Lives of the fellows

Thottakat Bhaskara Menon

b.4 May 1898 d.12 September 1948
MB BS Madras(1921) MD Madras(1926) DSc Edin(1937) MRCP(1926) FRCP(1940)

Dr Bhaskara Menon was the son of C. Ramunni Menon, a gifted surgeon, chief medical officer of the Cochin State. He was born in Trichur and had his early education in Ernakulam College and Madras Medical College. After a short service in the Cochin Medical Service he went to England, where he worked as a research student in pathology under Professor Boycott at University College Hospital in London, and later under Professor Lorrain Smith in Edinburgh. On his return to India in 1927 he joined the Madras Medical Service and worked as assistant professor of pathology in the Madras Medical College till 1936, when he went again to Edinburgh and worked on splenomegaly under Professor Murray Drennan.

In 1937 he was awarded the degree of D.Sc, by Edinburgh University, gaining the Straits Settlements gold medal for the excellence of his thesis in the following year. From Edinburgh he went on to Vienna and Berlin, spending several months in various pathology institutes. In 1938 he became a member of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. On his return from Europe in 1938 he was posted as professor of pathology at Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam, of which he became the first Indian permanent principal.

The Army Command of India requisitioned his services for the newly created Army Medical College at Poona as professor of pathology and consultant pathologist with the rank of colonel. He was to have joined it in November 1948 on his return from abroad, but, unfortunately, just after his arrival in London, he died of coronary thrombosis at the early age of fifty.

In his short life Dr Menon contributed extensively to the knowledge and literature of pathology. He was a delightful professor, treating his assistants and students as his equals, and always eager to impart his knowledge. He had a well-trained and disciplined mind, and his freshness of outlook and his enthusiasm were both exhilarating and infectious. His lectures were truly a model of teaching— lucid, precise and unambiguous, with the emphasis on essentials. By his talks at the tea-table about institutions and personalities in Vienna, Edinburgh, London and elsewhere, he used to enthuse his juniors and so help to foster a scientific atmosphere. He was a very generous host. His hobbies were tennis and card games.

In 1933 Dr Menon married the niece of Dr A. R. Menon, onetime Health Minister, Kerala State. His marriage did not last long as Mrs Menon died in 1940 at the age of twenty-four. Their only son, Dr Gopinath Bhaskar, M.Sc. (Pathology) (Madras) took up his father’s profession, specialising in pathology.

Richard R Trail

[Indian Heart J., 1949, 1, 97-8 (p); J.Path.Bact., 1949, 61, 478-83 (p), bibl.]

(Volume V, page 283)

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