"Treat the doctor with the honour that is his due, in consideration of his services; for he too has been created by the Lord. Healing itself comes from the Most High, like a gift received from a king." (Sirach 38-1:2-Bible)
Mangaluru, Feb 26, 2015: A good tree produces good fruit.........(matthew 7-17.); A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. ...(Luke 6-43.). So it is said in the Bible and many scriptures and philosophies in different words echo the same point. This never changing truth comes to mind when one meets a medical doctor of Mangaluru. Meet a well known personality of Mangaluru revered in the field of Medicine and medical education - Dr.Edward L. Nazareth. Family, colleagues, students and patients alike have a high regard and speak in glowing terms of this revered doctor, teacher and human. He is also a master in Konkani literature and cultural activism. His activities can fill many books, he has been kind enough to agree to share with readers of ’Mangalore Today’ a few enlightening and captivating facets of his touching life story. To add to this joy the fact that his wife and son as well, are doctors really brings to the fore perspectives that are worth recording to spread the fragrance that comes forth from this family with roots in ancient Canara.
The Nazareth roots:
The Nazareth family of Shirva is recognised in genealogy documentation of the Konkani Catholic community as a reputed family of Shirva area. Well known descendants of Pascal Nazareth are cited to be from this clan of Shirva, now found scattered the world over perhaps.
Dr. Edward Nazareth, nostalgically narrates that his father Jacob Nazareth (mother, Christine D’Souza) was not a man of high formal education but had learnt the three R’s in Kannada and Konkani and gained a working knowledge of other languages in use. An agriculturist by descent of Attinja, (near Shirva), he proceeded to ’Bombay’ the place to seek stepping stones in those days and now the Indian metropolis that is ’Mumbai’. He made supreme efforts to increase the family’s income by plying a taxi for quite some years in his early life. He was a man who exemplified all the ideals parents could bestow upon their children. He used to work late into the night waiting for the last movie show to get done so he could drive back the last customer while getting to earn a little extra for the late hours. Likewise, he would wake up early to transport passengers who would have gotten off a train or bus. Dr. Nazareth says he remembers and possess a little diary of his father, where the transactions he made of each day he worked in Bombay in the later years are recorded. For a man with his strict industry to possess something of that lofty systematic attitude spoke volumes of his abilities, uprightness and discipline. He was said to be amongst the first in the village of Attinja, (near Shirva) to install an electric water pump at a time when electricity was rare. The senior Nazareth even managed to obtain electric connection from more than 2 kilometers to run the water pump which supplied water to the fields from the river to his as well as to neighbours fields. This lighted the way for many electric pumps in that village. The only other known option was to pray and wait for the rains or manually lift water from the river. " All these people rely on their hands and each is skilled at his own craft." (Sirach 38 -31).
Dr. Edward is one of five brothers, an elder brother a priest, Fr.Valerian Nazareth, is a member of the Diocese of Kolkata and a younger brother is an engineer, all his siblings are doing very well. He was very sentimental saying he felt very sad when his Dad passed away due to cancer of the stomach when he was in the final year of MBBS. He very much wanted to see him a doctor, but unfortunately was not destined to see that proud day on earth.
Receiving Konkani Sahitya Academy award
Early years - Choice of Medicine:
Young Edward, a bright scholar or ’Bibliophile’ (a lover of books) even from pre school days, today he is a creator of books and ideas . His father always consciously radiated the image of a doctor to son Edward, who was molded by it. But, his leaning was towards ’priesthood’ to join the Jesuits; a religious vocation was common amoung eligible Konkani Catholics of the area in those times. It is a story of Medicine choosing this brilliant lad and not the other way - God’s ways are not man’s ways they say.
