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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 751-752  

Pandit Kriparam Sarma: A brief account of an unsung and unmourned leprosy curer

Consultant Dermatologist, “Pranab” Clinic, Department of Dermatology, Ismile, Asansol, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication1-Nov-2019

Correspondence Address:
Amiya K Mukhopadhyay
“Pranab”, Ismile, Near Dharmaraj Mandir, Asansol - 713 301, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_171_19

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How to cite this article:
Mukhopadhyay AK. Pandit Kriparam Sarma: A brief account of an unsung and unmourned leprosy curer. Indian Dermatol Online J 2019;10:751-2

How to cite this URL:
Mukhopadhyay AK. Pandit Kriparam Sarma: A brief account of an unsung and unmourned leprosy curer. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Dec 7];10:751-2. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2019/10/6/751/270201

   Introduction Top

The first quarter of the last century witnessed a number of historical happenings in the world of leprosy.[1] The history dutifully has chronicled many but at times failed to acknowledge the effort of others, particularly those belonging to the poor and underdeveloped part of the globe like India. This article is about Pandit Kriparam Sarma [Figure 1], a man who tried his level best to attract attention of the then Indian medical community practicing “modern medicine” to have a chance to prove his claim of curing leprosy by traditional Indian medicine. He was denied and this disgraceful denunciation of hearing a person only goes against the ethos of the very basic fundamentals of philosophy of science!
Figure 1: Pandit Kriparam Sarma. (Source: “Leprosy and its Treatment” [Digital Library of India Item 2015.14663.]Credit: www.archive.org)

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   Shibbu Pandit in Hyderabad Top

Shibbu Pandit Mir Munshi, the father of Pandit Kriparam Sarma, hailed from Punjab, presented his discovery of curing leprosy at Hyderabad. His successes were acknowledged by various eminent personalities like house surgeon of Afzalganj hospital and newspapers like Deccan times, Hyderabad Records. He wanted to serve leprosy patients by establishing an asylum as wished by the Chudderghat Municipality, Hyderabad along with Surgeon Major Dr. Lawrie, Chief Medical Officer. This did not happen as Dr. Lawrie demanded for the details of Pandit's treatment methodology. This was not acceptable to the Pandit.[2]

   Kriparam and His “treatment” Top

Kriparam, wanted to fulfil his father's unfinished task. He learned the method and traveled widely to treat leprosy patients. His successes were noted by various newspapers like Behar Times, Behar Herald, Indian Mirror etc. He approached famous Dr. R. G. Kar, the then towering personality of Bengal medical community. Kar gave him an opportunity where Kriparam proved his accomplishment in his famous Belgachia case that was discussed and examined at Calcutta Medical College. Thereafter he took another patient to Dr. Kar and asked him for the examination of the patient. Dr. Kar advised him to see Dr. Lukis of Albert Victor Hospital, Calcutta. Dr. Lukis refused to examine the patient on the ground that he would not be a party of any secret remedy. Still Kriparam tried his best to establish his argument. He took photographs before and after treatment and presented to the educated mass. After his failure to get any help from Calcutta he moved to Bombay for an opportunity and initially he was allotted six patients chosen by the then famous authorities of the Acworth Leper Asylum. When Kriparam was about to send his trial medicine, due to some strange reason the project was aborted by the managing committee. Kriparam went from pillar to post. His plea to Lieutenant General of Bengal to Viceroy to hear for a fair trial surprises us of his effort. Kriparam established a Leprosy asylum and published a book entitled “Leprosy and its Treatment” where he enclosed eighteen photographic evidences in favor of his work [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Title page of “Leprosy and its Treatment” by Pandit Kriparam Sarma. (Source: Digital Library of India Item 2015.14663.Credit: www.archive.org)

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   Colonial Ego or Feeling of Insecurity? Top

We do not know today about the reality of the claim of Shibbu Pandit or Kriparam, neither the reason for refusal by the then medical community to let Kriparam prove his claim, but if any one goes through Kriparam's book it is very much evident that he wanted a fair trial, not mercy from the modern allopathic medical world. This kind of story of denial has happened many a times in the history of science. In our country many such devoted men were not only denied their recognition but were also buried in the deep ocean of oblivion. Only very few mention of Kriparam in Indian works.[3],[4] Any discussion today may be no more relevant when science has advanced many hundred miles, but would history forgive us of our negligence?

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Desikan KV, Pandya SS. History of leprosy in India: A historical overview from antiquity to the introduction of MDT. In: Kumar B, Kar HK, editors. IAL Textbook of Leprosy. 2nd ed. New Delhi: The Health Sciences Publisher; 2016. p. 3-32.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sarma K. Leprosy and its Treatment. 4th ed. Howrah: Published by the Author; 1923.  Back to cited text no. 2
Mukhopadhyay AK. Skin Diseases ('Dermatology') in India: History and Evolution. Kolkata: Allied Book Agency; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sharma M. Creating a consumer: Exploring medical advertisements in colonial India. In: Pati B, Harrison M, editor. The Social History of Health and Medicine in Colonial India. Oxford: Rutledge; 2009; p. 218.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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