Monday, April 22, 2013





Though Dr Bernier ( 1625-1688 )  Physician to Mughal  King  Aurangzeb had   visited Kashmir  ,  it was only  Dr William Elmslie (1832-1872)  who established the first Allopathic dispensary in Kashmir.In fact he was the first Medical missionary in Kashmir . He was followed by two   dedicated brothers Dr Arthur Neve and Dr Earnest Neve  who stayed in Kashmir for about 3 decades during later half of 19th centaury .These doctors  and their Allopathic Medicines  brought much needed  relief and happiness  to  the local population as a result of which   Local Hakims lost their brisk practice and earnings  .A group  Hakims went to Maharaja and impressed upon him the superiority of Ancient Unani system of Medicines  over what they called as Firangi Dawaasaazi .They asked Maharaja not to grant any favours to  outsiders.The Maharaja just gave a patient hearing but encouraged the Allopathic doctors to expand their practice .

In 1882 ,Dr Arthur Neve arrived in kashmir  and thereafter in 1886 , he  was joined by his brother Dr Earnest Neve    . These  doctors  travelled extensively across entire length and breadth of Kashmir   and  Ladakh. Besides writing several medical papers published in The Lancet, Dr Arthur Neve (1859-1919 ) authored following Books
1 "Kashmir Ladakh and Tibet" (1899),
 2 "Picturesque Kashmir" (1900),
3 "Thirty Years in Kashmir" (1913),
4  "The Tourist's Guide to Kashmir, Ladakh, Skardo &c" (1923).

Dr Ernest  Neve (1861-1946 )also  wrote some  Books such as ..
1          "Beyond the Pir Panjal. Life Among the Mountains and Valleys of Kashmir" (1912)
2          "A Crusader in Kashmir" (1928)This book covers  the story of his brother's life and work.
3          "Things Seen in Kashmir" (1931).

  Dr Arthur  Neve  and his brother  performed 30000 surgeries in kashmir  which included 3651 Eye operations , 864 operations for Tumors and 579 Bone operations apart from treating patients of Kangri cancers  , Syphilis , leprosy and small pox. DR ARTHUR  NEVE  fought the terrible outbreak of cholera and famine  in Kashmir during 1883.

Dr Arthur Neve and later Dr Earnest Neve  would  start  his  day at 8 AM and  was   at the Mission Hospital till 10 PM attending to patients , performing surgeries and moving in wards . Never had kashmiris seen such care, attention , compassion and dedication from their own local Hakims or Vaids . Their Hospital at Dal gate srinagar   was later converted to Chest disease Hospital. They would also frequently visit Baramulla , Anantnaag and other towns  to see patients .Dr Earnest Neve spoke fluent kashmiri and worked during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh and Maharaja Hari Singh.To his patients ,this god sent doctor would say "zuvv vandaai...Balaai lagaai..." Every kashmiri owes a debt to him.He would operate free and carry  sick patients from Dal lake Ghaat to hospital on his shoulders. Most of the patients would come in small Boats though some used to come on Tongas during those days .Dr Earnest Neve was a vegetarian .

Dr Arthur Neve writes in his Book ,

Post 1885 earthquake , as I moved through villages , the stench was awful , and might be smelt half a mile away from the putrefying bodies of animals  . I found men and women with dislocations and fractures unreduced and unset ; the few survivors had been so stunned by the calamity that they thought little of minor injuries .People gave special offerings in shrines . For us , it was a time for deeds rather than for words , for sympathy than sermons . The boat that carried me , was converted to hospital.”

DR ARTHUR NEVE fought the terrible outbreak of cholera and famine in Kashmir during 1883 that killed 11700 persons .

Kudos to him for bringing injectable cholera Vaccine to Kashmir that came to be known as TROMBUN in Kashmiri..

