Renowned neurologist Dr Shusheel Razdan receives at lot of patients from Kashmir – a place where was born, brought up, married and loved. He talks about his relationship with Kashmir, state of healthcare and much more in an interview with Sonika Raina.
Kashmir Life: You get a lot of patients from Kashmir, why do valleyites repose so much faith in you?
Susheel Razdan: Yes, people do repose faith in me. And I am very thankful to them for this. The reason behind the faith is not any greatness on my part. I have a special bonding with the people of Kashmir. For over 30 years I am working with the people there. I have treated three generations of Kashmir and that is probably the reason behind their faith and the immense trust in me.
KL: How will you define your relationship with Kashmir and its people?
SR: The relation is divine. Our body is made up of five elements that is earth, water, fire, air and space, and all my five elements are from the land of Kashmir so I don’t have any words to further define the relation. When people from Valley come here to meet me, I feel so happy. They exude warmth and love for me.
KL: It seems you have fond memories of Kashmir…
SR: Oh, my memories of Kashmir are numerous. They cannot be counted. There are so many memories associated with the place, the people, the surroundings, with the streets, with the nature, with each and everything over there. There was unity and togetherness in Kashmir. I remember Farooq Abdullah used to come to our place for studies and chief Minister Omar Abdullah took tuitions from my father at our place. I spent my childhood there, did my schooling there, started my career there, got married there. So, all my fond memories are related to Kashmir only.
KL: Would you like to return to Kashmir and work there?
SR: I have been treating people of Kashmir for last 30 years. Even after migration I am treating them regularly. If given a chance I will not hesitate even for a moment to go there as it is my own land.
KL: Do you have any plans to open a clinic there or at least periodically visit valley for seeing patients?
SR: The patients from Kashmir have always been coming to me. They have never left me (smiles). So the idea of opening a clinic never came to my mind. I am treating them in Jammu itself.
KL: What is the state of healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir, how can it be improved?
SR: The health standards in our state are not satisfactory. If the government is really serious to improve the healthcare then it should improve the district hospitals because most of the patients feel convenient to visit the district hospitals. But generally there is lack of equipment, manpower and many basic necessities in the district hospitals. Just concentrating on one or two medical colleges will not help. All the best doctors have to be in the district hospitals, even if costs more money to the government.
KL: You receive a lot of patients from Kashmir, how has violence affected their health and psyche?
SR: Definitely the place where people have faced violence, lot of Psychological problems spring up. People are witnessing bloodshed for the last 21 years. Mothers have lost their sons, and almost each family has suffered a casualty. So the disturbed environment in Kashmir is the root cause of most of the psychological problems.
KL: What are the common mental ailments people in Kashmir are suffering. Is there any particular trend or pattern in Kashmir when it comes to neurological disorders?
SR: There are no special ailments that people of Kashmir suffer. The people suffer same ailments as the people of other countries. But the militancy has definitely increased the cases in Kashmir.
KL: How has migration affected the neurological health of Kashmiri Pandits?
SR: Exile definitely had a very bad effect on the health of Kashmiri Pandits. The temperature in Kashmir was very cool whereas, here in Jammu they witnessed a very hot climate. The death rates increased, especially the old people could not face the wrath of migration. And these things affected their mental health also.
KL: On a different note… why did choose a career in medicine?
SR: It was not a choice. Actually in our time things were totally different. Any student who was above average had only two choices, either to be a doctor or to be an engineer. And I opted to be a doctor. But the things have changed now. Today students have many choices and no field is alien to them in present scenario unlike our time. And if I would not have been able to get a seat in a medical college then the next option for me was the field of education.