This below is the guest article by Dr. G.R. Vastrad who is a Rtd professor and principal from TAMC, Bellary
My this story is the story of many people. So I am narrating it.
I am born in very remote rural area. In those days there were no proper communication system, news papers and radio were available in only few rich families. Our parents and teachers were the source of any information which was depending on their knowledge. Because of this I was ignorant of many things. My child hood and education up to SSLC was in that rural area. Medium of education was our mother tongue only. English was a hard subject to all children of those days. For PUC I went to a city, it was tough for me to understand lectures which were given in English.
In those days passing PUC was a tough job for those who were rural and average students. Two years PUC was for the first time introduced to our batch. In those days both years PUC was board examination. Somehow with efforts and attempts with a year loss, I secured marks just above 50%, as pass was the only target. That one year gap in my education helped me to develop reading habit and other things of life.
I was ignorant of courses available for degree then. As one of my relative was doing BSAM course. I went to him to enquire about the course. He and his friends advised me not to join Ayurveda course. Though we were treated by an RMP practitioner in our village by some Ayurveda churana, bhasma, etc. but I was not knowing that, that was Ayurveda medicine. I never thought that these are Ayurveda medicnes, till I came to know about these in Ayurveda College.
In those day Ayurveda course was not preferred course. Most of the colleges were not of required standards. In those days BA, BSc, Bcom were more popular and generally preferred courses by everage students. But I was not interested in those. Finally, because of my family background and my eligibility, I decided to go for BSAM course. I was lucky then to have an opportunity in a professional course because Ayurveda education was in bad shape and no competition.
After of thinking for few months, I went to Hubblli Ayurveda Maha Vidyalya to get admission in 1973-74. After seeing building and atmosphere of the college, hospital and meeting the principal I decided not to join that college. But the principal was forcing to me get admission for which I was not ready after seeing the condition of the college and hospital. After lot of pressure by the Principal finally I paid Rs.10/- to get rid of the person, though I went there with the required amount of fees.
The Ayurvedic colleges in those days were in bad condition in all aspects. Donation from aspirants was not possible then. Government grants were not at all thought then. Collecting fee from students itself was tuff job for the college offices. Many colleges were running in shed like buildings. Financial position of these institutes was very bad. Teachers are paid just Rs.100/- to Rs.300/- as honorarium. All were having their private practice of their choice. Hardly one or two were practicing Ayurveda. They were teaching out of their interest. Time tables were so adjusted to their leisure time. If they come, then only the classes used to be there, otherwise other activities. Many students were also regularly bunking even such classes. Nothing was like university level education. In those days admission of students was not up to the permitted limit in private colleges. Ayurveda course was not so popular, then. I did not know about situation in Government colleges then. In Karnataka Ayurveda course was part of health and family department. There used to be repeated strikes by students for short term modern medicine course by which they can practice modern medicine legally. It is in those days only many students worked hard to get an independent department for ISM.
Finally after waiting for 3 months as a helpless person I went to Hubballi Ayurveda College, the college which had changed by life. Whatever now I am, I owe it to my great teachers of Hubballi. Those teachers were very friendly, cooperative, supportive and encouraging to me. I feel proud to name few of them, are Dr. K.G. Desai, Dr. N Raghavendra Rao, Dr. Hubballikar, Dr. V.K. Deshapande, Dr. K.R. Kulkarni, Vaidya Katageri, Dr. S.B Hiremath Dr. Raichur and so on. These are the main persons who decided my life course. They are the Gurus in real sense than teacher. When I was hungry they fed me. When I was diseased they took care of me. They supported my learning of Ayurveda. It was the period I understood the society and gained good respect among my friends and people out of my college also. For this I should not forget the support of my friends. There only I understood what is friendship is. I thank my friends Dr. N.S Shetter, Dr. R.R. Joshi my roomets.