A devout parish priest in Shirva at that point in time was late Rev Fr Aloysius Rosario, he was a close mentor and had studied the young mans’ personality and potential and fore saw a different design for him. The idea the humble lad always had was that ’only the rich could be doctors’. It was only at the end of the PUC he became aware that there were Govt. medical colleges where ’merit students’ like him could join to become doctors. Armed with a brilliant, 96% in PCB in II PUC he bagged a merit seat in the Government Medical College, Mysore. With support of his father and later his close family and with a ’National Merit Scholarship’ he was propelled by the practical profile of life in a govt. medical college in the 70s / 80s. Dr.Nazareth says the expenditure to obtain his MBBS would not have exceeded twenty thousand rupees, he attributes all to the ’hand of God’ and has contributed in unique ways to the health of a wide cross section of people. Well, if things were of such a nature, as against crores of rupees needed as expenses and bribes at present, the profile of Medical care would have obtained a true healing outlook for all categories of humans in our land. Perhaps it is due to doctors like Dr.Nazareth that medical care in Mangaluru in particular still has a better shape and is sought after increasingly.
Young Dr.Edward, impresses that he got the post graduate MS (Ortho) seat purely on merit, again at the Govt Medical College, Mysore. He used to be paid a stipend between Rs: 1100 and 1300 in those three years of PG study; he was so practical that he not only managed his expenses but also contributed an average of Rs.300 per month towards the support of his mother. He said the PG life was serious and low profile, his colleagues were usually from poor or middle class families and they focused entirely on their training and study which was a very difficult blend. Ortho was in high demand then as even now.
Asked about choosing a medical career, Dr.Nazareth held forth that, choosing a profession requires a great deal of self awareness and some amount of foresight. The problem with youngsters today is that they are not career or goal driven but driven by the company they keep, a type of ’mob mentality’ and money is the aim. Often teenagers are misled by media and peers to follow a path which is not of their liking or not suited to them. After 3 to 4 years of a basic degree they often give up and choose a different path. The affluent of society who let their children decide freely without adequately understanding what they might be suited for can afford to opt for an alternative but it is the ones from the middle class families who suffer. Once mature enough youngsters should be encouraged to understand themselves and allowed to explore options suited to them. And unless they truly are interested and have a dream, they must choose the best option individually.
Regarding medical education he was of the view, that medical education today is in crisis. A number of private medical colleges and many of the youngsters today join these institutions by paying heavy capitation fees. Once qualified, they indulge in all sorts of practices to earn back the money invested. Medical profession has a motto of service with a human touch. It can never be commercial or a business. We have now corporate hospitals and corporate minded health professionals and in them the sanctity of the profession is lost. Indeed quality care is offered and meted out in such setups but certain principles followed are unethical and unnecessary. His personal take is a doctor has to be intelligent, resourceful and understanding as a human being. The medical material is vast and one is expected to remember many things because when an ailing patient comes before them, knowledge needs to be simultaneously employed and a practical decision taken quickly. Anyone who wants to join medicine should be well above average in studies and reflexes. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication and patience. It is a life of sacrifice and not all just glamor as the soap operas often portray.
Dr. Nazareth is very happy with his profession. Trauma surgery is his interest and is kept well occupied in his work. He has operated on countless senior citizens with hip fractures yet every new case is special for him in it’s own way and his skills are rejuvenated. "For they (the doctors), in their turn, will pray the Lord to grant them the grace to comfort and to heal, and so prolong your life." -Sirach 38-14.
On his life-partner & family:
Dr.Edward Nazareth is married to a doctor Dr.Nelly Nazareth (nee’ Barboza), she is now a Senior Ophthalmologist at Fr.Muller’s Institutions in Mangaluru, she is also a medical educator of repute in her own right. Asked to give basic information on the good of his marrying a doctor and life generally, he said that his wife Dr.Nelly, like him was from Shirva and has a similar family back ground. She too has had to face difficulties while growing up and has known her share of hardships. Her father, a man of many capabilities, was a civilian official in the Indian Defense establishments. Her uncle, Rev Fr VGF Rego has helped her in many ways and was a great support in their early married years when they hardly earned enough. They are ever grateful to him. Dr. Nelly has always excelled academically and all credit goes to her brilliance, hard working nature and remarkable ability to multitask. She too earned her degrees on a merit seat at Mysore Medical College.
