How We Remember Dr. Bhan:

1. Ranadip Chowdhury:  We meet hundreds of people but very few people really touch our life. Then, suddenly we meet someone who changes our life forever. Prof. (Dr.) M.K Bhan was that ‘special’ person in my life. He was more than a mentor to me. His vision of life changed my way of thinking in life. He made tremendous contribution to my professional and personal life within a short span of time. Most of us set short targets in life and forget the big picture. We plan to achieve those short targets. Some of us achieve those targets and some do not. I was one such of persons till I met Dr. Bhan in 2013. But his vision of thinking beyond short personal targets influenced me most. Though time will tell, how much I learnt from him, I see myself a completely different person in 2020 compared to who I was in 2013. I am one few lucky students whom Dr. Bhan mentored in last 6-7 years. We shared many happy moments discussing new research ideas, politics, and football (though I am Liverpool and Real Madrid supporter). His intense knowledge of football was not known to many persons. I want to quote one sentence here which I would never forget. He once told me “Ranadip, do you know why I like you so much? Because you do not get afraid to ask questions”. I miss you Sir!!!


2. Bireshwar Sinha: We were the basement gang! Sir (Dr. Bhan) was and still is the most active and lively member of this gang. Whistling down the way he used to come in the morning greeting each one of us with a "high-five" and his signature smile. It was like a breath of fresh air, wiped away all our worries and charged us up to think afresh, new ideas! He used to say that the basement is the "think tank" of SAS. The best part of our day was to be with him all day and discuss any new ideas that crossed our mind while he worked-out on the cross-trainer. Sir was a like a user-friendly encyclopedia with constant source of new research ideas which he made look simple and easily comprehensible! Beyond academic discussions, loved to hear his views on politics, sports, agriculture, family – this is something that I miss the most! I am proud and privileged to be amongst his last batch of students. To me he was more than a mentor, he was like a father and a friend. Working with him has changed my outlook in life, both professionally and personally in a positive way. He has taught to make mature decisions thoughtfully and not to lose focus on the big picture. Why he was the best mentor one can ever have? - Because he was always available for discussion and prioritized us above anything else. He carefully listened to any issues that I had, provided his deep insights, and followed it up till the end. He molded his way into our hearts, inspired to do better and showed us the way. He taught us never to settle for anything but the best – learn from the best, collaborate with the best and deliver the best! His words made me feel fearless in expressing my thoughts, asking questions; he made me learn from my failures and pushed me do better. He told “You need to ask the right questions. Identify and work on a question that scores more than 8/10 – that will create your identity”. He used to call me his “writing partner” – this is my greatest compliment and award ever. But I must say, working with him, as much fun as it was, but was never easy – it took me at least 10-15 drafts to reach a level to meet his expectations. I think the most important lesson that I have learned and will try to pursue is to be a good person above anything else, care for your colleagues, work as a team and move forward together. He made it clear that alone you can reach up to only a certain limit but together it is possible to achieve anything! I know that he is always with us and is watching. His teachings will always guide us through the tough times! Sir, I will try my best to make you proud. Love you!


3. Ravi Prakash Upadhyay: Much of what I have learnt till date is attributed to the constant nurturance provided by Dr. Bhan. He was like a father figure who always cared about where I was heading towards, both professionally and on a personal front. He was always open to discussions, even if his perspectives were challenged. Very few people, that I have come across, hold this trait and that made our discussions even more interesting. He urged me to read, come up with interesting questions and thoughts and he always had time for me (and other YIs) for engaging in discussions. The warmth and love he used to shower is much yearned now. His principles, passion for good work and empathy towards all will continue to energize me to do excellent work. He used to say, “It is important to be a good researcher but more important and precious than that is to be a loving and kind human being”. This is deeply imbibed in how I see life as. Love you always!!


4. Tarun Shankar Choudhary: I had the privilege to work closely with Dr Bhan after I joined SAS as a young investigator. There was always something new to learn from him. My outlook of health research changed under his guidance. He was a mentor par excellence and connected with all young investigators at a personal level. He helped me identify my area of interest. Working with him was fun as well as challenging as he would never settle for anything, but the best. He is the teacher I respect most. But the part that I miss the most are the non-academic discussions. Love you Sir!!


