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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 July 2024

Yesterdate: This day from Calcutta’s past, June 15, 1863

On this day, Joseph Fayrer, professor of surgery at the Medical College of Calcutta who would later become surgeon-general of India, delivered the introductory address to the students of the medical college that year

Chandrima S. Bhattacharya Published 15.06.24, 06:35 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

On this day, Joseph Fayrer, professor of surgery at the Medical College of Calcutta who would later become surgeon-general of India, delivered the introductory address to the students of the medical college that year.

The speech, meant to prepare Indian students for what lay ahead, included the following passage:

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“Sights and objects to the untutored mind, revolting and disgusting; matters to be committed to memory that are at first dull, uninteresting and incomprehensible, or, at the best, but half understood; the greatest difficulty of all, the inaptitude, at first, for application to study of any kind; inability to fix the attention on strange matters taught in a foreign language, and of which, beyond the most ordinary expressions, the very meaning of its words is obscure — withal, I might add the difficulties thrown in your way by caste, the objections and prejudices of friends, the troubles that you share with many of your fellow labourers in all countries; — the “Res Augusta domi”; the difficulty of meeting the expenses of a protracted professional education, and yet, taking all these into consideration… one cannot but say that, on the whole, it is satisfactory, and that European rational Medicine has taken and secured a firm hold among you. It is calculated to prove one of the most potent of all Agents in harmonising differences, in subduing prejudices, and in developing the mutual sympathies and kindly feelings of the races.”

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