by M. N. Unni Nayar
Born in 1906, the last of four children to Madampath Lakshmikutty Amma and Edathara Vadakkekutala Ittikeshavan Nair and named Shankunni, Dr. M.S. Nair grew up as a boy with a mind of his own, opted to study medicine and modestly enrolled himself for the Licentiate Medical Practitioner (LMP) course of the University of Madras. On completion of his studies he got himself the job of Medical Officer in charge of the Government Rural Dispensary at Kongad in 1936.
In 1939 he married Sarala Devi, the eldest daughter of Smt. Ratnavalli Amma and Sri Verkot Krishnanunni Panikkar, who had then returned from service in Burma and settled down in Kongad. In 1941 their first son was born and named Krishnanunni.
The Second World War was in full force in Europe and with the entry of Japan, had made its presence felt in Asia and on the border of India and Burma. Dr. M.S. Nair responded to a call for candidates for Short Service Commissions in the Army Medical Corps. He served on the front and soon rose to be a Captain at the Base Hospital in Dibrugarh in Assam, where he took his family with him. With the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasakii in August 1945, the war ended and all short service commissioned medical personnel were terminated.
Captain M.S. Nair returned to Kerala after his Army service, looking for a place to settle down and establish private practice. He chose Perintalmanna because he liked the place and because the medical facilities outside Perintalmanna Government Hospital were very limited. He rented his first house in Angadippuram and his first clinic in Perintalmanna, barely 200 yards away from where it stands toady, and named the latter 'Ramdas Clinic' after his second son who was born around that time, and named Ramdas.
Soon after he came to Perintalmanna, he started as an Honorary Doctor in the Government Hospital, Perintalmanna for over a decade.
Almost from the inception of the Clinic, he was assisted by his nephew, Sukumaran, his eldest sister's youngest son who later qualified himself as a compounder. He helped in setting up a private pharmacy near the Government Hospital (which had no pharmacy) and gave him a hardworking helping hand throughout the period of the earlier build up of Ramdas Clinic and Nursing Home.
Their third and fourth sons Mohandas and Haridas and their fifth and last child, Nalini were all born in Perintalmanna. Ramdas, Mohandas and Haridas, all studied at the King Geroge's School in Belgaum. The first two completed studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belgaum, Ramdas as the gold medallist of the year 1970-71 and Mohandas just a notch below him in 1973-74. They joined their father at Perintalmanna. They also chose to marry medical doctors, Leela and Vishalakshi respectively, from Bombay and Madras Universities in the years 1974 and 1978, enhancing the strength of Ramdas Clinic and Nursing Home, and its reputation as an institution where patients receive the collective medical wisdom of all the doctors in house, sharing this on and off work and available for emergencies round the clock.
Both Krishnanunni and Haridas pursued non-medical studies at college. The premature passing away of their cousin Sukumaran in 1978 thrust them into the demanding task of managing the Nursing Home as it grew to be the 150 bedded Private Family Clinic and Nursing Home that it is today. The foundation stone of the first block was laid on 5th October 1946 by Dr. Mannadi Nair, the Surgeon General of Madras. The second was built in1974 and expanded until 1980.
When the second block was inaugurated in 1974 by Shri K. P. Kesava Menon, Editor of the Mathrubhumi, Dr. M.S. Nair made it clear that the first block would be dedicated to serving the poor.
The third, a surgical block was added in 1988. The earliest dispensary block had however to be brought down to accommodate additional rooms with better facilities and to house what today is a modern ICU, a physiotherapy unit, a diabetes center, and a holistic treatment center.
There are stories untold, known only to him and his family, where he had maintained equal or more vigil over some of his very poor patients. Compassion and concern, not merely cash, have been the guiding posts for the growth of this institution, which values good values.
On 21st January 1975, soon after his two sons had completed medical studies and his first daughter-in-law had started practice at the Nursing Home, he left for his heavenly abode, leaving Ramdas Clinic and Nursing Home in the competent care of his four sons, one daughter-in-law and his nephew who had been his administrative anchor from the beginning until his premature demise in 1978.
They were soon joined by one more daughter-in-law in 1979. They together with the help of well reputed and Senior visiting specialists and a band of able and devoted nurses and staff, have been able to earn it the reputation that it has today - a caring compassionate and conscientious nursing home, where appropriate and affordable professional care is available.
Thus the cherished desire of a self-made man, realistically choosing to become a medical doctor, modestly opting for an LMP course, accepting a posting in a small rural dispensary, courageously volunteering to serve on the battle front during the second world war, then single-mindedly pursing his vision of building a modest private family nursing home, with his own material and manpower resources in Perintalmanna, came to fruition.
Throughout this period the institution has conscientiously and competently served the community without any concern for class or creed, all during 30 years of his own lifetime in Perintalmanna and for another 30 years by his own kith and kin; together for a full sixty years till 2006-2007. This is indeed a worthy cause for celebration, a real tribute to a man of vision and to his children and family who have imbibed and pursued it with equal care and commitment to date.