Indian subcontinent has a grand old history with a great civilization that began even before the ancient Greek and possibly Egyptian pharaohs .Post renaissance Europe made the British monarchy enter the country in early 1600s .This could be perceived as a new journey of modern India.In the early days of British colonization through East India company , the province in southern Indian Coramandal coast called Madras (Currently named Chennai) was a key economic and power center. Since the hospitals were the prime requirement to take care the Incoming officers ,Govt general hospital is the first major health care center to appear in India more than 300 years ago (In which the author of this blog is currently associated for over two decades) !
Originally built for the sick soldiers of east India company which functioned in the present St George fort premises.Then president of Madras fort Elihu Yale allotted the adjoining land and was instrumental in building the Govt general hospital in the year 1664 .The academic limb of the hospital the Madras medical college came more than a century later in 1835 .
Few decades later in 1718 a Governor of New heaven Connecticut , Cotton Mather from far way North America wanted to start a small hospital who was short of money.He requested through his American contacts of British east India company for a donation from a successful British businessman Yale from Wales who making a fortune in the Indian county of Madras . Since, Yale had an American connection by birth in Boston, was willing to donate the money through Indian gifts worth of 560 pounds which was good enough to build the legendary hospital in New Haven which was named later after his name.
*It should mentioned the first seed of this hospital was planted by another British Sir Edward winter (1622-1686) , the Madras agent for the East India Company .
An article which appeared in Yale journal recently recalled the link between these two institutes.
Yale, of course carried a tag of being a controversial leader of British empire for misusing his power, still has his name permanently etched in the history of two great medical institution located far across the globe.
His life ended in 1721 , was laid to rest inside the quiet compound of church of Wales .The dark black concrete letters telling to the occasional visitors about the extraordinary life he lived over 300 years ago.
Another MGH . . .
The MGH as we know today is Massachusetts General hospital which was stated 150 years later than MGH senior in 1811 in Boston. It some times pains me to compare the growth of two . In terms of science , technology and research they are poles apart But in terms of equitable service , care , and social impact I think the senior MGH would still prevail over. !
It is fascinating to know origins of college that taught us medicine.I wonder how many of the current students and the alumni know the grand old history of their Alma mater.I wish they pay a visit to St Giles church Wrexham , Wales once in life time. As we stand in-front of the Yale’s memorial one will definitely get that unique feel of travelling to the vintage past when Chennai GH was born with a baby cry !