Dr. Sukhanand Jain

Obituary of Dr. Sukhanand Jain

Dr. Sukhanand Jain was an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeon, a medical college professor, and a hospital superintendent in India for more than fifty years. For the past two decades, he has lived in the Buffalo area, to be with the family of his daughter, Dr. Pratibha Bansal, of Clarence. On September 1st, 2020, he passed away in hospice care at her home. Dr. Jain was born in the village of Beed, Maharastra, India in 1927. He grew up in a close-knit extended family of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. He attended Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad during the turbulence of the 1940's, when the many states of India were struggling for independence from Britain and for the formation of a unified country. He heard speeches by Mahatma Gandhi and experienced military sieges as his country was being born. Dr. Jain's medical education was conducted in Urdu, a language related to Persian and Arabic. It was a fifth language for him, in addition to Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, and English. Being able to speak the vernacular language of his colleagues and patients created moments of humor, pleasure, and ease. Throughout his life, he took advantage of opportunities to gain skills and knowledge, and to improve medical practice and education in India. He earned the chance to train in Toronto in the 1950's, at the Hospital for Sick Children and Toronto General Hospital. (He traveled from India to New York by ships, including on the Queen Mary. Aboard the ships, Dr. Jain and his wife, Sudha, learned to play bridge, which, along with chess, remained a lifelong passion.) At the end of his time in Canada, his mentor asked him to remain but he replied that he wanted to return and serve his newly formed country. At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi and at Rangaraya Medical College in Kakinada on the east coast of India, Dr. Jain worked as a professor and researcher. He made discoveries about conditions and diseases of the ear, nose, and throat that are important in tropical countries and globally. Dr. Jain returned to Hyderabad as a professor at Osmania Medical College and as superintendent of the Government ENT Hospital. He instituted many innovations to improve the medical training programs and the facilities of the hospital. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) and to the presidency of the All India Association of Otolaryngologists and Head and Neck Surgeons. After his retirement in 1983, Dr. Jain continued to serve Hyderabad and India with his expertise. On a voluntary basis, he administered the newly-formed Mahavir Hospital, creating training courses for doctors and nurses, specialty clinics, a blood bank, adding ambulances, and much more. This hospital provides for the population of Hyderabad at low cost and with high quality. President Bill Clinton visited there in 2000, to observe its effective direct observation therapy (DOT) tuberculosis treatment . From his grandfather and father, Dr. Jain learned the practice of Jainism, which meant living an honest,simple, principled life. He took more pride in being a teacher than in being a doctor because a teacher affects eternity. He was a eternal student, learning from others without discrimination of age, race, or gender. He remained close to his large, extended family and valued the safeguards to children and elders that a joint family provides. He set up a scholarship, in his father's name, for young people from his hometown of Beed. At a time when marriages were arranged and women were meant to be subservient, Dr. Jain insisted on finding an educated woman as his life partner. His wife of 65 years, Sudha Jain, was a teacher of college mathematics. She was skilled and creative in music and in crafts, such as knitting, crochet, and embroidery. Dr. Jain viewed his marriage as a cart pulled by complementary "bullocks". Together, they raised their family to value education and simplicity. They have four children; three are doctors and one is an engineer. Dr Pratibha Bansal (Ravi), Dr Abhinandan Jain (Karen), Dr Deepa Garg(Umesh) and Dr Bharat Jain (Pallavi).They have nine grandchildren, who have followed the ideals of their grandparents and have also become doctors and engineers. They have one great grandchild, for whom there are large dreams. In recent years, Dr. Jain wrote a book for his family of his collected memories because "we stand on the shoulders of our brave, talented, and loving forbearers… and we ought to hear their stories." It is a treasured gift.
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