Friday, February 6, 2015

Christian Medical College, Vellore

I had gone to Vellore to help a relative get medical care for a fractured hand. We visited the famous hospital at CMC, Vellore

The experience left indelible memories and made me read up a little about what motivated the founding of such a great institution. One place that summarizes a lot of what is relevant is the Wikipedia article mentioned above. That article describes the moving experience that made Ida Scudder decide to earn a medical degree and come back to work in India.

I understand that the hospital treats approximately 7,000 patients a day. They come from all parts of India and speak all the national languages in this small town. It is not any freebie they come for; they pay what it costs, as far as I can observe. The credibility of the hospital and its reputation have gone far and wide; it gives them what they really need - a hospital they can trust, a hospital that does not rip off, a hospital that has treated generations of doctors whose behavior constantly reminds you about the values they have imbibed.  

Many Christian missionaries have contributed to education and healthcare in India. The idea of recognizing service to humanity as an important principle of religion has been a great development in human history. It is not my concern here whether this great idea originated in a single religion or if it existed in many religions simultaneously. 

Great Indian thinkers have taught us to adopt this principle. Gandhiji had written "If India adopted the doctrine of love as an active part of her religion and introduced it in her politics, Swaraj would descend upon India from heaven". According to Vivekananda, an important teaching he received from Ramakrishna was that Jiva is Shiva (each individual is divinity itself). So he stressed on Shiva Jnane Jiva Seva, (to serve common people considering them as manifestation of God). According to Vivekananda, man is potentially Divine, so, service to man is indeed service to God. (you can find both these quotes in the Wikipedia).

Coming back to CMC, I should mention the significant economic contribution it has made to district of Vellore and to the State of Tamil Nadu, through the number of jobs it has created directly and indirectly.

It is also worth noting that there is a CMC, Ludhiana, again founded by a woman, Dame Edith Mary Brown. Founded in 1894, CMC Ludhiana has contributed a lot in training women doctors during a critical time in Indian history. 

Undoubtedly, there are other institutions in India and elsewhere that contribute very significantly to education and healthcare. They are not limited to a single religion. 

I conclude this note with three thoughts: 

I wish that all religions will emphasize service to humanity as a major principle, and take effective steps to progress in that direction. Our instincts as human beings incorporate this basic principle; emphasizing it as a part of education is essential for the survival of our species. 

The notion of profit is said to be fundamental in economics, but a visit to CMC tells me that great hospitals do not necessarily have to be profit-oriented institutions. Not being profit-oriented is possibly a blessing for a teaching hospital. 

When we wish to build something in memory of a great soul, it is worth thinking if it could be in the form of a self-sustaining hospital and medical college. It could transform the economy of a district, in addition to providing education and healthcare. 

Srinivasan Ramani  


Abhi Mehra said...

sir, when the CMC Vellore Admission 2016 Form upcoming?

Srinivasan Ramani said...

Abhi Mehra had asked about admissions at CMC Vellore. She could perhaps find the information she is looking for at
It is always to best to do a fresh web search once in a while with a search string like
CMC Vellore admissions
to find new information that becomes available.