When Odisha Doctor Treated Nehru After Mild Stroke In Bhubaneswar

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Kendrapara: It was January 1964. Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was in Bhubaneswar to attend the 68th session of the Indian National Congress, when he suffered a mild stroke.

After speaking for two minutes at the session, he suddenly felt tired and weak. “Nehru, then 74 years old, had suffered a paralytic stroke because of high blood pressure and general fatigue that affected his left side. His blood pressure had risen to 215, considered dangerous. We noticed weakness in the left limbs and asked him to cancel all engagements and take complete rest,” Dr Gobinda Chandra Dash, who was in the team of doctors treating him, told TNIE.

A resident of Balagandi in Kendrapara town, Dash was the personal physician of the then Governor of Odisha from 1959 to 1964. After completing his MBBS from SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, he worked in the Indian Army from 1949 to 1957 and was posted in Punjab, Pune and other places. Before joining as a personal physician of the Governor, he had worked in SCB for a year.

Recalling those days, Dash, now 94, said that he also got a call from Nehru’s sister Vijaya Laxmi Pandit, who asked him to keep her informed about his health. “On January 8, a medical team from New Delhi rushed to Bhubaneswar to provide better treatment to him,” he said.

Crowds stood outside the Governor’s residence, where he was being treated, most of the day waiting for news of the Prime Minister

After Nehru’s blood pressure came down to a satisfactory level, he became cheerful and spent a good bit of time reading. “I still remember him reading ‘History of Orissa’ by RD Banerjee,” Dash added.

Six days later on January 12, Nehru left Bhubaneswar. He went to Dehra Dun for a short rest from May 23-30 and returned to his official residence at Teen Murti House in New Delhi on May 31. He complained of a pain in his back the following morning, suffered a stroke at 6:25 and fell unconscious. He died around 2 pm.

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