Born On: October 10, 1910
Born In: Sholapur, Maharashtra, India
Died On: December 9, 1942
No other Indians can claim the kind of adulation and reverence that Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis enjoys in China. A legendary Indian physician, who dedicated his entire life working as a battlefront doctor in China, is indeed a name to reckon with. Applauded for his selfless service that he doled out to the injured Chinese soldiers during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Dr. Kotnis' contribution towards humanity is no mean feat. Fondly dubbed as "Black Mother" by the Chinese villagers, Dr. Kotnis role in solidifying relations between China and India has been humungous. During his lifetime, he was voted as one of the ten most influential foreigners. Coming from a family of doctors, Dr. Kotnis always dreamt of becoming a physician. And the War of Resistance gave him the perfect opportunity to make himself useful in the battle field. However, due to inclement weather, inadequate diet, and enormous work strain, Dr. Kotnis passed away at an early age of 32. Read more to know interesting life of the Dr. Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis.
Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis was born in a lower middle class family on October 10, 1910 in Sholapur, Mumbai. A vivacious kid by nature, Dr. Kotnis forever aspired to become a doctor. After completing his graduation in medicine from G. S. Medical College, Bombay, he went on to pursue his post-graduation internship. However, he shelved his post-graduation plans when he got the chance to join the medical aid mission to China. Sensing the crisis there, he willingly volunteered to help the people.
Dr. Kotnis always wanted to travel around the world and practice medicine in different parts of the globe. He started his medical expedition in Vietnam, and then, moved on to Singapore and Brunei. In 1937, the communist General Zhu De requested Jawaharlal Nehru to send Indian physicians to China during the Second Sino-Japanese War to help the soldiers. The President of the Indian National Congress, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose accepted the request and made arrangements to send a team of volunteer doctors. A medical team of five doctors was sent as the part of Indian Medical Mission Team in September 1938. The medical team comprised of M. Atal, M. Cholkar, D. Kotnis, B.K. Basu and D. Mukerji. After the war, all other doctors except Dr. Kotnis, returned back to India. However, Dr. Kotnis decided to stay back and serve at the military base. He initially started his work in Yan'an and then went to the anti-Japanese base area in North China where he worked in the surgical department of the Eighth Route Army General Hospital as the physician-in-charge. Kotnis made China his home and joined the Communist Party of China in July 1942.He also worked as a lecturer for sometime in the Military area at the Dr. Bethune Hygiene School. He took over the post of the first president of the Bethune International Peace Hospital after Dr. Norman Bethune passed away.
Dr. Kotnis' major contribution was his selfless service to the Chinese soldiers in the battlefield during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He had the heart to stay back in China, even when his colleagues left, just for serving the wounded soldiers during the war. Because of his loyalty, the young Indian doctor became a legendary figure in China.
Awards And Accolades
Dwarkanath Kotnis was honored by China with a gold medal during Sino-Japan war of 1938, for saving thousands of Chinese lives.
Dr. Kotnis died of a sudden seizure attack in December 1942 at the age of 32 years.
To commemorate his death and his unparalleled contribution to humanity, the Chinese government erected a memorial hall and issued government stamps on the loving memory of his name. Back home, Dr. Kotnis gained popularity posthumously after the publication of his best-selling biography "One Who Did Not Come Back" in 1945. But that is not all. Dwarkanath Kotnis has been commemorated with the Canadian Dr. Bethune in the Martyrs' Memorial Park in Shijiazhuang with the entire south side of the memorial dedicated to Dr. Kotnis.
1910: Born in Sholapur, Maharashtra, India
1936: Graduated from the Grant Medical College, Bombay
1938: He arrived in China
1939: He went to Hong Kong
1941: Guo and Dr. Kotnis were married.
1942: Kotnis joined the Communist Party of China
1942: Died of epilepsy.