His birthday on 1st July is celebrated as National Doctor's Day in India. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy established a trust for his properties at Patna for social service and appointed renowned nationalist Ganga Sharan Sinha (Singh) as the trustee. Roy was honoured with the Bharat Ratna, the highest national civilian honour on 4th February 1961.
Early Life of Bidhan Chandra Roy
Bidhan Chandra Roy was born on 1st July 1882, at Bankipore, Patna in Bihar. Prakash Chandra Roy, his father, was an Excise Inspector. Bidhan Chandra had 4 other siblings and was raised with simplicity, piety and discipline. His mother died when he was merely 14 years of age. He successfully completed his education in I.A. from the Presidency College, Calcutta (now Kolkata) and B.A. with Honors in Mathematics from Patna College. Later he got admitted to the Calcutta Medical College and the Bengal Engineering College, but Bidhan Chandra opted to attend medical school.
While he was still in college, the Partition of Bengal was declared. Several nationalist leaders, such as Bipin Chandra Pal, Lokmanya Kesav Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Aurobindo Ghosh and Lala Lajpat Rai, organized opposition to the partition. Bidhan Chandra Roy focused on his education so that he could initially serve his nation through his profession.
Medical Career of Bidhan Chandra Roy
After he completed his graduation, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy joined the Provincial Health Service. Later in February 1909, he went to England and got admitted at St Bartholomew's Hospital to advance his education. Within 2 years and 3 months, he successfully completed his M.R.C.P. and F.R.C.S. and returned to India in the year 1911. Then he taught at the Calcutta Medical College and later at the Campbell Medical School and also at the Carmichael Medical College. Bidhan Chandra founded the Jadavpur T.B. Hospital, Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital, Victoria Institution, Chittaranjan Seva Sadan and Kamala Nehru Hospital. The Chittaranjan Seva Sadan for women and children was established in the year 1926. Bidhan Chandra Roy also acted as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calcutta. He was bestowed with the Doctorate of Science in 1944 in recognition of various efforts undertaken by him.
Political Career of Bidhan Chandra Roy
Bidhan Chandra Roy entered politics in the year 1925. He contested in the elections as an Independent candidate for the Bengal Legislative Council from the Barrackpore Constituency and consequently defeated Surendranath Banerjea. Although he was a independent candidate, Roy voted with the Swaraj Party, which was the Parliamentary wing of the Indian National Congress. In the year 1928, he was elected to the All India Congress Committee. In 1929, Dr. Roy proficiently organised the Civil Disobedience in Bengal. He also incited Pandit Motilal Nehru to recommend him as a Member of the Working Committee (CWC) in the year 1930. After the CWC was pronounced an unauthorized and illegal assembly, Bidhan Chandra Roy and other members of the committee were detained by the British Indian Police on August 26, 1930 and imprisoned at the Alipore Central Jail.
Later, Bidhan Chandra acted as the Alderman of the Corporation from the year 1930 to 1931; and as the Mayor in 1933. The Calcutta Corporation expanded to a great extent under his leadership, such as development of free education, improved water supply and lighting, better roads and free medical aid. He also established a structure for providing grant-in-aid to hospitals and other charitable dispensaries.
Bidhan Chandra Roy as Chief Minister
After the nation attained Independence from the supremacy of the British Government, Bidhan Chandra Roy was nominated by the Indian National Congress Party for the position of the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Although Dr. Roy initially hesitated, but after receiving advice from Mahatma Gandhi, he accepted the position. On January 23, 1948, Bidhan Chandra took office. During that period, the state was devastated as result of communal violence, unemployment, lack of adequate food supply and a huge flow of refugees due to the formation of East Pakistan.
Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy brought back unity and discipline into the party ranks. After that he methodically and peacefully began to work on the enormous task at hand. Within a period of 3 years, law and order was restored to the state of Bengal without the compromise of status and dignity of his administration.
Later Life of Bidhan Chandra Roy
Bidhan Chandra Roy was honoured with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in India, on 4th February 1961. He died on 1 July 1962 on his 80th birthday at Kolkata, West Bengal. His house was gifted to a running a nursing home.
In the year 1976, the B.C. Roy National Award was founded for recognition of work in the fields of medicine, science, politics, literature, philosophy and arts.