A. P. J. Abdul
Marshal Sam Maneckshaw
B. K. S.
P. T. Usha
Personalities of India
R. D. Tata
Shantha, aged about 70
years, is the chairperson of the Cancer Institute (WIA), Adyar,
Outlook magazine's survey of hospitals in the country ranked it as the
with respect to 'competence of doctors' and second in all other
saving one out of three patients, we are now aiming at two out of three
patients, besides an almost 60 per cent success rate in paediatric
leukaemia," says Dr. Shantha with pride glittering in her eyes. Here is
woman who fearlessly follows her heart and has given the
patients a ray of hope and life. "It is not the fear of cancer but the
fear of delay that is dreadful," she points out.
76 per cent of the movies show tobacco in some form and 50 per cent of
the hero is shown smoking. She appealed to cine stars not to smoke on
since they set a bad example to young filmgoers. Speaking at a function
by WHO on "Tobacco-free films and fashion," Kamal Hassan swore that
he would never again wield a cigarette before the camera. The Cancer
has invited film and TV stars, directors and producers for a dialogue
was conceived an
innovative fund-raising campaign "Iruvadhu Muthal Iruvadhu Varai", to
collect Rs. 20 from the public till the target of Rs. 20 crores was
the Cancer Institute. It was launched to facilitate the institute's
plans. It is not just about collecting money, but a way of creating
and generating hope and positive action among people about cancer.
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy fulfilled a long-cherished dream; she began the
Cancer Institute in Chennai. Dr. Reddy sent her only son, S.
the United States, Switzerland and the UK to combat cancer treatment.
Shantha, who landed in a government job soon after her MD, chose to
fight against cancer. "I had decided to make it a lifelong mission."
As a house surgeon in 1950, she had seen Dr. Krishnamurthy work in the
unit of the government-run General Hospital. She had heard him talk to
audiences about the plight of poor cancer patients. "It was very
I felt I should participate in their effort," she says.
Institute began with
doctors, Krishnamurthy and Shantha, a single building with minimal
and therapeutic facilities and a cluster of 12 huts to house the
The only cancer hospital in south India, it was established with public
donations as a voluntary, charitable and non-profitable institution.
was a very difficult journey. Finances were hard to come by and daily
was a struggle. It was a frustrating and painful period because people
understand us. The first thing people asked me those days was, 'Where
trained?' My reply, 'Here in India, in Madras,' did not make many
recalls Dr. Shantha, who took over as the Institute's director and
when Dr. Krishnamurthy retired in 1979.
Shantha tries to lead
example and feels that if doctors worked in a corporate setup, they
probably earn three to four times the salary they are drawing here. "It
certainly disheartening when you see them go, but then they are
message of the Institute elsewhere. Those who stay behind are committed
cause." Dr. Shantha cannot be identified apart from her institution.
took over the cancer hospital 25 years ago and is as devoted to it as
when she joined in 1954. She doesn't think of a life beyond the
Service is of primary concern and working for a cause seems to
be-the-be-all-and-end-all for this noble lady.
don't seem to distract her dedication
though she has quite a few to her credit. She was honoured by the
International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR) with
for Outstanding Work in a Country with Limited Resources. CURE
Presentation during its inaugural function honoured doctors from India
abroad. Dr. V. Shantha, Adyar Cancer Institute was the Indian awardee.
not the least has been the Magsaysay Award (2003), another feather in
of this committed doctor. Her selfless service is an inspiration to all
humanity. Selfless service with endless journey reverberates her noble
commitment and keeps saving many from the clutches of death.
Ho Chi Minh
Joan of Arc