As you walk into Dr Ganesh Rakh’s Medicare Hospital Foundation in Hadapsar, Pune you are sure to hear sounds of laughter and joy at the hospital. This hospital distributes sweets and cuts cakes if a female child is born.
Dr Rakh is a man with a huge heart and larger aspirations. Coming from a very humble background it is very natural for people to want a lavish and luxurious lifestyle, but this doctor from Pune wears simplicity on his sleeves. He hails from Karmala town of Solapur district, Maharashtra.
“My father was a porter (heavy loads handler) and mother would do petty household jobs. My father used to earn Rs 1,500 to 2,000 a month which had to fill the stomach of five people. That is how I have grown up since my childhood. When I passed out 12th (HSC), a thought came to my mind that if I study medicine, I can at least set up my own practice. I studied further with the help of scholarships. I finished my graduation in medicine in 2000 and I started my practice in 2002. Until 2007, I used to go visiting patients’ homes. Then I started my own hospital,” said Dr Rakh.
That is when he started noticing that the birth of a girl child and boy child was treated very differently.
“I would see that sweets were distributed in the hospital if a boy was born. But if a girl was born, the relatives would abandon the family and the mother and go away. Even when it came to paying the bills, if a girl was born the family would ask for discounts or pay the bill with no interest.”
That is when; in 2012 he finally decided not to charge money from the patient if a girl child was born. “This is my ‘small’ contribution to the society. It is a very simple logic, if a girl is born; I distribute sweets at the hospital and celebrate it. I don’t charge a penny from the family.”
When asked about how he got this idea, he quipped and said, “It was when my daughter was born that people in my surroundings actually started looking at me sorrily. That’s when I realised how prevalent the gender bias is.”
However, he is quite positive about the condition today. “The scenario is definitely changing now. A lot of doctors have joined me in this cause and a lot more is being done now. In fact, some mass media students from Jai Hind College in Mumbai too are having this college project named ‘Umeed’ for which, I am also giving talks at various places.”
Indeed, it’s all about the power of women today that helps him he says, “I have got the strength to do this from my daughter and wife. They supported me wholeheartedly.”
He has been felicitated by various trusts and organizations for his cause. One such felicitation was done by the Krutagnyata Trust in 2014-2015 for his work.
“In my practice, I have never seen someone as simple and humble as him. When we felicitated him in 2014-15, he had done 327 deliveries for free. In spite of coming from a humble background, he wants to be there for the needy and others alike. I really salute him for his work,” said Ramesh Ganesh Koparkar, founder of Krutagnyata Trust.