Dr Nelly was a year junior to Dr. Edward in College and it was in medical college that they got first acquainted. Knowing each other did not interfere with studies as both were serious, studious and gave balanced first place to studies. They married soon after joining post graduation, Dr. Nelly’s mother’s health being critical she wanted to see them a happy married couple. After the marriage, they continued to stay in the respective hostels in Mysore, as staying together was not feasible considering the demands of the medical courses of study. Marital life commenced in reality after they completed post graduation and launched in to their careers.
They are blessed with three children, it is thrilling to know, that the eldest Nithin wanted to follow in the footsteps of his parents from his early childhood. He is good academically and got a CET seat at KMC Mangalore for his MBBS and now is pursuing his MS Ortho through COMEDK at Fr. Mullers, Mangalore - that is what is surely God’s design and not chance. It is thrilling to watch father and son sitting in the Ortho OPD attending to patients at times. It is not hard to observe that young Dr.Nithin Nazareth, not only has a natural flair for the profession but is very humane when he sees patients suffering. He is hard working, empathetic and his father Dr.Edward is pleased with the way he is shaping up. Then come the twins - Neetha and Naveen. Neetha has gone for Architecture and Naveen for Mechanical engineering. They got into good institutions through CET and have completed their degrees. They are in the early stages of launching out in their respective careers. Naveen got three Gold Medals from Canara Engineering College for academics as well as leadership. Dr.Edward is emphatic that God has been extremely kind to all his family and showered on them all abundant blessings in an over flowing measure.
Dr. Nazareth, cordial in nature narrated an amusing incident in the family specially for our readers, as follows: We had decided to go for a second child when my eldest son was about two years old.Our plan was that once children were grown we could concentrate more on our profession and lives. When my wife, Dr. Nelly was in the 8th month and she underwent an ultrasound, we got to know that twins were coming. She was mad at me, even in the light of all the medical knowledge she had. We had been planning for just one more child and the entry of an additional child would mean added burdens which we hadn’t foreseen. She was even more worried that the twins would both be boys which would have been hard to manage simultaneously. But God was again kind and blessed us with a girl and a boy - Neetha and Naveen. We were very relieved yes, but my better half still raises her eyebrows, every time she is reminded about the day the scan. May be that’s why she is so sympathetic with her patients when they need scans.
Dr. Edward - A Biblotheraphist and contributor to society:
The fact is that admiration of several local stalwarts prompted this article to be initiated, the admiration for cultural facets that Dr. Edward Nazareth has developed within the Konkani society in partcular of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi is very note worthy. It was a difficult task to get him to detail his achievements and accomplishments in the literary and cultural arenas of the region, so perhaps we have to be satisfied with just an over view which does not claim to be a complete picture. He is here referred to as ’a biblotheraphist’ (one who comforts the body,mind and spirit through words, writings and books) his books, columns, articles, radio talks, TV presentations and more in different languages like English, Kannada, Tulu, and mainly Konkani, have helped numerous people of all kinds in many walks of life to gain ideas and make changes in all levels of their lives to benefit from all around well being. Dr.Edward has walked the talk as a great educator and mentor; his family has supported him immensely and in turn have been motivated in different ways to match his caliber. This applies in particular to his ’better half’ Dr Nelly Nazareth, who deserves that label in full measure. Their is no doubt that his children and many of his students will emulate him to greater heights. ’Yadahaa raja thadaa prajaa’.
It is worth to read what Dr. Edward the biblotheraphist, basically said on this matter, "I started writing at a very tender age, while I was still in VIII standard and it continued even after joining medicine. Rev Fr Mark Valder, the then editor of Raknno (a local Konkani Weekly - now over 75 years old) inspired me to write on health issues and my initial writings were about the myths and false beliefs about illnesses. Those writings were well appreciated by the readers and that was the stimulus to write more. I also had a flair for writing short stories and I cultivated it later."
