On 3 January, Sevagram remembered Dr Sushila Nayar—the founder director of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences—on her 17th death anniversary. The staff, students, teachers, nurses, paramedics and health professionals of the institute paid floral tributes and offered marigold petals to her memorial at Maatru-Sthal. A large number of admirers paid homage to her by bowing with folded hands at her memorial and performing a parikrama (circumambulation) around it. To mark the occasion, an all-religion prayer service was organised. The audience recited the last 19 verses from the second chapter of Shrimad Bhagwad Gita and sang hymns from the Upanishad, Quran, Japji Sahib and Bible.
Whenever she was in Sevagram—between 1969 and 2000—Dr Sushila Nayar would make a point of participating in the Friday evening prayers. After the prayer, she would enthrall the audience with her advice based on spirituality. Her talks were tape-recorded for posterity. On her 17th death anniversary, on the lawns, the audience heard her majestic voice, recorded on tape summoning people to the power of language and its discrete prudent usage. “Be sure before you speak,” Dr Sushila Nayar’s words began to resonate at her Samadhi.
Since 2002, the Department of Pathology at MGIMS, led by Professor Nitin Gangane, has been organising an annual blood donation camp in the Blood Bank where employees of Kasturba Health Society and MGIMS participate to commemorate Dr Sushila Nayar’s memory. This year too, students, residents and faculty of the institute showed up in large numbers to donate their blood on January 3—her death anniversary. Dr BS Garg, Secretary Kasturba Health Society and Dr KR Patond, Dean, MGIMS and Dr SP Kalantri, Medical Superintendent, Kasturba Hospital inaugurated the camp. Dr Subodh Gupta (Professor Community Medicine), Dr Abhishek Raut (Associate Professor, Community Medicine), Dr Anshu, (Professor, Pathology) were amongst the first to donate blood. A stream of students, faculty and staff members followed. The donors were checked to ensure that they were fit to donate the blood and each donated 350 ml of blood to save someone's life. Around 40 donors stepped forward and contributed to the camp. "The finest gesture one can make is to save someone's life by donating blood", said Dr VB Shivkumar, Professor Pathology and In-charge Blood Bank. He also thanked all the donors for making the camp a big success.