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Monday February 10, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday February 10, 2014 MYT 7:36:13 AM
by patrick lee
Dr Subramaniam launching the book written by Dr Sengupta (right) at the Royal Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR: A book chronicling the service of Bengali doctors over the past 100 years in Malaysia will be hitting bookshelves soon.
Titled Malaysia & Bengali Doctors 1907-2012: A Personal Perspective, it is written by veteran surgeon Dr P.R. Sengupta, who served in various hospitals from 1967.
“I was motivated to write the book because there were a lot of misconceptions about the Bengali community,” he said at the book’s launch at the Royal Lake Club on Thursday.
“We want other Malaysians to know about the Bengalis. It’s for all Bengalis and all Malaysians as well,” he added.
A Bengali himself, Dr Sengupta said his community had not been given the same recognition as the others and that they were even confused with the Tamils.
He said the quest of saving lives and medicine was one ingrained in the community here, noting that many of the earlier doctors in Malaysia were Bengalis.
As an example, he said the first Bengali to come to then Malaya in 1907 was a doctor.
The country’s first female dermatologist and female radiologist after Independence were also Bengalis.
He said that some of the Bengali doctors even had recognition from foreign heads of state.
“It was an expectation of all Bengali families for their children to become doctors,” he said, estimating that there were about 500 of them in Malaysia at present.
He hoped that the book’s contents would detail the community’s contributions to Malaysian society.
Dr Sengupta has served in government, private and academic institutions before being appointed the state surgeon for Terengganu and Pahang.
In 1970, he was moved to Sarawak to replace the expatriate surgeon there, becoming the only surgeon in the state for several years.
Also at the launch was Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who commended Dr Sengupta for writing the book.
“Malaysians now and years to come will know about the (Bengalis’) past,” he said.
The book is available in paperback and hardback for RM70 and RM90 respectively.
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