|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 571-572
A tribute to Dr. Babu Rajendran
Suresh K Pandey, Vidushi Sharma
SuVi Eye Institute and Lasik Laser Center, Kota, Rajasthan, India
|Date of Web Publication||22-Mar-2019|
Dr. Suresh K Pandey
President, Kota Division Ophthalmological Society (KDOS), Vice President, Indian Medical Association (IMA) KOTA, Director, SuVi Eye Institute and Lasik Laser Center, C 13 Talwandi, Kota, Rajasthan - 324 005
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Pandey SK, Sharma V. A tribute to Dr. Babu Rajendran. Indian J Ophthalmol 2019;67:571-2
“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”
Dr. Babu Rajendran [Figure 1] passed away on February 9, 2019 and we lost one of the most influential ophthalmologist of Indian ophthalmology. He was the past president of the All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS), great visionary, who contributed enormously to Indian ophthalmology. A great clinician, and human being, he was always ahead of his time. Dr. Babu was well-liked among his peers and deeply admired by the students who practiced under him. He has been known to take great pains to enlighten and teach medical students who wished to pursue a career in ophthalmology. Dr. Babu Rajendran was first to introduce electronic presentation in medical conference in India. He democratise AIOS by introducing on-line election which is followed by many medical societies including Indian Medical Association (IMA).
| Personal Life|| |
Dr. Babu Rajendran was born on October 1945 in Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), almost 2 years before the Indian subcontinent got freedom from the British Raj. His family members include spouse Giri, son Sushil and daughter Priya.
| Medical Education|| |
Dr. Babu aspired to be a doctor. He was known to have been fond of science and human biology from the early years. Thus, the fact that he pursued higher education in a medical college comes as no surprise. In 1971, Babu Rajendran became Dr. Babu Rajendran after he obtained his M.B.B.S. degree from the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, Karnataka. Four years later, he stood on the same stage to receive his M. S. degree in ophthalmology. Since then, his fate was sealed in dedicating his life to the field of ophthalmology.
| Ophthalmic Career and Awards|| |
Dr. Babu Rajendran has had the opportunity to travel to Australia (for advance fellowship with Professor Gerard Crock) in the formative years of his practice. He then made his way back to India in the late 70s.
After a brief stint in international institutes, Dr. Babu Rajendran founded ophthalmology department at Vijaya Hospital, Chennai. This is where he is said to have begun his career on 'ground zero.”. Yet, his success surpassed all expectations. Dr. Babu Rajendra developed first computerized eye department, first automated angiography reporting system and pioneered the tunable dye laser, and the excimer laser refractive surgery during 1980-90.
Apart from his ophthalmology practice, he made an effort to be an active participant of various medical clubs and societies in India. An active member of the AIOS right from the start of his professional days, Dr. Babu has evinced keen interest in all aspects of its activities and has contributed significantly towards the attainment of its aims and objectives of the AIOS. He was the Organising Secretary for the Society's Annual conference held in Chennai in the year 1989, which was a huge success. He had been a dedicated Rotarian since 1981 and was a trainer and motivational speaker.
Here are a handful of awards and honours bestowed upon him over the years:
- The Dr. T.M. A Pai Gold Medal for Distinguished Alumni (1985)
- The C. S. Reshmi Gold Medal for the Best Ophthalmic Film produced in India (1987)
- The pioneer in Refractive Surgery Award of the Lasik Institute in U.S.A (1999)
- The Summit 1000 Plus Award of the Summit Institute in U.S.A (2000)
- The Humanitarian Service Award of the A. P. Society of Ophthalmology (2001)
- The Alim Memorial Lecture Award of the Ophthalmic Society of Bangladesh (2002)
- The Lifetime Achievement Awards of the Tamil Nadu Ophthalmic Association (2008)
- The Vidarbha Ophthalmic Society (2008)
- Life time Achievement Award VRSI (2017)
On the whole, Dr. Babu Rajendran has received more than 40 orations and three Lifetime Achievement Awards. Not to forget the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from All India Ophthalmological Society that he received in 2013.
| His Teaching and Message for Young Ophthalmologists|| |
Dr. Babu Rajendran has written numerous research papers in ophthalmology, many of which have been published in the most reputable medical journals. But his autobiographical book “I for an Eye” [Figure 2] is our personal favourite. The book captivates medical and non-medical students alike as it takes the reader on an extraordinary journey of an ordinary person.
One of the key lessons the book teaches us is patriotism. This is an interesting fact about the life of a man of science but it is an honest evaluation. We hope that his work inspires the future young generations to withstand the temptations of the “American Dream” and stay rooted in our homeland. It is bittersweet to reread the following line in his autobiography,
“My dream was to be back in India and eventually be somebody in Indian ophthalmology.”
His journey in ophthalmology, initial struggle and messages for young ophthalmologists in his own words from his autobiography- “I returned to India in April of 1978 to complete my dream of being somebody in ophthalmology in my country. I took a bank loan of 76,000 rupees and bought a new Ambassador car for 35,000 rupees and spent the rest to put up a clinic on Poonamalee High Road, Chennai. I had brought back a slit lamp, a cryo, two indirects, lenses, and spare bulbs, and several yard of silicone sponge for retinal surgery. A very senior professor of General Surgery in Chennai told me on the day I started my clinic, it does not matter what you were in Australia or Manipal. You are starting here as zero. So be patient, regular, punctual, honest, and sincere in your work. It will take you seven years to establish yourself, And jokingly added, If at the end of seven years you haven't, then you are in the wrong place or the wrong profession. It did take me almost seven years from that day to realize and feel relaxed that I was in the right place and the right profession.”
Dr. Babu Rajendran's dream was fulfilled and he was perceived to be one of the most influential personalities in the history of Indian ophthalmology. We pay our tribute to this great visionary who contributed significantly to the AIOS till the last day of his life. Dr. Babu Rajendran will never be forgotten for his significant contribution to the AIOS and to Indian ophthalmology.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
I for an Eye, an Autobiography of Dr. Babu Rajendran. Notion Press; 26.02.2016, Chennai, India.
[Figure 1], [Figure 2]