The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctor at home on holiday

Srinagar, July 23: Dr Sushil Razdan, a neurologist, went to the meadow of flowers — Gulmarg — on a two-day break with his family.

Hundreds of Kashmiris followed the scent of ether that hangs in the trail of men of medicine. Sadly, neither Lal Krishna Advani nor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed can tomtom the rush to Gulmarg as another sign of the improving “law and order situation” in the Valley. Certainly not after the two strikes on Vaishno Devi devotees and an army camp in Jammu.

The Kashmiris went carting MRI reports, CAT scans and X-rays. Dr Razdan’s ambulatory dispensary hummed and the doctor did not appear to mind too much.

“You see, the medical profession and anger are incompatible. You cannot be expected to treat patients if you suffer from intemperate behaviour,” he said when asked about these incursions on his privacy, that too on holiday.

Dr Razdan left the Valley over a decade ago, as did many other Kashmiri Pundits like him, targeted as they had been by militants. But the Valley did not leave him. It went with him to Jammu city, where the doctor resettled to set up his clinic.

Hundreds of Kashmiris streamed down from the mountains to the plains of Jammu — to them Dr Razdan’s touch is more than the touch of an ordinary doctor — they believe he heals with his hands.

At the Jammu clinic, 80 per cent of his patients are from the Valley. “This has never made me feel that I have left my home in Srinagar,” Dr Razdan said.

The doctor still has his home in Srinagar’s Jawahar Nagar residential colony, which, unlike many other Pundits, he has not sold.

“I have been taking care to do up the house each year through my Muslim friends in the Valley. It is my firm belief that sooner or later I shall be back amid my Muslim neighbours who have been guarding my abandoned house with the hope that one day they shall again find me living among them.”

He did come to live among them, though for just about a week, and stayed in the house of a schoolmate. Dr Razdan travelled, almost ceaselessly, south to north, visiting friends, sipping cups of saffron-rich kehwa (the Kashmiri green tea), and, most of all, attending to patients.

“He is not just a highly competent doctor, he is essentially a nice human being,” said Ghulam Nabi, 62, whose son has been the doctor’s patient for the last 20 years as he suffers seizures.

Twenty years and still under treatment' Ghulam Nabi understood the quizzical look and smiled. “Perhaps you don’t know. The most important thing in seizure treatment is that fits do not recur. My son has been episode-free for 15 years.”

Towards the end of his visit, during which Dr Razdan saw around thousand patients free of cost, he went to see a friend. Shortly, the house was converted into a makeshift clinic with the friend and his wife regulating the flow of patients.

When the doctor left for the airport, there were tears in the eyes of those he had treated and those who were waiting for his attention. Dr Razdan smiled weakly. “This is my land and I shall return to it one day.”

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