: Records of the erstwhile Madras Legislative Assembly reveal that a request to start a government medical college at Kozhikode was, at one point of time, elbowed aside for lack of finance.

Madras Legislative Assembly records of August 9, 1954 at the Regional Archives, Kozhikode, reveal a heated exchange between the government and legislators on the need for a medical college in Malabar. The debate on the floor of the House was flagged off by senior leader K.P. Gopalan, who asked the then Health Minister A.B. Shetty “whether the government had any representation recently from the Malabar Pradesh Congress Committee and Kozhikode Municipal Council requesting to take steps to open a medical college in Kozhikode”. The Minister said there was a representation from the secretary of the Kozhikode District Congress Committee, but said “it is not possible to consider at present the question of opening a medical college at Kozhikode”.

But Mr. Gopalan persists to ask the government to reconsider its position. “In view of the fact that a large number of students from Malabar seek admission to medical colleges, will the government be pleased to take steps to reconsider this question to open a medical college in Malabar which is a long-standing demand and need of the people of Malabar,” he pressed on. To this, the short reply was “it will be considered in due course when the finances permit and other conditions are favourable”.

The debate was, however, made lively when V.R. Krishna Iyer, a lawmaker then, pitched in, saying “this plea of lack of finance appears to be a ubiquitous answer of the honourable Minister”. “There was a feeling that the Health Ministry was neglecting Malabar. There was an opinion that this situation has continued for too long,” Mr. Iyer, now a retired Supreme Court judge, told The Hindu on Monday.

The records show that Mr. Iyer took on the government, saying “in view of the importance of the matter and in view of the large demand from the people, such kind of excuse in a welfare State will give no credit to the government”. He goes on to offer the Minister an alternative to tide over the financial embargo against starting a medical college in Kozhikode. “With the co-operation of the people and contribution and efforts of the local people, will the government make a serious attempt to give Malabar a medical college in the same way as they rush to the aid of the other districts?” Mr. Iyer asked.

To this, the Minister :responds: “The honourable gentleman on the opposite has already been representing to us that the Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Pariyaram is languishing for want of funds. Now he wants us to start a medical college and says that he will collect funds. I would request the honourable gentleman to organise the collection work first and then approach the government.”

Today, the college website introduces the Government Medical College, Kozhikode, as a premier medical college.

“It was established in 1957 as the second medical college in Kerala. Since then the institution has grown into a premier centre of medical education in the State,” the college website says.