A Doctor who spent nine years in jail but never gave up his Medical Practice
Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi was born in the year 1887 in Ajmer. He was a son of Ulala Bishanlal. He spent his early childhood in Bharatpur and earned his education from Agra and Kolkata.
Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi obtained his medical degree, earlier referred to as LMP (Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery), from the Agra Medical University. He then joined the government service. At first he was posted at the Agra jail and later he worked in the Etah District hospital.
Meanwhile a movement, Bang Bhang movement of 1905 was going on which was against the separation of Bengal. Inspired by the Bang Bhang movement, Dr Jawaharlal left his job and went to Kanpur to his cousin, Dr Murarilal Rohatgi. Initially Dr Jawaharlal worked at his cousin’s clinic for a year & later he opened his very own clinic in Moolganj.
Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi was one of the founding members of Kanpur Medical Association, which was establishment in 1912. In 1919 he became a trustee of Pratap press trust along with Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi.
In an attempt to free India from the British rule, he, in 1920 got influenced by Gandhi ji and boycotted British clothing to adopt indigenous attire.
During the non-cooperative movement, in December 1921, he along with many prominent leaders was arrested and was kept in the Lucknow central jail where Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi treated his fellow mates like Govind Malviya, Jawaharlal Nehru among many others.
During the stay in prison, Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi was informed about his father’s death on April 30, 1922. He was heartbroken as he was away from his father during his last few days but at the same time he was in peace for serving mother India.
After a span of about a year and half Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi, in August 1923, was released from imprisonment. Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi was also a social activist and became a trustee of many organisations including DAV college, orphanage etc.
In 1938 when Subhash Chandra Bose was elected as a president of Congress, he planned a trip to Kolkata by airplane when suddenly he had some health issues in mid-air. The flight was immediately landed to the Kanpur airport and S.C. Bose was rushed to Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi’s residence where the medical care was given to him.
Dr Jawaharlal’s family supported him all along for the freedom of India. He spent almost nine years in jail during the freedom struggle but never gave up his medical practice. He became the first president of Provincial Medical Association in 1928. He also stayed as a Head of many Organizations like Red Cross, St. John Ambulance etc.
After India’s independence in 1947, Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi became the Deputy Health minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1957. He also became a founder & joint secretary of Kanpur Medical Association.
Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi was an eminent doctor of his time. He was also a great freedom fighter who along with Dr Rajendra Rohatgi contributed immensely in providing quality health services to the Indian citizens.
Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi had two sons and four daughters. The eldest son Dr Rajendra Rohatgi was an eye specialist and the second son Mahendra Rohatgi founded Hind Chemicals.
Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi had many political achievements but those are not mentioned here as they are beyond the scope of this article
The versatile and genius person, Dr Jawaharlal Rohatgi died on 23 March 1974 at Lala Lajpat rai hospital. Jawaharlal Rohatgi Eye hospital in Kanpur was opened in his memory to treat people with eye disorders.