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Updated: June 21, 2013 12:53 IST

175 years of medical heritage

R. Sujatha
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IT Minister and MMC alumna Poongothai Aladi Aruna with alumnus V.T. Balaraman, who seeks the blessings of his teacher S.R. Padmavathi Damodaran at a function in the college on Sunday. Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu
IT Minister and MMC alumna Poongothai Aladi Aruna with alumnus V.T. Balaraman, who seeks the blessings of his teacher S.R. Padmavathi Damodaran at a function in the college on Sunday. Photo: R. Ragu

The Madras Medical College's 175th anniversary celebrations presented to the city the heritage built into its ethos. For the alumni, who participated in a function on Sunday at the college, it was a walk down memory lane.

Senior doctor V. T. Balaraman, who spent 34 years at the college as a student and later as a teacher, recalled that he arrived at the MMC as a gauche teenager from a village. “For the first time I saw girls and was shy and never spoke to my classmates” in the five years he spent there.

Several decades later his classmates remembered him as a handsome boy who was fancied by girls. “I was only a guide to my students. I taught them insights into practical, bedside medicine,” Dr. Balaraman said.

Minister for Information and Technology Poongothai Aladi Aruna, who is from the 1987 batch, remembered the college as a “fun” place. “I have a lot of memories. The cultural [events] were held in the auditorium. A lot of romances bloomed on the staircase there, including mine,” she said. She later married V. Balaji, now a vascular surgeon at Apollo Hospitals.

On the MMC's contribution to medicine, Dr. Poongothai said “It's got a rich heritage. The first woman doctor Mary Scharlieb also became the champion of public health in India. Today if Chennai is the Mecca of healthcare then most of the contribution came from doctors who studied at the MMC. They put Tamil Nadu's medical education on the global map because of the high standards they set.”

MMC Dean J. Mohanasundaram listed the contributions by MMC-ians in several categories: Vice-Chancellors of the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, who contributed to improving the medical education system; alumni whose work was recognised with honours such as the B.C. Roy and Padma awards.

It was truly a moment in history when Dr. Mohanasundaram announced that the oldest living MMC-ian, Mukta Sen, is 102 years old and lives in Kolkata. She was the second Indian woman to join the college and was in the Indian Medical Service, he said. Several alumni were honoured at the function.

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012

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