5. Nitika: It was my good fortune that I could spend some time under Prof (Dr.) M.K. Bhan mentorship. Be it personal life or professional, his words were always like gems. There was a charisma in the way he used to talk and articulate the sentences. His thinking was crystal clear and more so, intentions for his students were also crystal clear. Sir was once mentioning how he was able to play the role of mentor so nicely. For this, Sir elaborated that when his students express their ideas, he never stopped them and let them fly through their thoughts, as stopping them at that stage will negatively affect the thinking capability and will demoralize them. I read somewhere that “think with so much conviction that it becomes reality”, and Sir used to talk with so much conviction that the person sitting with him start perceiving it as reality. I remember one more example from his guidance. Sir taught me how to put forward a important discussion point in a e-mail effectively, and mentioning/elaborating my thinking behind that will give the other person a hint that I have thought through the point before sending. And somehow, this point is applicable everywhere. I really miss you Sir!!


6. Sudipto Roy:Novelty and Relevance. The two words sum up my memories of and learnings from Dr. Bhan. While Dr. Bhan used these words with reference to conducting research with high quality and impact, I think of these two words to describe his personality. More often than not, he would come up with innovative ideas and interventions to resolve health issues of public health importance. He always seemed to have a solution for even the most difficult scientific problem and he always made this look easy, though I am sure it was not easy! He always remained calm, whatever the situation, and never once did I hear him raise his voice. He was always ready with useful advice whenever I or my colleagues approached him with a query. I have learned a lot about scientific temperament from Dr. Bhan and hope that I am able to imbibe at least a part of his temperament. His passing away is a big loss to the scientific world and personally, I will miss my interactions with him and an opportunity to learn more from him. My best wishes remain with his family.


7. Aditi Apte: I got to meet Dr. Bhan few times during my journey as a young investigator at KEMHRC, mostly during PRERNA TAG meetings. Despite this, hecould influencemy thoughts and goals in research through his teachings. He selflessly devoted his precious time for discussing our individual research goals, guided us through his immense knowledge and foresight and more importantly, created a genuine interest in public health research whenever he addressed us. He was a true visionary and a major force for creating PRERNA, a platform that aims to promote impactful and nationally relevant research in maternal and child health. He dreamt of creating an army of impactful public health researchers that would take the country to the next level. I consider myself privileged for having spent some precious moments with this eminent personality and received some pearls of wisdom from him. I will try my best to follow his teachings and contribute meaningfully to the field of health research.


8. Rutuja Patil: It is not important only to be successful but one should also be impactful”. This was how the conversation started when we (Kem YIs) met Dr. Bhan for discussions on our future path in PRERNA. Each of us was initially apprehensive about our personal interaction with Dr. Bhan. But his friendliness and openness eased out the conversation in a nice way. I got to meet him a few time during PRERNA meetings and enjoyed listening to him throughout. When I introduced me as a biotechnologist planning to work in the area of policy, Dr. Bhan asked me to define and absorb the skills and characteristics required for a person to be a policy expert. He predicted my research portfolio even when I wasn’t even closer to what I am doing now. He recommended me to work among other areas in the area of technology in public health research and look into policies around the use of technology in health systems so that my background is well utilized. He was farsighted and a visionary who touched our lives in many ways, so effortlessly.


9. Girish Dayma: It is said that “there is a direct corelation between the positive energy and positive results” and we cannot deny it when we look at the stalwart personality of Late Prof Dr. M K Bhan who was an institute in himself. His positive energy, vision and conviction resulted in a successful development of the fist indigenous rotavirus vaccine only teaches us what we can achieve if we have a 3D formula of Determination, Dedication, and Devotion. I was fortunate to meet and listen him during various meetings which I attended as a part of the team working on implementation and rollout of the rotavirus vaccine in the country. He always stressed upon the importance of the solidarity, partnership, and networking to carry forward the research agenda. He has left behind an enduring legacy which will continue to contribute in the field of the public health for years to come.