Date:31/07/2005 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2005/07/31/stories/2005073106040400.htm
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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram

Kesavan Nair passes away

Staff Reporter

The `gentleman surgeon' of Travancore


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: R. Kesavan Nair, the first Superintendent of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and one of the founding fathers of modern medical education in the State, died at his residence here on Saturday. He was 95.

The `gentleman surgeon' of Travancore, he was `Valia Kesavan Nair' to the public, a prefix that was conferred on him as one of the most venerated doctors of all times. Dr. Kesavan Nair was one of the architects of the present Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. As the right hand man of C.O. Karunakaran, another visionary in Kerala's medical history, he had fought all odds to help shape the MCH with a measly Rs.50 lakhs.

Dr. Kesavan Nair graduated in medicine from Madras Medical College in 1937. He later joined General Hospital here as the Chief of Surgery, a post he held for a long time.

He was the first doctor from this part of the country to get an FRCS degree from London. He was a gifted and outstanding surgeon, in whose hands surgery was more of an art than science.

In 1954, when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru commissioned the 450-bed MCH here, Dr. Kesavan Nair was its first Professor of Surgery and Superintendent, posts he held till 1962.

In 1962, he joined Kozhikode Medical College as the Surgery Professor. He retired in 1966 as the Principal of Kottayam Medical College.

His students remember him as a soft-spoken person, an idealist doctor and one who kept away from the limelight. Undergraduate medical students used to crowd the operation theatre whenever he performed surgeries, just to watch the dexterity with which his fingers worked.

Dr. Kesavan Nair has also held positions as the President of Medical Council of Kerala and member, Medical Council of India. He is survived by his wife, Sarojini Amma, four sons and a daughter. The cremation will take place at Thycaud crematorium on Sunday morning.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Revenue Minister K.M. Mani and Public Works Minister, M.K. Muneer were among those who condoled Dr. Nair's demise.

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