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64-year-old Odisha man set to join MBBS after clearing NEET

Jay Kishore Pradhan  

After 40 years of gruelling job and raising children, a sexagenarian is probably more inclined to spend times with grandchildren, play cards, get immersed in gardening or visit close relatives more frequently than before. However, a 64-year-old retired banker from Odisha has a different idea.

It may sound weird, but Jay Kishore Pradhan, born in 1956, has set out to become a doctor. He will formally start pursuing the four-year MBBS programme at the Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla, one of Odisha’s premier government-run health institutes, after taking admission on Monday.

Hailing from Atabira in Odisha’s Bargarh district, Mr. Pradhan has completed all formalities required for a new entrant to the MBBS programme. The senior citizen has been cleared of cardiology, pulmonary function and nephrology tests and allowed to study medicine.

Strange decision

He had retired as deputy manager in State Bank of India in 2016. The strange decision has surprised many, but Mr. Pradhan would actually be fulfilling the ambition he has been nurturing for decades.

“I had once appeared for the MBBS entrance examination just after my intermediate class in 1970s. I could not succeed then. I did not want to lose another year in preparation, so I joined B.Sc with Physics honours. Since then a sense of non-fulfilment keeps haunting me,” said Mr. Pradhan.

“Besides, I am indebted to medical science. My father was admitted to the college, where I would be studying, in 1982 for urinal ulcer. In 1987, he had undergone second surgery and was taken to Vellore for further treatment. As a result of successful treatment, my father survived till January 2010,” he narrated.

Strong desire

“The desire to study medicine was so strong that I was toying with the idea of taking voluntary retirement after 15 years of banking service. However, it was too risky to quit job keeping the family obligation in mind,” said Mr. Pradhan.

Subsequent to completion of graduation, he had joined as a part-time teacher in a local school before switching his job to telecom sector. Subsequently, he worked in Indian Bank. In 1983, Mr. Pradhan joined the SBI.

After staying away from active studies for four decades, how did the man find rhythm in preparation for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), which is fairly a tough test to crack even for student of this generation?

Motivation from daughters

“I have twin daughters, who were preparing for medical entrance examinations. I had been assisting them in their preparation. As I was very good at memorising physics, chemistry and biology, my daughters motivated me to give it a try,” said the sexagenarian.

“In 2019, the Supreme Court had lifted the upper age limit for studying till further judgment. It helped me firm up my resolve to pursue my dream. I took it as a challenge to study MBBS,” said Mr. Pradhan. The man had secured rank 5,94,380 by scoring 175. Mr. Pradhan became eligible to take admission in VIMSAR in physically handicapped quota.

Since one of his daughters had unfortunate demise last month, the family could not rejoice the achievement the way it should have been celebrated. “I am determined to continue study medicine in memory of my daughter,” he said.

Mr. Pradhan would turn 69 when he would complete the MBBS programme. Asked whether he is keen to join any regular job as a doctor after studies, he said, “I have already passed the phase of joining any regular job. Whatever I would learn would during next five years, I would keep practising privately in rest of my life,” he said.

No age limit

At VIMSAR, Brajamohan Mishra, Dean and Principal, who would be age wise one-year senior to Mr. Pradhan, is at loss of words after coming across the unheard of feat. “As per Supreme Court order, there is no age limit to pursue studies. He has been declared medically fit. As a signature of notary was missing on certain document, he has been asked to furnish it on Monday and join the course,” said Dr. Mishra.

“I would consider him my classmate and it would be a new kind of experience for me. Our brains are matured. Given his passion for studying medicine, I hope he does not face any problem in following scientific subjects in MBBS programme,” said the VIMSAR Principal.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 9:57:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/64-year-old-odisha-man-set-to-join-mbbs-after-clearing-neet/article33418730.ece

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