A BRIEF LIFE SKETCH OF Col.Dr.D.S.RAJU
Great men are gift to mankind.A few glitter in the annals of history by virtue of their sacrifice and extraordinary contribution to humanity, which results in elevating them to the ranks of great men.
Great men’s lives are interwoven with history. Colonel D.S.Raju’s life is no exception, spanning from pre-independence to post-independent India. During those political situations of exile and trying conditions, his life illustrates a fierce story of how he served humanity through restraint under wrought and fierce conditions. Col. Dr.D.S.Raju was a multi faceted personality. He had the rare distinction of being an outstanding doctor, a freedom fighter, union minister and a philanthropist.
Satyanarayana Raju was born on August 28 in 1904 to Datla Ramachandra Raju, an ayurvedic doctor and Achyutayamma in ‘Poduru’ village in West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. He had his early education at Veeravasaram in his native district. He completed his high school at Narsapur in West Godavari and Intermediate at Pachyappa College, Chennai. He was in the first batch (1923-28) of students who were selected by Dr. A.C.Anderson to the Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam. Thereafter, in a record time of one and half years LRCP, MRCS, MRCP (London) were in his hand. Later, he specialized in chest diseases in Vienna. Dr.Raju joined in the Indian Medical Service as Chief Medical Officer in the British Army, in 1935. As an IMS Officer Dr.Raju worked in Pune, Bombay and Bangalore. He was promoted as a Major in 1939 and was transferred to the Abyssinian warfront. After returning home he was posted in Secunderabad cantonment. Later Dr.Raju was transferred to Singapore.
In 1939, the 2nd
World War began in Europe and in the Far East Germany and Japan as allies against England and America. At that time (1939-41) Dr.Raju was the Medical Superintendent in the British Army Medical Service at Singapore. In 1942 Japan swiftly occupied Singapore and thus the British Indian Army became Japanese war prisoners. With Japanese understanding, Indian prisoners of war were released to form Indian National Army (INA) to fight British under Mohan Singh’s command. Ras Behari Bose was leader of Indian Association. Subhash Chandra Bose was invited to Singapore to lead the organization from where he assumed the reins of the INA. Dr.Raju joined the INA and became the personal Physician to Netaji and who in turn trusted Dr.Raju implicitly.
Col.Raju was associated with Subhash Chandra Bose, since the inception of the INA and its formative years. Col.Raju’s medical skills, his sincerity, dedication and patriotic zeal endeared him to Subhash Chandra Bose. Col Raju did accompany Bose to Japan where he had the rare honor of meeting the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Bose always introduced Dr.Raju as an outstanding physician. Dr.Raju was solely responsible for looking after Netaji’s frail health and to work out a nutritional diet for him. Dr.Raju became his constant companion and this association continued till Bose’s tragic disappearance in 1945 on August 17 when Bose was proceeding to Manchuria to garner help from Russia.
Col.Raju was captured along with Shah Nawaz Khan and Dhillon and other INA personnel. The prisoners of war were held at the Red Fort as traitors of the British Empire. This was a third time he was declared a prisoner of war. The INA actually fought for the liberation of the country, so in recognition of this they were finally freed after six months. Col.D.S.Raju had a tumultuous welcome on his return to Narsapur. Dr.Raju started his practice at Rajahmundry. He chooses a picturesque place on the outskirts for this, the quaint little village called Bommuru.
He was an excellent physician blessed with an astute clinical judgment. His weekends were spent in remote tribal areas of that region. He went in to the deep remote tribal areas and had the distinction of eradicating malaria, T.B. and other tropical diseases in Rampachodavaram, Mallisala, Sivarampatnam, Kutravada and Bhupathipalem.
A reluctant entrant into politics, many felt Col.Raju was the perfect choice to represent the people of East Godavari. He was elected unopposed to the Lok sabha in 1957 and subsequently got re-elected in 1962 garnering the second highest majority of votes in the country, next only to Maharani Gayatri Devi. He completed three consecutive terms successfully. He served in the capacity of Deputy Health Minister in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Government. He was made the Deputy Defense Minister in Lal Bahadur Sastriji’s cabinet. During the 1965 Indo Pak war, he played an important role and shouldered many daunting responsibilities. As a minister he was known for his honesty, sincerity, loyalty and integrity. The Indian Government selected Col.Dr.D.S.Raju to represent the Indian Govt. at the World Health Conference held at Geneva. He made his mark as an excellent Parliamentarian.
Col.Raju adjusted his individualism to social progress. He felt the need for educational institutions and pioneered the establishment of The Rangaraya Medical College at Kakinada, which went on to become one of the foremost medical institutions in Andhra Pradesh. He also established the Sainik School at Korukonda in Vizianagaram and an educational institution for tribals at Bhupathipalem which is now named after him. He was instrumental in initiating a rail-cum-road bridge on the Godavari River.
Co.Dr.D.S.Raju’s ideas and values transcend all generations. His life reflects the art of becoming rich was simply to live richly in body, mind, heart and spirit. He was a legend in his own time. He effectively blended time with destiny. The end came on June 6th
1973 after a brief illness. He left his indelible impress on contemporary life.