Lives of the fellows

Baratham Ramaswamy Sreenivasan

b.14 June 1909 d.23 May 1977
LMS Singapore(1931) MRCGP(1952) MRCP(1953) Hon LLD Malaya(1954) FRCP(1966) FRCGP(1973)

Sreeni, as he was known to his friends and colleagues, was born in Gemas, Malaya, the son of Baratham Sreenivasan Ramaswamy, a cashier, and his wife Runmani, daughter of Screebivasa Acharyan, a landowner. He was educated at St John’s Institute and qualified in medicine in 1931 at the King Edward VII College of Medicine, Singapore. He obtained his MRCP in 1953 and was elected a fellow in 1966. In 1934 he married Elizabeth Jeeraratnam Heynes, daughter of a medical practitioner. They had two children: a son and a daughter.

Sreeni was a true scholar as well as a physician, but despite his academic background it was as an ordinary family physician that he liked to be known. He was principal of the Singapore division of the University of Malaya in 1961; vice-chancellor of the University of Singapore 1962-1963; a founder member of the Royal College of General Practitioners; a past president of the Malaya branch of the BMA, and president of the Singapore Medical Association. From 1954 to 1957 he was president of the medical council of Singapore. He served the people well, spending countless hours with the Singapore Antituberculosis Association, chairing many government commissions on Malayanization schemes, and was a member of the inquiry into government expenditure and efficiency. During the second world war he served as a medical officer at the civil General Hospital during the Japanese occupation.

He was a gentle, humble man, with a deep love of the classics and a knowledge of Shakespeare which would put many Shakespearian scholars to shame. A conversation with Sreeni was always interesting, and often an educational experience as well. Despite his wide academic interests, on his personal CV he listed his favourite hobby as ‘walking’.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
Valérie Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1977, 2, 131]

(Volume VII, page 552)

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