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Statue of test tube baby pioneer to be unveiled at his birthplace

Statue of test tube baby pioneer to be unveiled at his birthplace

Kolkata: After Bengal, it is now time for Jharkhand to pay tribute to Dr Subhash Mukherjee, the creator of India's first test tube baby, who had almost gone into oblivion.

Though Dr Mukherjee was born in Jharkhand's Hazaribagh district, Bengal had been his workplace for a very long time. After coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee government has paid due respect posthumously to Dr Mukherjee by naming prestigious chairs after him at the two state-run medical colleges in Kolkata.

Following Bengal's footsteps, the Jharkhand government has now set up a statue of Dr Mukherjee outside the Sadar Hospital in Hazaribagh which will be unveiled by the district administrative officials on Sunday in presence of Prabhat Agarwal, the father of Kanupriya, India's first test tube baby, along with Sunit Mukherjee, one of Dr Mukherjee's colleagues.

He created the country's first test tube baby — Kanupriya Agarwal, alias Durga, in October 1978 inside his house in Kolkata with the help of some general apparatus and a refrigerator. He committed suicide in 1981 after the Left Front government had allegedly neglected his research and was harassed by the then strong gynaecologists' lobby. He could not handle constant criticism and the outright harassment he was subjected to. The Left Front government had argued that Dr Mukherjee lacked sufficient documentation. In 2002, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recognised his work for the first time.

Prof Sajal Mukherjee, a teacher of Economics at Vinoba Bhave University in Hazaribagh and the president of Hazaribagh Bengali Association had been instrumental and he constantly lobbied various government departments so that some respect can be shown to the great man who pioneered In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in India.

After chipping in for nearly a decade, Prof Mukherjee finally succeeded in convincing the district administration about the contribution of Dr Mukherjee in the field of medical science.

Ravi Sankar Shukla who is the current DC of the district readily accepted the proposal and took necessary steps to erect the statue outside the Sadar Hospital as a mark of respect.

"We are extremely happy to see that our efforts have been translated into action. The district administration has finally given its consent to set up his statue in an area which is close to the place where he was born. A book has also been published containing articles on Dr Mukherjee. We are also thankful to Partha Mazumdar, NTPC chief general manager in Hazaribagh," Prof Mukherjee maintained.

Ravi Sankar Shukla said: "After being posted here, I felt the responsibility and got in touch with the Bengali Association. The statue that has been erected here could be a befitting tribute to Dr Mukherjee. We supervised the project which was assisted by the NTPC."

Pradip Chatterjee

Pradip Chatterjee

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