Lives of the fellows

Prem Chandra Dhanda

b.28 May 1911 d.28 February 2013

Prem Chandra Dhanda was director-principal of Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, India. He was born in Ambala, Punjab, the son of Duni Chand Ambalvi, a lawyer and leader of the Indian National Congress in Punjab. His mother, Bhag Devi, was also a political activist. During his childhood, both parents were jailed. Dhanda was educated at the Anglo Sanskrit High School, where he had a brilliant academic record, matriculating in first place in the state. He went on to the Government College in Lahore, where he again shone academically and gained entrance to King Edward Medical College, also in Lahore. He qualified with an MB BS and medals in medicine and in gynaecology and obstetrics in 1934.

He was a house physician in medicine at Mayo Hospital, attached to King Edward Medical College, in 1935. He then went to the UK, where he worked at Hammersmith Hospital, London, for two years.

In 1938 he joined the Indian Army Medical Corps. After training in India, he was posted to the Middle East and North Africa as a medical specialist, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel.

In 1945 he left the Army and started in private practice in Delhi, specialising in cardiology. He also joined the Irwin Hospital as an honorary physician. He treated many eminent leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru (the first prime minister of India) and Rajendra Prasad (the first president). Dhanda was president of the Delhi Medical Association in 1952 and 1957.

In 1965 Dhanda became director-principal of Maulana Azad Medical College and associated hospitals. He introduced specialist departments for psychiatry, cardiology, cardiac surgery, gastroenterology, surgical gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery. In 1967 he returned to his private practice, eventually reducing his clinical work until he finally retired at the age of 96.

He was elected an FRCP in 1967, and was a fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, India. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Indian government in 1962.

In 1939 he married Leila Dharmavir, a doctor. They had two daughters, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Prem Chandra Dhanda died at the age of 102.

RCP editor

[The National Medical Journal of India, Vol.26, No.3, 2013, p.174 – accessed 10 April 2017]

(Volume XII, page web)

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