Tuesday, March 24, 2015



In Rainawari , we had Ram Joo Handoo’s chemist shop near Jogi Lanker Bridge . He claimed himself to be R M P . My father had an abiding faith in Ram joo’s degree , diagnosis and prescriptions . He would often tell me ..

“Ye Haa Chhu RMP. Tchhin tathh Balaai. Aeim Chha Ali Jaanus saet Hedroonie Kaam Kaarmetch.”
“ He is holding R.M.P. certificate. Leave aside his certificate , he has worked with Dr Ali Jan at SMHS hospital Srinagar “
My father believed that Dr Ali Jan was the ultimate that modern medical science could provide to kashmir and any person associated with him could never be ordinary. This led him to believe in Ram joo Handoo's medical practice and prescriptions.
He would lay more stress on Ram Joo’s association with Luqman of Kashmir known as Dr Ali Mohammad Fazili or Fondly known as Ali Jan (1914-1988 ) MBBS , DCH, MRCP.
So he was . This I came to know when I saw his style of attending to patients and his sharp Diagnostic skills.I need to quote one incident..
Possibly in 1978 ,My friend Basharat Fazili's brother was sick for long with fever that did not subside even when treated by some good doctors . They were treating him for Typhoid . Worried , we managed an appointment with Dr Ali Jan in morning hours at his Magarmal Bagh Residence . No test , no X’ ray, Dr Jan,  after a careful examination. Told us  that the boy has water in his lungs and he be immediately admitted to Children's Hospital to drain out this water that was causing the infection and consequent fever. And that proved the correct diagnosis. .
No unnecessary tests ,no un-warranted X’rays , no expensive medicines and no second opinions .
In bank ,my immediate boss, late S N Kaul was Dr Ali Jan's greatest admirer. He would often say,.. ,

"He can feel the sickness in the eyes of the patient. He has uncommon and god given shifaa in his hands ". 

Many stories were in circulation about his god given and magical diagnostic skills.But for sure,He could swiftly diagnose through his own clinical examination and careful listening to what the patient said to him . A pioneer of modern medical education in the Kashmir  valley . A messiah of Kashmiris who did everything to establish modern healthcare in Kashmir.

Kashmiris shall always remain indebted to this son of the soil who was also a lover of fine arts . Kak sahib ,the trusted assistant at his private practice venue ,once told me :
“Dr sahib likes kashmiri music and songs especially Chhakri . He likes to hear Amma Sofi  , Hassan sofi , Raj Begum and many more traditional Kashmiri singers . He has a great taste for sufiana music of Kashmir . He enjoys Indian film  Music  also . Dr Sahib also reads a lot of modern western fiction and literature . Trout fishing is another great hobby with him. He listens to western classical music  as well  .”
Born in 1914 at Gojwara locality of downtown Srinagar , he lived at Magarmal Bagh ,Srinagar and practiced at Polo ground (above the shop of M/S Ghulam Mohi Ud Din And Sons  Pvt Ltd. A leading export house ) opposite the then Gringdlay’s bank Building. He did his MBBS from King Edward’s medical college Lahore in 1937 and completed his DCH and MRCP in 1951. In 1975 , Government of India honoured him with Padamshri . A Rotarian , he was also Vice Chairman of the governing body of SKIMS Srinagar and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences India. He was a close friend of Dr.P N  Chutani ( former Director  PGI Chandigarh ).
                ( Dr Ali Jan with Sheikh Mohd Abdullah )


This is what the  renowned gastroenterologist , Dr M S Khuroo writes about Dr. Ali Jan:

" Prof. (Dr.) Ali Mohammad Jan was a legend for Kashmir in his lifetime. “Ali Jan” as he was popularly known to a common man was a house-hold name till yesterday. I knew Dr. Jan Sahib as a medical student; resident doctor; practicing physician; consultant and Head Gastroenterology, Dean Medical Faculty & Director Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) and closely watched him as a physician, administrator and as a human being. To become a legend, one needs to have several qualities which include:  wisdom, hard work, dedication, focused attention, honesty, disciplined and above all the art of exploiting the opportunities which come in your way.  Jan sahib had several (nearly all) of these qualities in different proportions and made him a living legend in his lifetime."

Prof BL Kaul told me this  :

" Well known film actress Meena Kumari came to Kashmir in 1971 for rest and recuperation.. She stayed in the houseboat of my friend Mr. Chapri. Suddenly she felt ill and a worried  Mr Chapri brought Dr. Ali Jan to see her. Dr. Jan examined her and without prescribing any tests or X' ray  said' Madam, your liver is in precarious condition. Stop your drinking  forthwith." To this Meena ji said," Doctor Sahib , don't worry about my drinking. Please write the prescription .My friend has  narrated all this to me " 

Prof Neerja Mattoo  writes :

” The present day Soulless Buildings of BSNL office at Exchange Road  Srinagar  are built on the Remains of a Heritage House , which was torn down and razed to the ground . it belonged to one Nazir Ahmed , A Punjabi speaking high official , who left for Pakistan in the wake of partition . His house and its grounds became what is known as evacuee property and were rented to legendary physician Dr Ali Jan . He and his family moved in and integrated so well with the neighbourhood  that it seemed they had always lived here and not in Rajouri Kadal area of the old city  downtown. The participation in each other’s festivals was taken for granted – The pundits men and children looking forward for Eid feasts , while the Muslims waited for Shivratri with its fish and fowl with soaked walnuts .When Mrs Ali Jan came visiting , it was only fruit for her and so it was when Mrs Dhar or Mrs kaul went to visit her .But the confidence they shared would not be shared with their own blood sisters .
People had to wait weeks for getting an opportunity to be examined by Dr Ali jan , but for this neighbourhood , his was an open house . My Father Prof. S L Dhar , who had taught Dr Ali Jan in college , was held in such affection and respect by him that he could walk into his consultation chamber with a sick patient without any prior appointment , no one  daring to challenge him for ” gate crashing “ .
It was Mrs Ali Jan , Boba to all of us children , who came with a  biggest Majma of dry fruits and Shirin to shower us with her blessings when we passed an examination . It was she who celebrated our success , while our own parents were subdued  ! She genuinely appreciated the value of Education . The whole Mohalla felt bereft when the Ali jan family left to move into their own newly built house at Magarmal  Bagh . “

In October 1988, he passed away suffering from cancer of pancreas .

The story of Modern Health care in kashmir shall remain incomplete in case we do not include Dr Ali Jan's contribution .

Peace be to his soul......

( Avtar Mota )

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  1. He was my paternal grandfather, my late father, Ali Gowhar Jan Fazili, being his eldest son. May the souls of both my grandfather and father rest in peace.

    1. Peace be to the departed souls.

    2. May Allah rest his soul, grant all our great elders Jannah, and make us to be similar assets to our land and our people...


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