Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed : “Father of modern dentistry” of India.
The beginning of this decade, 2020 marks the centennial anniversary of the very reputed Institute, R. Ahmed Dental College in Calcutta, West Bengal, India which was established solely by the effort of the “Father of modern dentistry” of India, Dr Rafiuddin Ahmed in the year 1920.
Dr Rafiuddin Ahmed established the Indian Dental Journal in 1925 and served as an editor till 1946. He published the first student handbook in Operative dentistry in 1928.
It was due to his constant efforts and endless endeavour that the year 1946 witnessed the formation of the Bengal Dental Association which was later renamed as the Indian Dental Association, as it is known today.
Dr Rafiuddin has an exemplary achievement in his professional career. After completing his alma mater from Aligarh Muslim University, He earned his D.D.S (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree from the University of Iowa School of dentistry, USA in 1915. During the world war- I, he worked at the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for children in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1919, a year after the war ended, he returned to India to open a dental institute in Calcutta. Initially, the college was run on an experimental basis with only eleven students from 1920 to 1923. Dr R Ahmed took the responsibility of teaching the student both theoretical and practical alongside other dedicated teachers. By 1928, this college was a well- organised institution for scientific dental education in India.
In 1947, Dr Ahmed was awarded a fellowship at the international college of dentistry. He also received a fellowship at the royal college of Surgeons of England and the Pierre Fauchard Academy in 1949.
The founding father of IDA became a minister of the Bengal Government and supervised the Department of Agriculture, Community Development, Co-operation, Relief and Rehabilitation until 1962.
This great personality is an epitome of excellence. His entire life revolved around providing services to the communities. His contribution in the field of dentistry is something to be remembered and truly appreciated. Dr R. Ahmad proved to be an all-rounder. He wasn’t just a dentist, but also was a publisher, an editor, a dedicated teacher, a minister, a president (of IDA). These are just to name a few.
The distinguished achievements of this great personality was recognised by the Government of India and in 1964 Dr Rafiuddin was awarded with the prestigious Padma Bhushan, making him the first Indian Dentist to be honoured with the third highest civilian award of the republic of India.