as he was Medical Officer in Government Service at Karachi.
Dr. Alim who had the zeal and enthusiasm for higher education pushed himself in spite of all the odds and completed 2nd term of 1st year Science at Anand, a small village, where a new college was initiated by Principal Butani, retired Principal of D.J. Sindh College.
By now, in 2nd week of January 1948, Dr. Kauromal also migrated to India after an incarceration, looting, arson and murders that took place in Karachi on 6th January, 1948. He was heavily bruised and injured during the mob riot in Karachi.
In 1948, not being very happy with standard of teaching at Anand’s New College, Dr. Alim proceeded to Pune ( Poona) an Educational and Cultural Centre of India to pursue Inter Science in Biology and succeeded to join Government Grant Medical College in Bombay in the year 1949.
Now Dr. Alim was on path of realization of his dream to become a doctor, which was his childhood aspiration. Dr. Alim remembered the wordings “Service of man is the worship of God” inscribed on the letterhead of his father, when he was a child. Those words had an impact on his mind from childhood.
As a medical student Dr. Alim scored the highest number of marks in the subject of Physiology at 1st M.B.B.S. exam in the University of Bombay and the news appeared in the evening paper “An Outstanding Refugee Medical Student Shines”. Dr. Alim scored the highest number of marks in the subject of Medicine in final M.B.B.S. exam in the year 1954 and he qualified with M.B.B.S. degree from University of Bombay.
At that time in 1954 when Dr. Alim graduated M.B.B.S., his father Dr. Kauromal was Medical Officer at WAI District Satara. While Dr. Alim was proposing to register for post graduate education in Medicine (M.D.) his father opined that he should register for post-graduation degree in Surgery (M.S. – Masters in General Surgery) which he completed in 1959.
It is interesting to note that the year 1959 was the most significant, fruitful, momentous and auspicious year in the life of Dr. Alim who achieved 1) Degree of M.S. in General Surgery; 2) Married to Dr. Devi; 3) Received a gift of house from his father in Navjivan CHS at Mahim; 4) Started a New Hospital ‘Devi Maternity & Surgical’ with his wife Dr. Devi who is a Gynecologist.
Incidentally, 9th May, wedding date of Dr. Alim and Dr. Devi coincides with the birthday of Dr. Kauromal (9th May 1899). Dr. Kauromal passed away on 13th December 2004 when he was 105 years 7 months and 4 days.
After having passed M.S. in 1959 Dr. Alim had a stint of 2 years’ service as a Senior Surgical Registrar at Bombay Hospital where he worked under stalwarts Surgeons like Late Dr. Baliga, Late Dr. H.K. Doctor, Late R.N. Cooper, and Late Dr. G.M. Phadke.
In 1961 Dr. Alim made a start of his surgical career by joining as Hon. Surgeon at National Hospital Mahim, which changed to Hinduja Hospital in 1986. He later joined his wife Dr. Devi who had started a Maternity & Surgical Hospital in 1959 at Linking Road, Bandra, where both husband and wife continued their practice.
Dr. Alim carried out a number of operations on poor patients at the National Hospital from 1961 – 1986 (25 years), where his consultations were free and 80% of surgical operations performed were also free.
Dr. Alim continued to be attached to Hinduja Hospital for 37 years from 1961 to 1998. He was also appointed Specialist in Surgery for diabetic patients at S.L. Raheja Hospital for about 20 years from 1980-2000.
Dr. Alim was elected to be the fellow of the International college of Surgeons in 1975 and continued for decades as a fellow. During professional and academic career encompassing 50 years as a Senior Surgeon from 1959 – 2009 Dr. Alim attended many national and international conferences all over the world. He also joined a fellowship course at New Castle upon Tyne University in UK in 1975 and at Joslin Clinic for Diabetes at Boston (USA) in 1983.
Apart from being a successful Surgeon Dr. Alim continues to be good tennis player. He had won the championships in Tennis during college carrier and the Tennis Club in Khar Gymkhana. He had passion for tennis.
Dr. Alim’s family comprises of his wife Dr. Devi, Sr. Gynecologist Obstetrician, their four children – three sons and a daughter. His eldest son Dr. Vinod is the Laparoscopic Surgeon and Head of General Surgery at Hinduja Hospital. Dr. Vinod trained himself in UK for seven years (1987-94) and specialized in Keyhole Surgery, G.I. Surgery and Breast Surgery. Their daughter Dr. Manju is a Gynecologist at Manchester UK. She qualified M.D. from Bombay and M.R.C.O.G. from London. Dr. Manoj, his 2nd son is Radiologist and Sinologist had been practicing at Chandi Diagnostic Centre, Khar (W). He is qualified M.D., D.M.R.D. from Bombay and had trained himself in Sonography in USA & Mammography in UK.
His youngest son Dr. Vijay is a Consultant Uro-oncologist Surgeon practicing in Manchester UK. Dr. Vijay had also been performing Robotic Surgery for which his name appeared in many local and International newspapers. Dr. Vijay qualified M.S. in Bombay and double F.R.C.S. (F.R.C.S. in General Surgery and F.R.C.S. in Urology) in UK and further Super Specialized himself in Uro-Onco Surgery.
There is no doubt that with the blessings of Almighty God and the blessings from the Head of the family Dr. Kauromal who was a role model for the grandchildren, the family feels proud with achievements, performance and successful careers of the children.
Sahiti is proud of Dr. Kauromal Menghraj Chandiramani being the 1st doctor from Sahiti and his son Dr. Alim being the 1st surgeon from Sahiti and wishes the family to continue a healthy life and carry out the Medical Services to the public. It is needless to state that Dr. Alim has special attachment with Sahiti Panchayat and is very proud to call himself belonging to Sahiti.