ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Virendra Singh is the leading Chest expert in India. Caring for & treating difficult asthmatic patients is his passion.
He has treated almost 1 million patients including 3 lacs asthmatic & COPD patients during the last 40yrs of practice. Interstitial lung disease (ILD) & Sleep apnea are other areas of his expertise.
Presently he is director of Asthma Bhawan & President of RHL, a prestigious 250-bedded multi-specialty hospital at Jaipur.
Q. What first made you fall in love with writing and books in general?
Writing a book was considered quite a challenging task & therefore I could not gather the courage to write a book earlier.
A few years back, I started applying the principles of Mahatma Gandhi in solving day-to-day problems of life on an experimental basis.
I found results quite encouraging, both at the hospital and at home. Then, I decided to compile the results of these episodes in the form of a book to help people having conflicts or facing challenging problems.
Q. What inspired the idea for your book?
Experimentation of principles of Mahatma Gandhi was the core idea of the book which came to my mind while working at SMS Hospital, Jaipur.
SMS Hospital is the biggest hospital in Rajasthan with the highest annual number of OPD patients in the country. In 2012 against my wish, the government made me superintendent of this hospital.
I had sleepless nights during the first week. The biggest challenge for me was “how to tackle the mistakes of colleagues & subordinates?”
If I ignore, it would lead to indiscipline and if I punish, it would result in hate and lobbying against me. As a doctor and scientist, both situations were not palatable for me.
Then, I was reminded of the slogan “Majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi”. Gandhi Ji committed one mistake, once only.
I came to know that Mahatma Ji used to process his mistakes through 10 steps to prevent repetition. From these 10 steps, I adopted three steps.
First, accept mistakes with guilt, second commit to not repeating, and third penance. The act of penance was carried out by doing a job for the mistake.
Few activities included for penance were quitting the most desired edible for some time, earning the appreciation of a patient after serving him, donating blood to a needy patient, completing pending work, etc.
I applied these three steps of processing mistakes not only to all employees of the hospital but also to myself.
The principles of Mahatma Ji were applied in working both in hospital and at home quite successfully. I realized that it is an extremely useful method of addressing problems of routine life.
Q. How did Gandhi Marg change your life?
When I applied these methods and wrote this book, I realized changes in myself. I used to have uncontrollable anger, but now it is tamed down to a low level.
The biggest advantage was during the mistake discussion with the erring person.
Such meetings used to be with high temper & quite distasteful earlier but now ending used to happen with a pleasant note and repetition of mistakes became rare.
Q. What are some lessons young Indians can learn from the Mahatma?
Young Indians are more enthusiastic, ambitious, and resourceful. But the level of their tolerance is compromised and therefore they perceive significantly higher episodes of conflicts with other persons in office, home, and college.
Mahatma Ji always perceived his mistakes as bigger & others’ mistakes small. Based on this principle we designed a Gandhi meter that can solve conflicts quite efficiently.
There are hundreds of books on Mahatma Gandhi highlighting the importance of great principles but this is the only book from which young Indians can learn ways of using these principles in solving their conflicts and problems of routine life.
Q. Which quality do you think is the most important in a doctor?
Not only for doctors but also for every person, the ability to listen with empathy is most important.
It wins the trust of the person even before verbal communication and helps in improving themselves in whatever manner possible. This will help people grow in all facets of their lives.
Q. What has the pandemic taught you?
Corona taught me to follow “Face & fight the crisis”. In the middle of 2020, COVID was everywhere. The government issued directions for persons above 60 years, to remain in the house.
I was 67yrs and most of my friends stopped their clinical practice. I was in a dilemma. On a lockdown day, I was driving my car to the hospital. The very busy road was deserted, with no person, no vehicle.
Suddenly I got the feeling of a soldier going into a war to save sick patients in the hospital and all people taking shelter in their houses. With this feeling, I decided not to rest but to work.
During the COVID battle for the last 2 years, I had COVID three times. Despite 3 attacks of covid, I don’t repent my decision of working.
Rather, it was the most valuable decision of my life. I examined more than 5000 covid patients. Taking rounds of COVID patients in isolation wards was quite challenging during those days.
My mere presence used to create a ray of hope on the frightened faces of COVID patients. My “face and fight covid” strategy saved many lives on one hand while giving immense satisfaction & gratification to me.
Q. How do you cope with stress?
How do you manage to work for long hours from 9 am to 9 pm at this age? It is a common question to me by many young people.
During a patient examination, my full attention is focused on the problem of the patient. This approach solves the problem of the patient on one hand and provides you immense satisfaction.
I enjoy talking to patients like seeing a movie. Since I enjoy my work, I do not get tired even with daily work of 12 hours. With such work, I forget my stress, and many times, I have to stress my mind to remember yesterday's stress.
Rest is the best fertilizer and work is the best medicine for stress.
Q. What has been your biggest achievement?
In 1988, I was in England for one year and my research on the effect of pranayama on asthma got published in the most prestigious medical journal, the Lancet.
With the success of this research, my supervisor asked me to stay in England for a few more years. But I wish to serve in India and have twin aims of working, against tobacco and for asthma patients.
After returning from England, I plunged into action against tobacco and the care of asthmatic patients. Our actions lead not only awareness but also the promulgation of laws like the COTPA & Gutka ban.
I could fulfill my two aims and that is my best achievement. And the best achievement of the last decade is the use of my book as a workbook by people in solving their routine problems.
Q. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
In 1965, I was 11 years old and attacks of asthma were so severe that I had to spend sleepless nights. With the sunrise, my agony used to lessen.
My asthma was so bad that I had to drop my studies for one year and repeat class 8th. Now I am an asthma doctor and try to ensure that no asthma patient spends sleepless nights.
I never believed in Mahatma Ji because of my perception that he gave consent for the partition of India. But when I attended a series of 7 lectures on his life. I became an avid supporter of his principles.
Q. Future of SALISMANIA.com through your eyes?
Your website does an excellent job of bringing all of the top books together under one roof. It contains a lot of information that today's youth enjoy.
We hope that many young people will be able to benefit from this book through your website.
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book is based on experimenting with Gandhian ways in real-time administration and personal life experiences.
The author himself has applied Gandhian principles and followed a Gandhian path in his life. The successful experiments and the impact has been well described in this book.
Publisher: Flying Pen Publications
Paperback: 134 pages
Genre: True Accounts