Once when we were travelling towards Athgaon, a busy junction of Guwahati city, our vehicle got stuck at a place due to traffic jam. Normally, traffic jams occur due to heavy movement of vehicles or some commercial activities in the vicinity but here, the reason was altogether different. It was philanthropy. The jam was �due to the inflow of patients, their attendants and the persons in white attire, the medical staff at two medical institutions located there, which are involved in humanitarian activities since decades�. The institutions are Marwari Hospital and Research Centre, i.e., MHRC and the Marwari Maternity Hospital (MMH), dedicated to the service of humanity.
The massive and sprawling buildings of MHRC and MMH and the hectic activities of the patients, their attendants and medical persons, can make a person to mistake them as any other hospital run by the corporate or private sector to make money. Not denying the fact that there is a lack of awareness among people of Guwahati about the history of these two hospitals, which however have now been merged into one entity named �Marwari Hospitals,� the parent body of which named as �Shree Marwari Databya Aushadhalaya� has completed 100 years of its glorious existence.
The first line of the script of' this philanthropy was written in 1916, when the Marwari community in Guwahati came forward to fill the near vacuum in the medical services of the city. With a humble investment of Rs 5,500, a small sapling was planted in the Fancy Bazar area of' the city and Shree Marwari Databya Aushadhalaya was established, where running an Outdoor department was its core activity. This medical centre�s building stands tall even today in front of the famous Shani temple on the busy Hem Barua Road in Fancy Bazar. A renowned business family of Fancy Bazar named Ramchandra Shivdutt Dhanuka had donated this land with the constructed building on it in which, the outdoor clinic is run. Today when a century of its establishment has been completed, the institution is standing with pride and serving the mankind with the same zeal of the sacred oath, taken by the community members then.
Today the sapling of Shree Marwari Databya Aushadhalaya, has its extension in Athgaon, which have now developed into a full-grown tree. And now, the Marwari Hospitals is said to be model health centre for the people of this State engaged in providing healthcare to all classes of people irrespective of caste, creed and community, including the deprived and poor class. In 1916, when the foundation of Shree Marwari Databya Medical Centre was established, Guwahati was a small town. Its population was so scarce that half-a dozen doctors were enough to keep the town healthy. Three famous doctors of those days � Dr Jagdish Chandra Chatterjee, Dr PK Chaudhury and Dr Ramesh Chandra Das were rendering their services at Databya Aushadhalaya. Later, Dr Arjun Tiwari, a resident of Fancy Bazar itself, too volunteered his services. Old documents say many interesting things about those days. There were occasions when after hearing a word about someone getting ill in the area, the office-bearers of the Aushadhalaya would not only take the doctor to the patient�s home, but would serve the patient in rotation, staying at his place. Another example also speaks loudly of the dedication of those days. A gentleman Kedarmal Bharpalania thought it wise to make the Databya Aushadhalaya as the nominee in his LIC policy, ignoring his own family members.
When people with pure and serene mindset join an institution, even God gives his blessings and thus Bholaram Saraf�s family came forward and donated land in Athgaon, and in the old days, the area was under-developed and at some distance from the heart of the city. Later, more people came forward, taking responsibility to construct one floor each of the building. And with the support and the cooperation of the donors like Shyamlal Agrawal, Ramgopal Kejriwal and JP Sureka, opening of Marwari Maternity Hospital was made possible in October 1985.
One important aspect of the Marwari Maternity Hospital deserves mention here. When an institution gives its services for free, the receivers are typically from the poor and underprivileged section of the society. Being from the unprivileged classes and getting services free of cost, it is natural that they do not have the temerity to complain about the quality of the services and even disregard the careless manner of the staff. Thus, over the period the quality of service of such an institution is affected. Marwari Maternity Hospital, however, found a solution to this, which helped in maintaining the quality and the standard of the services. In the Maternity Hospital, the morning hours in the OPD are reserved for the weaker section of' the society who get service at a heavily subsidised rate, while in the evening OPD, patients pay a reasonable fees and they have to bear a reasonable cost of the services, if admitted. Now the result is obvious for all to see.
Then, in March 2002, another dream of the founders of the Databya Aushadhalaya, turned into reality. It was the establishment of a multi-speciality hospital on the land donated by the family of Haribux Nandlal Khakholia, another philanthropic resident of Fancy Bazar. The hospital provides healthcare facilities at affordable costs, operating with little profit. During the last two to three years, the services of the MHRC have been expanded manifold.
The hospital is now well-equipped with a special neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), dialysis unit, CT scan machine, NABL accredited path lab and modern operation theatres, among many other services. In 2012, the hospital got ISO 9001:2008 certification, another assurance of its quality of services. Today, this pious institution has completed its 100 years of service, and on this occasion everyone who has been associated with it is feeling proud and wants to rededicate himself to serve mankind even better in the coming days.
It is in the fitness of things to pay our respectful homage and gratitude to the founders of this great institute.