THE INDIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (IMA)
A HISTORICAL REVIEW
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the national organization of “Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine”, was formed in 1928. Today, the IMA has around 1,78,000 members belonging to different branches of medical profession and function through a network of more than 1700 local branches, located in different part of India. The journey from 1928 to the present strength is an interesting study of the organisation
The doctors of Bengal formed an Association named Bengal Medical Association in 1885 under the Presidency of Rai Bahadur Dr. Lal Madhav Mukherjee. Under the initiative of the leaders of Bengal Medical Association, ‘The Calcutta Medical School & College of Physician & Surgeons of Bengal’ was established in Calcutta in 1886. Almost 10 years of functioning of Bengal Medical Association the patriotic doctors felt the need of an all India body of medical persons. They first formed “Indian Medical Association” under the President ship of Rai Bahadur, Dr. Lal Madhav Mukherjee, with Dr. J.R. Wallace as the secretary. Their Headquarters and Office was at Calcutta. Their official organ was “Indian Medical Records” published from Calcutta by Dr. J.R.Wallace as Editor. After the implementation of Indian Medical Degree Act in 1916 all over India, the then medical leaders of India especially those from Bengal Medical Association felt the need one All India platform for Doctors. The first systematic attempt to hold an All India Medical Conference was at the initiative of Bengal Medical Association in 1917.
The 1st All India Medical Conference was held at Calcutta in 1917 under the President ship of Lt. Col. Raghavendra Rao, President, Bengal Medical Association at Belgachhia Medical College' with Sir. Dr. Nilratan Sircar as the Chairman of the Reception Committee. The 2nd All India Medical Conference was held at Delhi in 1918 with Sir Nilratan Sircar as the President and Dr. J. K. Sen as Chairman, Reception Committee. The 3rd All India Medical Conference was held at Amritsar in 1919 with Dr. M. N. Odhedar as its President. The 4th All India Medical Conference was held at Nagpur in 1920 under the Presidentship of Rai Bahadur Dr. Maharaj Krishnan Kapur of Lahore and Dr. G. R. Tambe being the Chairman, Reception Committee.
This was followed by a long period of hibernation of 8years. During this period, the General Medical Council of United Kingdom withdrew recognition of Medical degrees of some Indian Universities. The Government of India proposed to form a Medical Council of India with an official majority. This created a feeling of utter dissatisfaction in the profession.
A meeting of all Medical Practitioners was called at Calcutta on 30 July 1928 under the President ship of Dr. Sundari Mohan Das, President, Bengal Medical Association on 30 July 1928, it was resolved that the 5th All India Medical Conference will be held at Calcutta during the Christmas Week (a tradition still followed). On 28 December 1928, during the 5th All India Medical Conference under the Presidentship of Dr. G. V. Deshmukh of Bombay and Sir Dr. Nilratan Sircar as Chairman Reception Committee, a resolution was adopted forming an “All India Medical Association” with the objects of promotion and advancement of medical and allied sciences in their different branches, the improvement of public health and medical education in India and the maintenance of honor and dignity of the medical profession. It was further resolved that the body must be registered under Society Registration Act XXI of 1860. A committee was formed with Dr. G. V. Deshmukh of (Bombay) as President, Sir Dr. Nilratan Sircar and Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy of Calcutta as Vice-Presidents, Dr. Kumud Sarkar Ray, Dr. Aghar Nath Ghosh of Calcutta and Dr. D. D. Sathaya of Poona as Secretaries, Dr. J.N.Moitra of Calcutta as Treasurer. Dr. Sundari Mohan Das, Dr. Charu Banerjee, Dr. B. L. Majumdar, Dr. A. D. Mukherjee, Dr. S. C .Sengupta, Dr. Santiram Chatterjee, Dr. N. N. Basu, Dr. K. M. Bose, Dr. A. C. Ukil of Calcutta, Dr. Rama Rao of Madras, Dr. Rewa Chand of Karachi, Dr. P.B.Mukherjee of Patna were members of the committee. It was resolved that ‘Five Members would form the quorum’ and its head office be located at Calcutta. The association will have its own Journal. This led to the formation of the organization the “All India Medical Association.”
The 6th All India Medical Association was held at Madras in 1929. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy presided over the meeting at Madras where the nomenclature was modified as “Indian Medical Association (IMA)” and since then IMA has been known as such by its popular name and the only organization of qualified medical persons of India. The IMA Head Quarter was situated at 6 A, Corporation Street, Calcutta. On 19 May 1934, the “All India Medical Association” was registered under the Societies Registration Act, XXI of 1860 by Registrar of Joint Stock Companies of Bengal at Calcutta (vide Regn No. 325 of 1934-35 dated 19.05.34) with its Headquarters at 6 A, Corporation Street, Calcutta and later shiefted to 67, Dharmatala Street, Calcutta and then to 23, Samavaya Mansion, Calcutta where it continued till 1949.
