Dr. Harchand Rai Lakhani Suthar was a renowned social worker and physician, with a high moral personality and pious life. For his extraordinary social services, he was awarded a high civil Award “Tamgha-i-Imtiaz” by the Government of Pakistan, on 23rd March 2007.
Dr. Harchand Rai Suthar was born on 15th September 1915 in the home of a teacher named Mr. Girdhari Lal at the birthplace of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Umerkot, Sindh. Dr. Harchand Rai Lakhani is the elder brother of Dr. Khet Lakhani (Jodhpur’s first mayor) who migrated to India during the partition of the Indian sub-continent.
He received his early education from the Government Primary School Umerkot and then got admission to Pathshala School Umerkot for secondary education. Then, he was sent to Hyderabad by his father on the recommendation of his family doctor Dr. Jinda Raam. Dr. Jinda Raam who was the most prominent and famous doctor of that time, created a dream in the mind of Harchand Rai to be a doctor. After completion of his matriculation, he got admission to the Medical College which was situated in Civil Hospital Hyderabad. At that time, the medical college was affiliated with the College of Physical Education Mumbai.
After completing his medical education with hard works, he was awarded the Certificate of Medical on 14th July 1940. And, then he was appointed on the government Job of the medical profession on 30th December 1948. He performed his duties sincerely and with his will and pride. Hence he served the nation and the poor people with his dignity, simplicity, and honesty. He used to say that doctor’s work is not a business or to earn money but his profession defines that doctor is made for the people to serve the people to cure people without his selfishness.
Due to certain conditions which were not acceptable for the honesty and dignity of Dr. Harchand Rai Suthar, he resigned from his government job in July 1954. Then he started his private clinic with the motive of serving the poor people who can’t afford the medical expenses, not the motive of earning the money. God blessed him with the talent of curing the patient in a unique way so that everyone comes to him for checkups and gets himself cured in less time and least cost of medicine.
Dr. Akhani had a very simple and decent personality. He always used to wear a white turban and white dressings. Dr. always tried to behave friendly with his patients selflessly. He always stood up while meeting people even when he had grown old. He always used to take part in public, traditional and cultural events, political gatherings, and social works such as fundraising events during floods or droughts. To serve the people of his area, he contested elections of 1970 against Rana Chander Singh and Jam Saqi but unfortunately, he could not win.
He also remained councilor (for 3 times ) & chairman (for 5 years) of the Town Committee Umerkot. He performed his duties there with full dedication, honesty, and simplicity. There is one interesting event to be noted that, there was a tree of papaya in the courtyard of the town committee Umerkot during his chairmanship there. One day, when some papayas got matured or turned yellow on the tree, then a peon of town committee plucked two papayas from the tree. The peon had sent one of two plucked papayas to Dr.’s home and taken the second papaya to his own home. When Dr. came back home in the evening and found the papaya there, then he asked his family who had brought that papaya. Dr.’s family told that someone from the office had brought that papaya.
The next day, Dr. Harchand Rai went office with that papaya and given it back to peon and asked him to sell it in the market and then deposit earnings in the accounts of the town committee after selling it. Dr. also told peon that some amount equal to one papaya will be deducted from his salary if he had taken one to his home. That all define the honesty and simplicity of Dr. Harchand Rai during his office tenure at the town committee Umerkot.
There are other lots of inspirational moments or events related to Dr. Harchand Rai that penning down those in few pages will feel not enough.
Dr. Harchand Rai passed away on Monday, 4th March 2013 at the age of 98.
The Dawn Newspaper’s Correspondent (10th March 2013), Tribute paid to Dr. Harchand Rai, Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/yju8uf7m
The Dawn Newspaper’s Correspondent (5th March 2013), Dr Harchand Rai passes away, Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/33dzfyb5
Rajiv Gaur (29th December 2020), First India, Jodhpur’s First Mayor Dr. Khet Lakhani dies at 100, https://tinyurl.com/2vu67tds