Sambalpur: In a unique case of ‘gurudakshina’ (payback to teachers), an 84-year-old retired doctor in Sambalpur district has donated Rs 30 lakh from her savings to her alma mater, Gangadhar Meher University (earlier college).
For Dr Narayani Panda, a renowned gynaecologist and obstetrician in Sambalpur, the donation was a “debt of gratitude” for helping her study MBBS amid financial difficulties over six decades ago.
In 1957, when she secured a seat at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack following an interview, Dr Panda was worried about her father’s ability to fund her education. “My father, who was a veterinary officer in Sambalpur, once told me it would be difficult for him to finance my MBBS education as there were 10 other siblings. But I was determined to study,” Dr Panda was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
It was at this point that the GM College Trust came to her aid. “When I got to know that the GM College Trust was giving monthly assistance of Rs 25, I applied and got it. Besides, I got a monthly scholarship of Rs 35 for being among the top 3 in the class. The Rs 60 that I got was more than enough to fund my medical studies for the first 2 years till my father started paying for my expenses,” said Dr Panda, who was among dozen-odd girls in Odisha pursuing an MBBS degree then.
“A month ago I got a call from her saying she has some money to donate to the alma mater that helped her study. She said she wanted to repay something to her institution. Though she passed out of GM University long ago, I was touched by her sense of gratitude,” the VC told Hindustan Times.
Though retired now, Dr Panda had been treating patients till the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year. She, however, still keeps visiting people who need treatment in her district.