As Ayurveda was new subject and seen Sanskrit script for first time I felt very bad for joining this course. But I was helpless. The college building was far away from city. I had financial restriction so I used to be restricted in room. As there was no option with me and as I was very good reader and used read 3 to 4 general books (kannada kadambaris) which were available in the library. This was noticed by Dr. K.G. Desai and enquired the library incharge and ordered him not issued me any such books. Then killing time was a big problem. My one of room met who doing AB (Ayurved Bishak) course of two years was having Astanga Hridaya and it was lying in room. Finally I made my mind to read it and then I felt that there is some reality in the explanation as some of my previous experiences in dream were correct. This made me to develop interest in studying Ayurveda.
My principal Vaidya N. Raghvendra Rao was great person and he loved me very much. As I was a adamant student, I used go to him very often with various requests and within the available financial resources he helped us by arranging facilities to the best of his capacity to the students. The college was financially not in good health. But honest and dedicated worker and teachers were the backbone of college. When I was in Second year I asked him for our own college building. Teamwork of all made us to study our third year in our own building. All teachers worked as a team.
Because of my teachers support my Ayurvedic journey was fairly good. Their encouragement and support compelled me to read as much as I can. What I used to dream in spite of not eligible to do so, were turned to be a reality. Whenever I used to read Rank holders name in news papers I used to dream of such for me. This was beyond my capacity. But my teachers and Ayurveda made me, this dream a reality. Had I not joined Ayurveda course and without my teachers support and encouragement, it was an impossible dream.
Those were the days all Ayurveda educated persons were practicing modern medicine including most of my teachers. (Situation is not much changed now also). Ayurveda was/is preaching subject not practicable one, except very few. Though there were very few post graduate centers in Government establishments. PG was not preferred by many. People used to laugh at persons who wanted to do Post graduation. The persons who had post graduation like HPA or MSAM or MD Ayurveda, were teachers in Government colleges and not established as private practitioners. So then there were no model persons to follow. So post graduation was not preferred and thought to be a waste of three more years as five and half years was a waste course for the practitioners. In those days post graduation was never practice oriented training. The persons who had post graduate qualification from prestigious institutes were better academician than practitioners. Many postgraduates after spending around 9 years who were not in teaching profession were practicing Allopathy medicine. There may be one or two exceptions.
After the completion of my graduation my friends arranged everything for me to start my clinic. Meanwhile then principal Dr.K.G. Desai asked my friend and also teacher who was pursuing PG at Jamnagar to send a application for me. He only filled it paid the fees. I was asked to sign it without going through it. (He only paid all my college fees without my knowledge every year) When interview letter came I was not ready to attend it. He asked me just go there as a trip and arranged rail reservation for me. He asked my friends to see that I should not get down the train in mid way. Without interest casually I attended interview but selected. As I was not interested I fixed the date for opening my clinic. Meanwhile in my absence my teacher received a telegram of IPGT&R Jamnagar selection.
As usual I went to hospital office just see my teacher. He offered peda to me. Before that he distributed Sweet to whole college. Then I asked him what the occasion was. He told me to take it first. I took and again enquired. He said my student is selected for PG at Jamnagar and it is you and handed the telegram to me. Then I said sir sorry, I am unable to go to Jamnagar as I have to support my family. My father is retired and I had to look after my brother’s education. He said that you must go there because it is my and college prestige. You are the only one selected from our college. Then he offered a free seat to my brother to pursue BAMS and forced me to get admission at IPGT&R Jamnagar.
At Jamnagar for six months I had problem in understanding the Ayurvedic science. The way we studied at Hubballi was different b at Jamnagar, it was of different standard. I wrote the same to my Guru. Gradually I started to adjust to the teaching there. Today whatever I am academically it is of teachers at Jamnagar.
With over 50 years experience in Ayurveda or more precisely we can say that spending his entire life with Ayurveda, he has an amazing experience to share with all of us. Let’s get to the PART 2 of his journey – “Ayurveda as I have observed in the past 50 years“