Lives of the fellows

Awadh Kishore Narain Sinha

b.15 January 1929 d.2 July 1994
MB BS Patna(1951) MRCP Edin(1957) MRCP(1958) FRCP Edin(1971) FRCP(1975) FAMSI( 1980)

Awadh Sinha, popularly known as 'AKN’, was the son of Rai Bahadur Shyam Narain Singh, a civil servant. Born in India, he went to school in Patna and later Ewing Christian College, Allahabad. Even at school he showed great generosity to his friends and this remained a hallmark for the rest of his life. He graduated from the Prince of Wales Medical College, Patna, which later became Patna Medical College. After completing his house posts, he went to the USA for postgraduate training at Aultman Hospital, Ohio, then came to Britain where he was honorary clinical assistant and house physician at the Royal Postgraduate School, Hammersmith, from 1956 to 1957, working with John Goodwin who had a profound effect on his choice of career: he decided to be a cardiologist.

He returned to India in 1958 and joined the Government service. He found the conditions for medical practitioners in the Government service anything but congenial. The bureaucracy was rampant and controlled the medical profession all over India as the medical practitioners had no united voice. He resigned his government job and devoted his life to raising the profile of the medical profession through the auspices of the Indian Medical Association. He also investigated the standards of medical training in India and in the last years of his life he endeavoured to work through the Medical Council of India in order to improve them.

From 1973 to 1985 he was emeritus professor of cardiology at Nalanda Medical College, Patna, and from 1986 he was emeritus professor of medicine at Patna Medical College. He was president of the Indian Medical Association of all India from 1970 to 1972 and president of the Commonwealth Medical Association from 1974 to 1976. From 1983 to 1984 he was president of the World Medical Association. In 1972 he was also leader of the Indian Medical Association delegation to the World Medical Assembly in Amsterdam and to the World Conference on Medical Education held in Copenhagen. He was a member of the Medical Council of India and became its president in 1985. He always strove to raise the standard of education and training in India and kept on working even after he had a lobectomy for cancer of the bronchus in March 1993. He continued in his professorial chair until his death.

He married Shail Kumari, daughter of Rajendra Kishore Saran Singh, in 1945. They had no children of their own but adopted two daughters. AKN was an unassuming, dignified and softly spoken man who made a profound impression on everyone he met. He encouraged many people to visit India and was prepared to look after their welfare and to assist them in any way he could. He was exceptionally good at communicating with people and felt a universal friendship for his fellow human beings. In fighting more than 20 elections for high academic or medico-political office he never lost a single election. Even when he was suffering ill health himself, his major concerns were for the health, welfare and education of others. He was highly respected and on his death the Government of the State of Bihar gave him a state funeral; all the work of the State stopped for a day and the national flag flew at half-mast on Government buildings. Awadh Sinha was an exceptional man who enhanced the lives of all who knew him.

N K P Singh

(Volume X, page 451)

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