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The 'Miracle man of Homeopathy' behind the 104-years old Russa Pharmacy

10 April, 2023 16:49:15
The 'Miracle man of Homeopathy' behind the 104-years old Russa Pharmacy

Living as I do in the Hazra area, one of the oldest localities of South Kolkata, I have often walked down Ashutosh Mukherjee Road with a particular signboard always attracting my attention: 'Russa Pharmacy, established in 1919'. I have seen long queues of patients waiting outside, but hardly any doctor or compounder inside. My curiosity got the better of me to the point where I even asked one of the patients which doctor they had come to see. But that is a fair question, I feel. Russa Pharmacy has survived for more than 100 years, and is clearly in good shape.  The exteriors are not dilapidated like most old buildings, and a peep inside shows old yet well-maintained cabinets stacked with medicines.

Finally, I simply decided to go in, not as a patient, but as an onlooker. And there behind the cabinets I found an elderly gentleman in spectacles, diligently explaining to patients when to have which medicine, while bringing down stacks of medicines himself from a cupboard. One of the patients told me the gentleman is the famous Dr Mrinal Kanti Ghosh, whose diagnoses and medications have earned him such fame that patients from all parts of West Bengal land up at Russa Pharmacy.

The doctor kindly gave me some time one day after chamber hours, and I got to know that Russa Pharmacy had been established by his grandfather Manmohan Ghosh. “He started a homoeopathy practise in Russa Pharmacy though he had no formal medical degree, but he became a celebrated homeopath even though he was self-taught. His practise stemmed from his love of homeopathy and a desire to serve patients at affordable fees. His medicines worked wonders and patients were indebted to him.”

Manmohan's son and Mrinal Kanti's father Manindra Chandra Ghosh also became a homoeopath and studied in Kolkata, becoming a doctor at the same Russa Pharmacy in the 1940s. Like his father, he seems to have achieved miraculous feats of homoeopathy and was venerated by patients, curing many chronic diseases and even offering relief to the terminally ill. “He had many well-known patients, including Commander Manekshaw, Mr Ogle (a high official of Khidirpur docks), Mr Rajen (a top boss from Kodak film) and so on,” Dr Mrinal Kanti Ghosh told me proudly.

As Kolkata became a hotbed for tropical ailments like cholera and typhoid, Mrinalbabu’s father provided immense service in times of death and disease. Patients from far and near crowded into Russa Pharmacy, even from other states of India and from across the border. Having earned his BSc, DMS degree and inspired by his grandfather and father to serve humanity, Dr Mrinal Kanti Ghosh joined the pharmacy and has continued to serve here despite his advancing years. Happily, the fourth generation of homoeopaths is now ready to join the exclusive club, with Mrinalbabu's son Mrityunjay opting for a BHMS (Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery) degree. And so the 103-year-old family tradition of medical service goes on. 

A typical l day at Russa Pharmacy never ends before 10.30 pm, because the doctor will wait until the last patient has been served. He never drives away anyone from his doorstep, which has undoubtedly contributed to his reputation as the ‘Miracle Man of Homeopathy’ in Kolkata. The clinic retains its old-world charm, among its furniture a doctor’s chair made of cane and carved wood. The wall-to-wall cabinets are stacked with hundreds of small medicine bottles, but Russa Pharmacy doesn’t need compounders, because the septuagenarian doctor knows exactly where which medicine is and the correct mixtures. 

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