Celebrating the Life & Work of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy on National Doctors' Day

A noted Physician, a well-known politician and the second Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy played a key role in changing India for the better. On National Doctor’s Day, let’s talk about his work.

Srushti Pathak
Updated On
New Update
Dr. Bidhan Chandra

July 1 is celebrated as National Doctors' Day, which honours the dedication, compassion, and tireless efforts of doctors who work diligently to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities. On this occasion, people pay tribute to the medical professionals who serve the people today and the trailblazers who paved the way for modern healthcare. The day marks Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy’s birth and death anniversary. His remarkable contributions continue to inspire generations of doctors. Read on as Local Samosa delves into the life and legacy of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy and explores the significance of National Doctors’ Day.

Physician, Politician, Educationist

Dr. Bidhan Chandra

Born on July 1, 1882, in Patna, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy was not just a physician. Along with shaping India’s healthcare system, he was an educationist and a statesman. Dr. Roy obtained his medical degree from the University of Calcutta and pursued higher studies in London. There, he became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). 

Transforming Indian Healthcare

Upon his return to India, Dr. Roy established himself as a prominent physician. He played a pivotal role in establishing the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, a premier medical institution renowned for its research, education, and patient care.

He served as the first President of the All India Medical Council and actively participated in its meetings. Under his leadership, the number of health centres in the state significantly increased from 70 in 1947 to 271 with 2,762 beds by 1956. This expansion included Sadar Hospital, Sub Divisional Hospitals, and specialised clinics for tuberculosis, leprosy, and venereal diseases. Also, 16 National Malaria Control Units were established by Dr. Roy to combat malaria in the region. West Bengal boasted the highest number of hospital beds per 1000 population in India at that time.

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy

Calcutta`s First Polio Clinic

Recognizing the urgency to address the polio epidemic, Dr. Roy took the initiative to establish a polio hospital and clinic in Calcutta. Initially, this endeavour was a non-official undertaking, with Dr. Roy personally procuring the necessary equipment from within the country and abroad. The hospital was named 'B.C. Roy Polio Clinic' and was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Beyond Politics

He served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for 14 consecutive years, from 1948 to 1962. During his tenure, he implemented significant healthcare reforms. Dr. Roy’s education policy was considered to be intensely realistic and oriented towards certainties of development. He was keen on the increase of educational institutions in West Bengal. He increased the budget expenditure from Rs 2.55 crores in 1948-49 to Rs 6.59 crores in 1954-55. He doubled the number of high schools from 761 in 1948 to 1,402 in 1955 and colleges from 54 to 89 in the same period.

During World War II, the residents of Kolkata were fleeing fearing Japanese invasion. Dr. Roy, being the vice-chancellor of The University of Calcutta at the time, acquired air-raid shelters for school and college students. This was so that classes would continue unperturbed. He ensured relief for students, teachers and employees.

Dr. Roy was the brain behind townships at Durgapur, Kalyani, Bidhannagar, Ashoknagar and Howrah. He also expanded the city of Calcutta towards the Salt Lake area to accommodate the ever-growing population of the city.

In recognition of his efforts, the Doctorate of Science was conferred upon him in 1944. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1961. On July 1, 1962, he passed away at the age of 80, leaving behind a legacy.

National Doctors' Day

National Doctor’s Day

National Doctors’ Day is an expression of gratitude and appreciation for the remarkable work done by doctors worldwide. It is an opportunity to be grateful for their selflessness, compassion, and commitment to patient care. This day is a reminder for us of the critical role doctors play in everyone's lives, ensuring our health and well-being. The recent COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the resilience and unwavering dedication of doctors and healthcare workers, who continue working tirelessly to combat the virus and care for needy patients. This day provides an occasion for society to come together and recognize the immense contributions made by doctors in advancing medical knowledge, treating illnesses, and enhancing public health. 

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy National Doctors' Day