To write an ode for one’s Teacher is both a matter of privilege, pleasure and pride. Being a disciple of Late Dr. J.N.Kanjilal, the author had an opportunity to know the Master Homoeopath intimately. In every fibre of his soul he was a Homoeopath. His genius, in countless instances, was manifested not only by the tactful approach towards his patients complaints but also the untiring work in the academics of this therapeutic art. It shall be a fitting tribute to Him, if by following his life and works, we may in some way improvise our knowledge of our system and renew our commitments towards the goal of our lives, just as He did.
Birth -30th August 1908 – A Red letter day in the history of Indian Homoeopathy. On this day, in a small hamlet of East Bengal, the present Bangladesh, was born our Guru Dr. Jnananedra Nath Kanjilal. After completing his medical education at the Carmichael Medical College (MB 1936) he started his practice at a small village called Daulatpur near Khulna in 1938.
Transformation – Being a staunch Freedom fighter, he was jailed at Khulna. It was there, in the dark prison rooms that he had a tryst with homoeopathy. Being an avid reader, he immediately took this newer approach to treat the sick and drowned him self in the basics of homoeopathy. The severe epidemic of 1940 of Cerebral Malaria in his village changed his life forever. He found remarkable success with Homoeopathic medications in controlling the epidemic. This inculcated in Him a deep sense of commitment and respect for Homoeopathy. He proceeded to complete his D.M.S. Diploma and M.B.S. Degree from the State faculty, Homoeopathic Medicine, West Bengal.
Professional career – Being a Master academician, he was associated with D.N.Dey Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Kolkatta. He taught various subjects as Pathology, Clinical Medicine, Materia Medica, Philosophy and Gynaecology. A firm believer in the original Hahnemannian thoughts, he often remarked “Scientific training differentiates a therapist from a quack.”. Having a roaring practice at Kolkatta his approach to the patient and prescriptions blended perfectly with the principles of the Organon.
Academic Associations - He was a Life member and a General Council member of the All India Homoeopathic Medical Association. He was also the only member of the Central Council of All India Institute of Homoeopathy simultaneously. An indefatigable crusader for unity, he was the founder of the West Bengal Homoeopathic Federation and went on to unify the two All India Associations to form The Homoeopathic Medical Association of India. The homoeopathic fraternity as a token of gratitude and acknowledgement of the services he rendered, bestowed the coveted chair of the President of Honor for life. There was no National committee appointed by the Government of India, without Him being its vital force. Some of these being the Research Committee, Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Committee, Planning Commission Task Force, etc. He was the Assistant International Vice President for India of the International Homoeopathic Medical League and also president of the All India Homoeopathic Editors Guild. Till before his retirement about a year ago, he was a regular participant in the International Congresses.
I can recount an instance worth mentioning which depicted his deep sense of commitment to the Hahnemannian philosophy and an unwavering zeal that set him apart from the rest. It was at the time when a discussion was taking place at the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia committee of the Drug Technical Advisory Board of India on inclusion of patents in homoeopathic pharmacopoeia. Without giving any second thought, when his objections were getting over-ruled he immediately placed his resignation letter. Along with him Late Dr. P Sankaran and myself were the members. It was only after a negotiated settlement that the parent drugs like Alfalfa, Cineria maritima, Euphrasia, etc were retained in pure forms and no mixtures were allowed. With his characteristic fervor and single minded efforts, he fought for the recognition of the qualified homoeopaths of India for being recognized as full fledged members of the International Homoeopathic league instead of being classified as second – rate associate members. He was perhaps the only one to return his M.B.S. degree following criticism regarding the modalities of the awards.
Publications - His contribution to the academic and scientific field is outstanding. He has published several extremely useful papers. His hard hitting editorials in the popular journal Hahnemannian Gleanings on a variety of subjects were an eye opener and food for thought. He was one of the torch bearers and advisor of the Homoeopathic Heritage as well as the editor of the Journal of the Homoeopathic Medical Association of India. He even offered valuable suggestions and his own precious rare books for reprint. He was ready to sacrifice anything for a cause or a principle.
Even in his ripe old age, in fact just for a year previous to his death, he remained very mobile and used to attend all conferences and meetings in India and abroad where his august presence was required. He was a colossus in the Homoeopathic field - a multifacetted personality, the like of which shall be very difficult to duplicate again.
On his One Hundred and Second birth anniversary, I pay my humble tributes to this doyen of Homoeopathy.