The year 2014 marks the 100th year of Dr Sushila Nayar, the former Central Health Minister, personal physician to Gandhiji, and the founder of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram. To honor this memorable event, the centenary celebration was held at MGIMS on 26th December 2014 as the eminent Gandhian was born on this day, a hundred years ago. The celebrations began with a humble prayer, an activity very dear to Dr Sushila Nayar’s heart, on Kasturba Health Society campus at Sevagram. The Sevagram community- comprising of students, residents, teachers, nurses, paramedics and the staff of the institute attended this prayer. The prayer and the milieu took them down memory lane and brought nostalgic memories in the hearts of many staff members who were fortunate enough to have worked with Dr Sushila Nayar.
Shri Dhiru S Mehta, President Kasturba Health Society welcomed the guest of honor, Smt Shobhana Ranade and the large gathering of staff and students of MGIMS. He shared few glimpses of his close association with the revered Gandhian. He expressed his gratitude to Dr Sushila Nayar for conceiving and nurturing such a distinguished institute in rural healthcare. He also spoke of her fervent enthusiasm and passion for community based rural healthcare.
Padma Bhushan Smt Shobhana Ranade, a veteran Gandhian Social Worker, who had known Dr Sushila Nayar from close angles for several decades was invited to address the audience on this occasion. She gave a memorial lecture on Dr Sushila Nayar in the college auditorium, attended by faculty, students and staff of the institute. She shared with the audience Dr Sushila Nayar’s several qualities- passion for making healthcare accessible to rural people, her strong views on growing menace of alcohol in the society, her convictions, determination and courage to fight for what she was morally right and her compassion for patients struck by leprosy. Marking the occasion, she encouraged the students to follow the suit of the torch bearer.
Dr BS Garg, Secretary Kasturba Health Society, also called it a privilege to have worked with Dr Sushila Nayar. He generously thanked everyone who directly or indirectly have helped in making the programme a big success.
In addition, a special centenary gallery depicting some of the most defining moments from the life of Dr Sushila Nayar was launched on this occasion. These historical photographs, artistically showcased in the Sarojini Naidu Hall helped the younger generation understand the larger than life personality that Dr Sushila Nayar was gifted with.
Kasturba Health Society plans to organize monthly programs and events to commemorate the memories of Dr Sushila Nayar in the coming year.