The association had come into being at a time when there was political unrest and the country was passing through great turmoil. Yet, it was a matter of immense satisfaction that the stalwarts of the medical profession in those days like Dr. K. S. Ray, Sir Nilratan Sircar, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, Dr. M. A. Ansari, Col. Bhola Nath, Major M. G. Naidu, Dr. B. N. Vyas, Dr. D. Silva, Dr. N. A. Ghosh, Dr. D. A. Chakravarthi, Dr. Viswanathan, and Capt. B. V. Mukherjee actively participated in the promotion of the Association. Some of these stalwarts were also active in the Indian National Congress and had their terms in the jail for participating in the struggle for participating in the struggle for Independence of the country.
In 1934, after the “All India Medical Association” was registered at Calcutta, Bengal Medical Association which was playing the pivotal role till 1934 stopped functioning as an independent body and became a Provincial Branch of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and was named as “IMA Bengal Provincial Branch” with Lt. Col. K. K. Chatterjee as the President. After Independence the Bengal Province became Bengal State and likewise IMA Bengal Provincial Branch became IMA Bengal State Branch.
The IMA Headquarters Office at 23 Samavaya Mansion, Calcutta at the suggestion of Dr. S. C. Sen supported by Dr. B. V. Mulay, Dr. Chamanlal C. Mehta and Maj. General Amirchand, was shifted to Delhi in January 1949, after the attainment of Independence. But the Journal of IMA (JIMA) continued to be published from Calcutta. Initially the IMA HeadQuarter was located at Hanging Bridge, Fair Bazar, Dariyaganj, Delhi. In 1958, Dr. S. C. Sen obtained a plot of land in Indraprastha Estate, New Delhi at the concessional rates from the Government of India and the project of construction of IMA Building thereon was undertaken, supported by Dr. B. V. Mulay, Dr. Chamanlal Mehta, Dr. C.S.Thakar, Dr. A. P. Mitra, Dr. Ved Prakash, Dr. R. C. Goulatia, Dr. P.C. Bhatia and Dr. D. S. Mehra. The foundation stone of IMA House was laid by the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad on September 19, 1958 and the construction of the building was started under the supervision of Dr. P. C. Bhatia who supervised it brick by brick. With his untiring efforts, the building was completed and opened on September 6, 1964 by the then President of India, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.
During the British Rule, some selected members of the profession were members of the British Medical Association which had branches in India. The stalwarts of IMA ultimately succeeded in reaching an agreement with British Medical Association that they would have no branches in India and got mutually affiliated, which relationship continues even today.
In 1964, IMA helped in the organization of the world body viz., the World Medical Association and thus became its founder member through the efforts of Dr. S. C. Sen, Dr. R. V. Sathe, the then President, IMA held the chair of the President of WMA when the WMA met in New Delhi in 1962. It’s a matter of pride that another illustrious Past President of IMA Dr. A.K.N. Sinha also held the office of the WMA. The IMA has been playing an important role in the deliberations of the World Medical Association at New Delhi in 1966. Later developments, however, forced us to take decision to withdraw from World Medical Association in 1985, since the organization refused to expel South Africa despite its dismal record of racial discrimination. The Indian Medical Association after consideration of all aspects of the matter decided in February 1993 that IMA may again become a member of the World Medical Association. In pursuance of the above, 45th General Assembly of the World Medical Association at its meeting held on October 2–5, 1993 approved IMA’s membership of the WMA.
The IMA continues to play an important role in the affairs of the Commonwealth Medical Association.
The association has been pursuing the academic activities and continuing education of its members through its academic wings viz., IMA College of General Practitioners (IMA CGP) and the IMA Academy of Medical Specialities (IMAAMS). Through the IMA CGP which is a Founder member of the World Organization of the National Colleges and Academies, (WONCA), third Conference on General Practice was hosted by the IMA in 1968. It is a matter of pride that the first ever Fellowship of the World Organization was conferred on one of our illustrious Past Presidents, Dr. P.C. Bhatia.
