Dr. Kotnis

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Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis was one of five Indian physicians dispatched to China to provide medical assistance during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938. Besides being known for his dedication and perseverance, he has also been regarded as an example for Sino-Indian friendship and collaboration.

Dwarkanath Kotnis was born to a lower middle class Marathi family in Solapur, Maharashtra. He studied medicine at the Seth G.S. Medical College of the University of Bombay.

After the Japanese invasion of China, at the request of the communist General Zhu De, a medical team of five doctors was dispatched to China as the Indian Medical Mission Team in September 1938.

Dr. Kotnis, who was 28 at arrival, stayed in China for almost five years working in mobile clinics to treat wounded soldiers. In 1939, Kotnis joined the Eighth Route Army (led by Mao Zedong). The hardships of military life, stresses that were especially relevant to the front-line doctors who often had to work over 72 hours at a stretch, finally began to tell on him. He died of epilepsy on December 9, 1942 at age 32, and was buried in the Heroes Courtyard, Nanquan Village.

Mao Zedong mourned his death by observing that "The army has lost a helping hand, the nation has lost a friend. Let us always bear in mind his internationalist spirit."

(Courtesy of Wikipedia.)

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