Sanjeeva Narayan
5 min readSep 29, 2023



1. Growing up in an academic environment the belief that teaching and medicine were/are the two most noble professions with closest proximity to God was repeatedly talked about and ingrained in me. And, of course, as the un-stoppable time machine continued its irreversible forward march, the belief got indelibly etched in my thought process. Just to give a proper perspective, the inherent nobility of both these professions mirrors their respective missions to deliver humanity from the twin scourges of ignorance (by disseminating knowledge) and affliction (by treating disease) — thereby leading to mental and physical equanimity and stability. I wrote about the nobility of the teaching profession and the significance of Gurus in our life in an earlier blog, I propose here to raise a toast to the medical fraternity.

2. Having family members (who are more than friends) and friends (who are more than family) as Doctors and having had the (rather unfortunate opportunity) to deal with multiple medical issues in the family, the belief in the unbounded and unparalleled nobility of the medical profession has only got strengthened and permanently ingrained over time. The unidirectional single-minded and obsessively focused mission to deliver the patient from the ravages of illness, pain and discomfort is invariably, undoubtedly, patently transparent in almost all practitioners of this profession. And mind you this is regardless of their geographical location, level of academic/professional qualification, institution which they may be connected with or have been instrumental in conceiving, incubating and nurturing, whether in academics or in professional practice and, of course, the particular system of medicine they might profess to. I do have fond and even touching memories of various doctors (family friends and even unknown Doctors) who have been of incalculable assistance when my family, specially my parents and other elders suffered medical crises. Going much beyond their ordained call of duty, they have acted as friends, advisors, counsellors and, not to forget, offered a comforting shoulder to lean on in the face of tragedies, sometimes of monumental proportions.

3. The practice of medicine even exhibits a holy convergence between the apparently divergent streams of arts and science. Although, trained and educated in the science of medicine with its focus on logical hypothesis, evidence based systemic methodology and experimentation, its practice invariably manifests as an art (with its may be somewhat inexactitude and perhaps subjective focus) based inevitably on experience, thoughts, emotions etc involving skilful and dexterous application of knowledge. This juxtaposition involving the heart to be exercised as much as the head encapsulated in practitioners of medicine while making it all the more exciting is perhaps also the ultimate manifestation of the piety and nobility of this profession. My not so limited experience tells me that Doctors invariably practice the art of medicine with a deep-rooted love which in turn reflects an even profound and deeper love/concern for humanity which no other profession save teaching exemplifies. And, of course, no other profession is, perhaps more challenging, evolving, gratifying or noble.

4. Having seen some of the most enviable torchbearers of this profession, in a few cases even at close quarters, I can safely attest to challenges they face at all stages of their career starting with entry with the inevitable scramble for admissions (demand far exceeding supply and many medical schools having rather unsavoury reputations and questionable credentials), to the hard work put through medical school wherein reaching a certain level of acceptable competence could end up requiring a decade or even more to finding your feet in the profession (whatever area — academics, private practice or even corporate hospitals to name a few), the need to constantly upgrade your intellectual database, keep abreast of latest developments, attaining a reasonable level of financial stability and of course dealing with multitudes of patients with mindsets ranging from the irritable, inquisitive, testy or even hypochondriacs ( to give just some examples) the list of challenges continues and only makes any lay person bow ones head in unashamed reverence.

5. While doctors in academic institutions have to wear multiple hats-teaching, research, tending to patients, even attending to administrative work making their jobs even tougher, medical professionals in other institutions (corporate hospitals/nursing homes. poly clinics or the like) or even those going solo, even if motivated by some financial gain have a life no less stressful or less noble. Armed with the power to treat diseases and quell illness and of course sworn on the Hippocrates oath, the medical fraternity invariably and inevitably adheres to the tenets of competence, candour, commitment, passion and of course, the highest standards of professional discipline in the course of their work.

6. Of course, I have often heard certain nay sayers, commenting latter derisively and unfortunately at that of how the Hippocrates oath seems to have mutated into a hypocritic Oath. While I have invariably picked up a fight with these debauched ( I hate to call them such) human beings, the profession (save and except a few dishonourable numerically absolutely insignificant members) has exhibited, and I am sure will continue to adhere to its time-tested principles and ethics in future also.

7. I would like to embellish my appreciation for medical fraternity with a couple of personal examples and experience. I can never forget when, a couple of decades ago, when my late father was hospitalised, an intern who was just taking baby steps into the profession dutifully and personally tended to him even going to the extent of sitting and chatting with him frequently and often enough even cleaning and feeding him — mind you with no previous acquaintance or interaction. Even family members and friends (both inexorably intertwined and I have been privileged to have plenty of both) invariably have gone the extra-mile, and often enough activated their friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the medical fraternity to offer incalculable help.

7. One has to just visit any of the public hospitals and institutions (I would not name them specifically for that would be belittling the countless others) to witness the throng of people swarming there and the incalculable patience, calm and compassion with which the medical professionals, often well-known names in their respective fields handle the pressure. Not to forget even those working in private hospitals where while economic and commercial pressures do mount, the sight of doctors going beyond the call of duty and delicately balancing the commercial interests of the organization, with patient welfare/well-being and ethical practices is invariably common. While a few bad apples may and as invariably happens, do sully its image, the medical profession was and remains an epitome of nobility and a torchbearer of excellence with its single minded focus on delivering humanity from the spectre of disease and the curse of illness.

8. The Ancient Greek Physician Hippocrates widely regarded as the Father of modern medicine very wisely said — “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity”. Appreciate and admire this profession to foster love of humanity and to count and appreciate your blessings.