Padma Shri Dr. Bhakti YadavBhakti Yadav was born in 1926 in a little village in Madhya Pradesh. The majority of the villagers were cowherds and milk-sellers. It was a time when girls did not aspire, nor were encouraged, to pursue higher education; or any education for that matter. Bhakti’s father sent her to the Ahilya Ashram, a girls’ school, some distance away. She then went on to Holkar Science College where she graduated at the top of her class. She was accepted at the Mahatma Gandhi School of Medicine to study for the MBBS degree. As the only female student in her class, the boys were hesitant to choose her for a lab partner, except for one boy Chandra Singh Yadav. From being lab partners the young Chandra chose Bhakti to be his life partner upon their graduation. The parents on both sides objected to the marriage for one reason or the other but Chandra and Bhakti remained steadfast in their resolve and the marriage went ahead on schedule. Dr. Bhakti Yadav chose to specialize in gynecology and became one of the very few female gynecologists in Madhya Pradesh. She turned down a lucrative position at the Government-owned Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Hospital because she felt the poor women in the cloth mill districts needed her services more. She worked at the Nandlall Bhandari Mills Maternity Home for many decades until the mills started closing down in 1978. She then opened her own Vatsalya Nursing Home. During all these years Dr. Bhakti Yadav treated all her patients without charging a penny. Her reputation made her a legend in her own time. Women from faraway Rajasthan and Gujrat came to her clinic. Everyone called her “Doctor didi” (Doctor sister) and no patient left the clinic without first asking Doctor didi to bless her and her baby. If a patient were too sick to attend the clinic, Dr. Yadav would jump on her bicycle and pedal out to the villages. Doctor Bhakti Yadav was bestowed India’s Padma Shri award in 2017 just a few months before she passed away at the age of 91. The Home which she founded is now run by her two sons Dr. Chetan Yadav (and wife Dr. Sunita Yadav) and Dr. Raman Yadav. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus asks: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, yet forfeit his own soul?” It is given unto some to disdain the imperatives of the here and now, and to labor in the vineyard for righteousness and peace. Be it even so. Padma Shri Dr. Bhakti Yadav 1926 – 2017.

Rishi Singh