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Homage to the Gurus

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Industry stalwarts remember their teachers on the occasion of Teacher’s Day

Ajit Singh

A person whose wisdom changed my life, in its own way, was the late Nobel Laureate, Sir James Black, the Research Scientist at GSK, UK whose work led to the development of Propranolol and Cimetidine.

I learnt that a recognition by the Nobel Prize Committee is not given only for expertise and new frontiers development in the narrow area of specialisation of the award winner. It is also for a broad and humanitarian view of our planet.

I learnt that one could talk to Sir James on almost every subject. For example, we even discussed about marriage and divorce, right down to how to avoid bureaucracy creeping into a growing organisation.

He said that his recipe for attacking bureaucracy would not be found in any book on Management. It was simply that, within an organisation, authority should never be given to a person to say No to any proposal unless that person has the authority to say Yes. I had to really ponder over it, to understand this deep, original concept.

My other substantial learning was from the late Professor Arnold Beckett who was Professor at Chelsea School of Pharmacy, London, U.K.

He visited India to lecture more than once. The presentation of his lectures were far ahead of his time, illustrated with beautifully composed slides and delivered in a powerful tone of voice that engaged attention of and enthused the audience. He was like an actor on the stage, and I learnt how active body movements and a varied modulation and tone of voice creates excitement in what could otherwise be a drab scientific lecture.

During one of his visits, Prof Arnold Beckett inaugurated a Scientific Pharmacy Museum that SciTech Centre/ Associated Capsules set up at the Principal K.M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Mumbai.

Ajit Singh, Chairman, ACG Worldwide

Dr Mahesh Burande

My favourite Teacher in Pharmacy is Dr JK Lala who was the Principal K.M.Kundanani College of Pharmacy Ulhasnagar. He was taking our subject Drug Store Management. While  taking this subject, without  any PPP during that time (1979), he was literally taking our mind to the Drug Store  by illustrating suitable examples, live situations, case studies,involving  us  and taking  suggestions from us and I think it was learning by participation and problem-based learning with command over language  and humour. I am also inspired by the teaching style of Dr Chandrakant Kokate, the first Pharmacy Teacher who became Vice Chancellor of University. His lectures would be full of information and statistics without any paper in front of him and wonderful quotes to start and end his speech. Currently, I am impressed with my friend Dr B Suresh, President, PCI, for the way he controls the crowd with humour and delivers new thoughts and concepts. Their styles of teaching inspired me to become a teacher and I am trying to teach and talk like them  as a teacher ,trainer and consultant who is appreciated today by pharma industries and pharma profession.

Dr Mahesh Burande, Director, Institute of Pharma Education and Research (IPER)

Dr Mayur Yergeri

I had some amazing teachers who taught me and some of these teachers went on to teach at universities in US. As naming one teacher will be bias on my part, I will take the some names of teachers who impacted my future and career — Dr VN Sonar, Dr RH Udupi, my PhD supervisor Dr KN Thimmaiah and Dr GJ Peters. One teacher who did not teach me but inspired was Dr Yellapragada Subbarow, a pioneer who discovered medicines like Tetracycline, Folic acid, Methotrexate, Aureomycin and Diethyl Carmabamzepine, we live longer today because of these medicines. Our Late President Dr Abdul Kalam’s Wings of Fire was inspiring for me and I brought and read this beautiful book five times. I also got an opportunity recently to be a Visiting Scientist with Dr GJ Peters who is a pioneer in Preclinical studies in cancer at the VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands on a sabbatical for a year to keep abreast the research happening in the field of cancer. It was a rewarding experience and I was a Postdoc with him a few years ago.

Dr Mayur Yergeri, Associate Dean and Professor, SPPSPTM

Dr Dinesh Dua

On Teacher’s Day on, I very fondly recall my Dronacharya Guru, Dr Ahmed, HoD Pharmacology. Early on in 1972, he saw a spark in me from the chemistry perspective besides potential in extracurricular activities and sports. With his continuous mentoring for five years of my academic career, I excelled in pharmacology. He encouraged me to prepare and qualify for MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad during 1977-79 which gave a great fillip to my career. Dr Ahmed strongly ingrained in me a huge significance for culture and a value system which I’m very proud of. Whatever I’m today, a huge credit goes to Dr Ahmed’s mentoring.

Dr Dinesh Dua, Vice Chairman, Pharmexcil, Chairman,Higher Education, CII North India

Dr N Udupa

I salute my great teacher, Dr G P Srivasatav. He motivated all students, mentored and largely was responsible for his students being gainfully engaged in the pharma industry. His letter of recommendations in 1970s were enough to fetch jobs in any place, in any industry, in any city, even abroad. Dr G P Srivastav was a popular teacher and always smiling, interacting with students in laboratories, class rooms. Under his mentorship, his students achieved great positions in national and international institutions in the pharma industry. We were fortunate to learn a lot of talents and technologies relevant to the pharma industry in those days. He helped us to dispose the dog from the laboratory after pharmacological experiment when technician was not available and the laboratory was stinking. He gave us a lesson and educated us that even if the technician is not available, we can go ahead with our experiment and research. Even during strikes and student unrest, he was the one allowing the students like me to come and enter from the backdoor to work in the laboratory and use the library. We will not get such great teachers these days.

However, he passed away in Varanasi in the year 1976 when I had just completed my M Pharm. I cannot forget my teacher of pharmacy, Dr Srivasatav who is responsible for making me and shaping me as a pharmacy teacher and researcher.

– Dr N Udupa, Professor and Research Director (Health Sciences), Manipal University, Manipal

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

On Teachers’ Day I always talk about my favourite teacher, Anne Warrior. She was a fascinating person who taught me to think for myself, to excel in everything I do and to do things differently and creatively in order to make a difference. Once, she got us to creatively spruce up a wilting garden patch in school into a designer cactus garden over a weekend to win our class ‘The Garden Patch of the Year’ award! Now when I look back, I realize that her unconventionality rubbed off on me and led me later in life to break convention and do many of the things that were considered pioneering for young women in the 1970s.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon

Dr Arun Garg

Prof B Suresh, the Honourable Vice-Chancellor of JSS University, Mysore, was my Ph.D supervisor and is my ideal teacher! Prof Suresh has been actively involved in uplifting the quality and standards of pharmacy education and profession in India for the past 30 years.

It was Prof B Suresh who gave me the opportunity and encouraged me to indulge myself in pharma research especially on drug utilisation to ensure and improve the safety and quality of the life of diabetic patients. It was this humanitarian concern of my teacher that has made me become fully committed to indulge in the issues and problems of diabetic patients around. On the very first day in JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty, Prof Suresh introduced Dr David Kosh from Adelaide, Australia, to me and encouraged me to interact with him. With utmost care, Dr Kosh went through my concepts and improved my understanding of the drug utilisation studies. It is this generous and selfless attitude of my teacher that enabled me to have a wider circle of pharmacy related academicians. Prof Suresh’s nurturing and encouragement has helped me a lot to enrich my professional career. Last, but not the least, I would like to share with you that Prof Suresh as a human being is very supportive and always gives right guidance and suggestion with clear objectives and aims.

Dr Arun Garg, General Secretary – IPGA, Prof. & Dean, School of Medical & Allied Sciences KR Mangalam University, Gurgaon

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