( Vaccination in kashmir was started by Neve Brothers )

Walter Lawrence ( who spent more than six years in Valley  when Neve brothers were deeply entrenched in  serving kashmiris )  also  makes a mention of their work in his Book  “valley of Kashmir” published in 1895

“If I had had   the privilege of listening to Dr Neve before attempted to write my poor chapter on Physical History in The Valley of Kashmir, I should have been able to write with much greater effect. From what I have seen myself, I can testify to the great accuracy of Dr Neve’s account. I think this is a good opportunity, before this great audience, for letting you know what the work of the Medical Mission in Kashmir is doing. I lived six years in that country and know the road from Kashmir to Gilgit and Ladak. Wherever I went there was only one question. The people did not want to see me but they wanted to know when Neve Sahib was coming – Neve Sahib who brought comfort and healing wherever he went. Working with very little help, working in a very small way against every hindrance, against the Brahman influence, the two Neves (Arthur Neve and Ernest Neve) have won everything to them and now they have a grand hospital in Srinagar and when the Neves are not going into the villages, the villagers are coming in to the Neves.”
                                ( The Hospital of Dr Neve at Drogjan Dalgate )

Prof.  Rais Akhtar , Emeritus Scientist and recipient of Leverhulme Overseas and Henry Chapman Fellowships  has also documented work done by Neve brothers in Kashmir . I quote Prof. Rais Akhtar

 “ In many countries hospitals were established within colonial motives but in Kashmir first a dispensary and later a Mission Hospital were established by the Medical Missionary Society in order to provide modern medical care to the population without much disturbing the availability of the indigenous system of medicine. In many countries hospitals were established within colonial motives but in Kashmir first a dispensary and later a Mission Hospital were established by the Medical Missionary Society in order to provide modern medical care to the population without much disturbing the availability of the indigenous system of medicine. Despite the practice of the Unani system of medicine, allopathic medicine when first introduced into Kashmir became extremely popular among the people. The missionary doctors who worked in the dispensary and hospital, and particularly Arthur Neve, were committed to serving the population and were devoted researchers who published their results in internationally reputable journals – The Lancet, the British Medical Journal and the Indian Medical Gazette. Arthur Neve also wrote Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet (1899), Picturesque Kashmir (1900) and Thirty Years in Kashmir (1913). Arthur Neve died suddenly in Srinagar of a fever 5th  September 1919. The Maharaja of Kashmir ordered a  State Funeral. The mourners included people from all  classes, races and religions who united to pay tribute to  their well-beloved and disinterested friend who had done so much for Kashmir and its people. The Obituary in the Geographical Journal in 1919 noted: ‘He probably did more than any one who ever lived towards the amelioration of suffering for various native races of that country among whom his reputation was extraordinary.’

Dr Arthur Neve also finds mention at Page 24  in the  Book …  “ Trans-Himalaya: Discoveries and Adventures in Tibet ’ By Sven Hedin.
“ Dr Arthur Neve is one of  the man I most admire . he has devoted his life to the Christian mission in Kashmir and his hospital ..... There he works indefatigably day and night and his only reward is the  satisfaction of relieving  the suffering of others . ”

Again Chapter " FIRE ,FLOOD AND CHOLERA " from the book TYNDALE BISCOE OF KASHMIR ..An Autobiography makes mention of Dr Arthur Neve as under 

"In 1892 ,500 to 700 persons died of cholera per day in Kashmir valley.The mullahs and the Brahmin priest won't allow people to take western medicine .The mullah and the brahmin priest wrote Allah and Shiva on local paper and asked people to swallow it with Jhelum water that was already full of cholera germs.Later people started visiting Mission Hospital and lives of so many could be saved....... He was in third stage of cholera. The only option was blood transfusion. Dr Arthur  Neve did it by opening a vein in his own Arm and transferring it with a rubber tube into his vein.Neve and I spent a night at the hospital and hoped for the best,but it was not to be."


       ( Dr Arthur Neve surrounded by patients at Mission Hospital , Kashmir )
The service rendered by Dr Arthur Neve  to ameliorate the pain and suffering of local population  after the terrible earthquake of may 1885 has no parallel anywhere .

And kashmiris forgot these noble souls  altogether  . No memorial . No Hospital in their   name .  And I believe  No one knows these names in Kashmir . Dr  Arthur Neve died  in 1919 in  Kashmir after being  suddenly   struck down by fever.I end this post with lines from an  Gazal of urdu  poet Ahmed Faraz .

Shola  Ba Dil Aatish Ba Jaan Phirtaa Rahaa  Woh Be amaan
Varnaa  Saba  Zulfon Mein Thi Varna ghataa kaajal mein thi ..
Kyaa  Kyaa hawa chalti  Rahi  Yeh  Lau Magar Jalti Rahi
Kyaa zoar uss Aandhi mein Thaa Kyaa Baat iss Mashal Mein Thi….

 ( Autar Mota )
22.04.2013 TIME 11.45 PM  ... GOOD NIGHT 

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