Mysuru: You cannot put a price on someone’s healing touch. Doctors have long been revered as irreplaceable by society, and with good reason. The recent doctors’ strikes in Karnataka, however, have caused many to take a second look at the ones we once considered Gods.
In all the commotion, it is easy to forget the true service and dedication of doctors, and it is easy to point fingers, but one doctor in Mandya has been quietly going about his day and looking after his patients.
Dr. Shankare Gowda is a living legend in Mandya. Hailing from Shivalli taluk in Mandya, he treats patients at his village in the morning and then at his Mandya clinic, in the afternoon. To his patients at his clinic, he charges a fee of Rs 5, but to the ones in the village, he charges nothing. Though virtually every private doctor and hospital staged protests against The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, Dr. Shankare Gowda was up and about, treating his patients.
The doctor, who is for the KPME bill, has seen a two-fold increase in the number of his patients. He presently treats more than 150 people in a day as his motto is to serve the patients. For his outstanding contribution to the public, various organisations including the Kalpavruksha Trust, honoured him with the annual “Karnataka Kalpavrukha” award.
The doctor, popularly known as “5 rupees doctor”, has been charging his patients a fee of Rs 5 since 1982. His popularity is not limited to the fact that he charges a meagre fee, but also because he prescribes good medicines that are affordable. He also is an avid agriculturist and farms in his 6 acre plot of land, where he also treats the labourers for free.
Dr. Gowda started by serving patients in Mandya but when he noticed that people from his village were coming in large numbers, he decided to go and treat the people in the village.
Speaking to NewsKarnataka, Dr. Shankare Gowda said, “I want to give something back to the society, especially to the people who live in the rural areas. I will continue to serve people to the best of my abilities.”
Speaking of the plight of the poor, he said that people from rural areas don’t get admitted to hospitals, even though they are advised to do so because of financial constraints. He also said that it was the government’s responsibility to see that health and education reached all the people.
“K Govinda, former Professor of Mysuru Medical College Research and Institute, used to attend to patients till 8 PM and sometimes even till 10 PM, a kind of dedication you won’t see now. After seeing him, I too decided to do something for the public. He is my inspiration. I am here to serve the people and will continue to do that as long as I am able to. The bill proposed by the government is a really good initiative”, he said.