Tracing the Roots!
At the suggestion of Abhishek, my son-in-law, we went to Panvel and visited the maternity hospital set up by my grandfather, a Doctor, in 1920s. I had visited it long back with my father so I remembered the address; it was opposite the old post office in Panvel. With my father I had gone to a room that displayed the photographs of my grandfather and grandmother.
It was [and perhaps is still] a free maternity hospital. My grandfather built it and trained all ladies in the family to be qualified nurses. And he trained many other ladies in the town too. It gave them some income. I have met a few ladies who worked there when I was a child and they spoke about their work with a great sense of pride. Women came to hospital for delivery from nearby villages. Without exception they were very poor. Almost all of them were undernourished, if not starving, themselves; there was no question of affording a paid service. Those were the days under the British Rule and many Indians engaged in work that benefited society without expecting any return.
My grandfather, Dr. RD Patwardhan was also a freedom fighter. The hospital was run on the funds donated by charitable institutions and philanthropists. It ran into some dispute so grandfather handed over the hospital to Municipality and moved out. The municipality named the road that led to the free maternity Hospital after him.
We could not locate that road. I knew it was the road adjacent to hospital, but could not see any signboard. I stopped a motor cyclist to enquire about the road. He was amused to learn that we were trying to trace our roots! So he called up a Nagarsevak [Municipal Corporator] on his mobile! And asked him the whereabouts of the road. The Corporator informed me that my understanding was correct however the road was extended in recent times so I was finding it difficult to identify it. The Corporator was very surprised and amused too.
We went to the Panvel Sutika Gruh [the Maternity Hospital as it is called] where we met an old staff. I explained to her the purpose of our visit and she took us to the room where the photographs were displayed. The photograph shows my grandparents, me, my wife Sulabha and our grand-daughter, Annika.
The maternity hospital is run by Municipality and is in dilapidated condition. There are plans for rebuilding it. Displayed on the walls are the layouts of the new building proposed.
I hope Annika will create an institution with a noble purpose that will survive three or four generations!
Wonderful going through the blog and pictures, Vivek kaka. Must have felt great visiting the place that was built by the Patwardhan family.
Those dedicated folks of that generation were simply different, and you dont find such people today. And they had such an enlightened awareness of the needs of those around them; training the family ladies and other neighbour ladies as nurses. And offering the services free to those who were in dire need.
Its wonderful that you did this trip, and took Annika with you. Enjoyed this post .
(If and when they renovate the current set up and rebuild stuff, I hope the now main benefactors dont insist of putting their name to it. Like has happened with Bhave school in Pune. In the early days, work talked. Today only money talks.)
Very nice post!! It is great that you took your grand daughter with you…
People then worked for others..now most run only behind money na..my parents, in laws they all talk about their elders and the work done by them too…those times were different so were the people..
Nostalgia! Pray your dream becomes a reality.
Its nice to hear that people worked for poor even in the post independence days. Hope your dreams come true. 🙂
Happy New Year
How inspiring. Time stands standstill for good work and making a difference permeates generations !
Lovely post. The hospital maybe in dilapidated condition. But the lives it must have touched over the many years…i am sure are flowering !
Wishing all the dreams and plans come alive this year sir !
Great pics & that too of a hospital by your family!
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Wow ur grandfather was a doctor in the 1920's…..dont u just imagine how difficult life was in those days & doctors then had no use of proper equipments but inspite of all those deficiencies did their work so well….. true dedication really!!!!
Thank U for sharing it with us:-))
p.s: u've been awarded!!!!
It must have been a wonderful trip down nostalgia lane.. The photograph says it all… I am sure your granddaughter will treasure the legacy and draw inspiration!!
It must be reallly nostalgic, I can imagine. Perhaps, you may be aware, there is or rather there was one more Patwardhan Hospital at Panvel which has now been donated to an NGO for treating poor patients. I have visited it alongwith some of my freinds to see how we can help. Looks like Patwardhans have done lot of good to Panvel and community at large.
Oh very nice, you must be so proud! Thx for sharing…these must be such treasured memories…