Prof. Dr. Heeresh Chandra
WHY CHANGE OF SUBJECT FROM ANATOMY TO FORENSIC MEDICINE ?He recalls the murder, in 1951, of one of his teachers, Ms. Ahilyabai Date, Prof. of English, who taught him in B.Sc. class during 1947, at Nagpur University. It is this autopsy that he witnessed as 4th year student and mounting pressure brought on the autopsy surgeon that attracted him to this mute subject which he provided speech through his dedicated work, inspite of many hurdles from the medical profession and investigative agencies. She was poisoned with Dhatura and later transported in her own car by a hired driver near Ambaziri Lake in Nagpur and the car was set on fire with the body inside.
SET BACKS AND GOD'S ASSISTANCE / PROTECTION.
On return from abroad in 1971, he gave up Anatomy and the combined assignment of Superintendent of Hospital and Professor of Forensic Medicine. He took over as Professor of Forensic Medicine alone. The life time ambition was to create a quasi-judicial Institute as apex teaching, research and training center combining the services of medicine, judiciary and home department. From a single room in 1972, today we have the full-fledged department. Every examiner and visitor come to see this apex Institute. On May 5, 1973, with the seventh injection of ARV(Anti Rabic Vaccination) - within 18 hours - he developed quadriplegia with ascending paralysis which took over the lower abdomen and bladder etc., and threatening to take over the lung and the heart.
One of the greatest achievement was the Hon'ble High Court agreed to send judges for training which I believe has been discontinued after my retirement. He developed the department from wheel chair. From the sick bed, he gave expert guidance in conduction of autopsies, conducted all the graduate and postgraduate examinations in Forensic Medicine, helped crime investigations, and appeared as as witness. The court used to assemble in the hospital private ward No.4 where he was admitted till April, 1974. He claims to have solved one of the best cases from the sick bed. The physio-therapy which he devised himself was also worth observing. He used to exercise from morning 5 'o' clock to 10 'o' clock at night. He had to learn to walk and coordinate the movements. He modified his vintage car to suit his disabled limbs. He gave whatever he had acquired in the field of Forensic Medicine to his students without reservation. Some imbibed to practice in the services of the dead and some he says are misusing his teachings. He had great faith in the occult powers of the dead and he is convinced that his survival was due to blessings of the dead he served. The lease of life to look after, develop the subject of Forensic Medicine and look after his family and the cause of dead is the gift.
Even after his retirement, one can see him on the computer dictating the medico-legal Consultancy reports on the cases he receives for expert opinion. He goes all over the country to give testimony as a witness. Many judgments now delivered by the Supreme Court of the cases in which he gave opinion about 10-15 years back are full of praise for his contribution. Now-a-days, Prof Chandra is busy with research and developing projects in the field of Anthropology and Forensic Medicine. He is also revising the famous book, Cox Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology, which is likely to be in the market soon. It was last edited by Dr Barnard Knight, the famous authority in the subject in United Kingdom. One of the chapters of practical use to this august gathering is the subject of the topic he has revised in the book and has presented.