"By now I have written on numerous health issues in Konkani. From child care to care of the elderly, I have written and published about 9 books many of which are out of market and awaiting reprints. The Konkani folk appreciated my books as it is not often that one gets to learn about basic health issues in their own mother tongue. I have authored two novels and 5 short story collections. I feel God, who wanted me to be a doctor probably also wanted me to educate people on health and related issues by becoming a health educator. I have been answering questions on health and related issues in different local periodicals and web sites for the past 11 years and over this duration I have answered questions from nearly 3800 visitors on the website alone I have also started giving health tips in daijiworld 24x7 television in Kannada which has a far reaching impact."
So, there is no doubt that the shape of Dr. Edwards Nazareth’s mission in his home area it self is bearing fruit abundantly and is on an ascending path without boundaries and his reputation for goodness is now gaining unprecedented ground and the future is set to glow bright.
Dr. Nazareth has written two books on sex education as well. The first book ‘Sex education for youth’ (Yuvazãnãk Laimgik Shixãn) published in the year 1993 and second ‘Married Sex Life’ (Kazãri laimgik jivith) published in the year 1995, by his own publication, "Nazareth Publications". These books are well accepted by Konkani people and have helped many to gain essential knowledge and to solve their problems effectively. In 1998, he wrote and published a book on ‘Child Care’ (Bhurgyamchi Zãthãn) in Konkani. This book is widely sought by parents and educators even these days.
Asked, "What are the prominent recognitions and awards you have received recently?" His answer was just his characteristic reassuring smile, which makes many a suffering patient’s pain vanish. Finally, after some persuasion he said. "I am grateful to all the people who have encouraged me to go further in the field of literature and health education by bestowing upon me various awards from time to time." Going back to Sirach 38 -8, it says, " Thus, there is no end to the physicians activities; thanks to him, well-being exists throughout the world." Certainly it is hoped that this good Doctor’s work will go on for a long long time to come and grow eternally through the many good doctors he has trained and serve in mitigating the pain and suffering of many a generation.
Dr. Edward L. Nazareth - A great human
Born December 28, 1958. Dr.Nazareth holds medical degrees : M.B.B.S. 1982 Mysore Medical College, Mysore. D.Ortho. 1986 Mysore Medical College, Mysore. M.S.(Ortho.) 1987 Mysore Medical College, Mysore. At present Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Fr. Muller’s Medical College, Kankanady, Mangalore-575 002, he is a resident of Kankanady.
He has in the past been associated as Resident Medical Officer at Goretti Hospital, Kallianpur. Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Alva’s Health Centre from 1988 to 1992. He headed the orthopedic department at Fr. Muller Medical College for 2 years. Presented several papers in state and zonal Orthopaedic conferences. Was the editor of Karnataka Orthopaedic Journal in 2003. At present is again the editor of same journal from 2012 to 2015.
Was the editor of Orthopaedic Journal of South Indian States from 2004. Resource person in several seminars and meets for youth, adults and elderly on various topics of health at several organisations of Mangalore. Resource person at the pre-cana (marriage preperation) meet of the Diocese of Mangalore for more than 20 years. Serving as a director at MCC Bank, Mangalore since 2008. At present the vice-president of the bank.
Konkani Literary Activities: Two novels and more than 100 short stories, one of the novels is prescribed as a Non detailed text book for BA in Konkani at St. Aloysius College Mangalore. Several Short story Collections.Many Books on Health in Konkani.
Service in Konkani Organizations: Served as Founder secretary of the Karnataka Konkani Writers Forum (R.), Founder Secretary of Konkani Prachar Sanchalan (R), Konkani bhasha Mandal, Karnataka (R.) in 1996 , Served as the President from 2006 to 2008.
Recent Awards: Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy award for the book ‘Bhumi vaikumtamt’. Dr. T.M.A. Pai Award for the books ‘Bhumi vaikumtamt’ and ‘Nirmonem’, Rachana Professional Award 2007, Konkani Kutam Award 2007, Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy life time achievement award, Daijidubai literary award, Konkani Kutam Bahrain award, Sandesha award.............Thus this doctor who spreads excellence by his scalpel as well as pen (or is it key pad) is widely reputed as a surgeon and biblotheraphist.
With in-puts from Dr. Edward Nazareth, compiled by I J Saldanha-Shet