Over the period of 82 years, the IMA, through its 1470 branches with a total membership of 12 lakhs throughout the country has been rendering yeoman’s service in the field of health care delivery, disease control and eradication. Its services to the community during natural calamities like earthquakes, droughts and floods, famines and epidemics in the pre and post-Independence periods have been highly lauded. Its role and involvement in the formulation and implementation of National Health Programmes e.g. Family Welfare, Maternal and Child Health, Universal Immunization Programme, Oral Rehydration Therapy, AIDS Prevention, Control and Management etc., has been highly significant and has received recognition by the Central and state Governments and the UNICEF. The IMA and its branches have been running many community service Projects and a number of branches have established Family Welfare Clinics, Immunization Centers, Ambulance Services, Blood Banks, Polio Eradications and RCH programmes,
IMA MOVEMENT IN GOA
In the year 1964, after Liberation, the first seed of the Indian Medical Association were sown at Margao, followed by Panaji. Other IMA local branches came to existence slowly. The association was initially named the IMA Goa, Daman and Diu Territorial Branch, formed in the year 1969. After Goa became a full-fledged State, on 30th May, 1987, it was renamed as IMA Goa State Branch, since then the IMA activities in Goa have increased and continued up to now without interruption. In spite of all the earlier ups and downs, today under IMA Goa State Branch, there are active seven local IMA branches: Margao, Ponda, Tiswadi, Bardez, Curchorem-Quepem-Sanguem and Bicholim, with total membership over 1000.
It was in 1962 that the first meeting of the medical professionals from Margao was held in presence of Dr. R.V. Sathe, IMA National President for the year 1961-62, from Bombay and Dr. Arhur D’Sa, at behest of Dr. Kenkre, of Goa Medical College. (Founder) IMA Margao Branch: Dr. Silvano Rebello (President), Dr. Devdatta Kerkar (Secretary) and Dr. Antonio Gracias (Treasurer). The Panjim Branch was started with 12 members.
Dr. P. Karpe, the State Secretary in the formative years narrates his experiences from that period. “There were very few members in the branch. We used to meet once a month and the members attending the meeting could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Dr. Priolkar, the Kerkars, the Prabhu Desais, Drs.Fondekar, Carvalho,, Nagvekar, Narciv Naik, my wife and myself. With Dr. Priolkar as President and me as the secretary we decided to work to increase the strength both at the branch level and state level. We revived the defunct Ponda branch with our first meeting at Municipal Hall Ponda. When Dr. P. V. K. Ghanekar was the president we went to Panaji to revive that branch. In the face of some difficulties, we rejuvenated that branch as the Tiswadi branch. In the same year, the Vasco branch was revived. Also during Dr. Ghanekar’s term in office, the Bardez branch was formed at a meeting at the Tourist Hostel. During J. S. Raikar’s presidency, the Curchorem-Quepem-Sanguem branch was formed, with the first meeting held at Dr. Satish Kudchadkar’s house.”
First Life Members of IMA from Panjim Branch: Sakharam G. Gude from Shiroda ,Dr. Eshvant Kudchadkar from Panaji and Dr. Raghunath V.P. Nachinolkar from Santa-Cruz.
IMA Trust was formed during the year 1998-99, with Dr. Anil Gaunekar as Chairman& Dr. Sheikh Mohamad Iqbal as Managing Trustee with Dr. A. Y. Kharangate and Dr. Anand Kamat & Dr. Moraskar as trustees. The formation of the Trust was initiated by Dr. Raut Desai, President, and Dr. Gladstone D’Costa as Secretary. It was during this period that the IMA Goa State Branch was formally registered with the Registrar of Societies with the updated constitution.
The first Goa, Daman and Diu territorial branch conference was organized in 1975 in Ponda under the leader ship of Dr.M. M. Khemnani, and second one under the president ship of Dr D R Priolkar.
The Ist Goa State conference (GIMACON) was organized by IMA Margao Branch in 1989 and since than 24 annual conferences were organized by the seven local branches of IMA Goa state.
The IMA Goa state constitution was originally written in 1989 by the team consisting of Dr. Uday Nagarsekar, Dr. Gaitonde, Dr. D..Bhonsle, Dr.G.M.Kamat and Dr.P.V.K.Ghanekar. This was amended in 1998 by Dr Gladstone D’Costa, with his subcommittee of Dr. S Sapeco, Dr. Anton Rodrigues, Dr. R. Hegde and the late Dr. N.K.Naik, and registered. The Constitution was later redrafted by Dr. D’Costa along with Dr Anil Mehndiratta in 2012 to its present form.
The details of the various committees, the GIMACON venues, Orators and the felicities are attached in the excel sheet.
This article would not be possible had it not been for the sincere inputs provided by Dr Damodar Bhonsule, Dr Uday Nagarsekar , Dr P R Kharpe and Dr Gladstone D’Costa.
The information collated in this article is accurate to the best of my knowledge. Any inaccuracies or omissions that may have crept in are inadvertent and regretted.
Dr Anil Mehndiratta,
IMA Goa State Branch Secretary 2012