Friday, September 13, 2013

Terror strikes in Kashmir : Kashmir loses a poor man’s doctor in Jalal’s demise

Dr. Sheikh Jalal a well-known cardiologist was cast for a role at the international level and had he opted for New Delhi he would have earned bigger laurels as a medical scientist. But he preferred Kashmir to a bigger role at the national level. However, the state lost a doctor who treated the poor. He died after a month-long battle in the AIIMs in New Delhi.

Dr Sheikh Jalal,who was loved by the senior faculty members at the AIIMS when he was simply a student undergoing postgraduate courses in cardiology,opted for his homeland, Pampore-Srinagar simply to serve people in the valley. And for about three decades he served people, irrespective of their creed, cast, region or economic status.

Yes, a number of intellectuals, academicians, poets, writers, journalists, doctors and political leaders have lost their lives in the 23-year long militancy related violence but the valley may not be able to bear the loss it has suffered in the death of Dr Sheikh Jalal.

Dr. Sheikh Jalal died on Saturday at All India Institute of Medical Sciences a month after he was critically injured in a terror attack at his hometown of Pampore in Kashmir. Terrorists  attacked him and his gunmen on July 18, in which two security men were killed on the spot and Dr Sheikh  Jalal received serious injuries.

Hospital administration sources at AIIMS confirmed Dr. Sheikh Jalal's death and said that his post mortem was being conducted by a team of doctors. His body would be flown to Srinagar for funeral rites by an afternoon flight even as some J&K Government officials were trying to arrange a special air carrier.

Formerly Director of SKIMS tertiary care hospital and Head of Cardiology department Dr. Sheikh Jalal had been attacked by suspected terrorists near his ancestral home in Dr. Sheikh JALAL's street, Pampore on July 18. Both of his personal security guards had died in the broad daylight attack.

Dr Sheikh Jalal,was a down-to-earth more of a human being than a medical practitioner. Money was never his love and had it been the case he would have become a multi-millionaire during the his 45 year long active service. One has yet to see a son as dutiful as Dr Jalal who preferred to be by the side of his mother, a widow, to earning laurels as a cardiologist in New Delhi.

Son of a Pampore Dr Sheikh Jalal
had achieved eminence by his caliber as a cardiologist. And those patients from Jammu and Kashmir who would visit New Delhi or Chandigarh for treatment to their heart ailments would usually refer those patients back to Dr Sheikh Jalal.

People and politicians in the valley had complete trust in his expertise as a cardiologist. Had it not been the case Sheikh Abdullah would have not opted for Dr Sheikh Jalal’s opinion when he (Sheikh) fell ill in August-September 1982. Dr Sheikh  Jalal spent a number of weeks in the house located behind the Nedous Hotel on the Maulana Azad Road in Srinagar tending to the ailing leader. Though some of the eminent cardiologists from New Delhi and other parts of the country had visited the Sheikh they prescribed medicines only after seeking opinion from Dr Sheikh  Jalal.

Unfortunately he had become victim of what one would call “dirty political intrigues within Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura,Srinagar, where he joined as a cardiologist and rose to become its Director. I have not been able to fathom the reason for being in the centre of one controversy or the other. He was a doctor,a gantleman who was misunderstood by his colleagues, by political leaders and never by patients.

Dr Sheikh Jalal had many interesting anecdotes to say.One pertained to a senior doctor in the AIIMS. .One eminent surgeon, Dr Atma Prakash, had t aken ill during the middle of a night. He used to reside within the faculty complex of the AIIMS. Since he had faith in Dr Sheikh  Jalal Atma Prakash called for the young doctor. Dr Sheikh Jalal administered all medicines that were required to revive his heart. But he died in the morning.

Whe his body was being carried to the cremation ground Dr Sheikh Jalal was one among a big group of mourners accompanying the body. A couple of sleuths of an Indian intelligence agency,who also accompanied the body,were heard by Jalal asking each other “why Atma Prakash had summoned a muslim when there were other senior doctors available for help ?” They went even to the extent of smelling some mischief from Dr Sheikh Jalal.

Alas! Dr  Sheikh  Jalal survived that incident but could not save himself from the bullets of terrorist. His death is a big loss to his wife, mother and children but a bigger loss to the people of Kashmir.

What could have been the reason for unidentified terrrorist to attak Dr Sheikh Jalal ? He was highly gullible. He placed trust in everybody and would open his heart before strangers too.

His mother would be waiting for her son to get up and have “namkeen chai”(tea added with salt and milk) and chappati made of maize flour for his breakfast. Personally I believe that Dr Sheikh  Jalal was a symbol of a man of simple living and high thinking. He did not move out of of Pampore and settle somewhere in Srinagar when he had the option. He had no love for comforts and that is why rustic life suited him.But the gunmen thought otherwise. Peace be to his soul. (KIP)