The Turning Point Story -Col (Retd) NS Nyayapathi- Founder Trustee & Hon. Director, Care India Medical Society
In ancient vedas It is said that – “Janani Janm Bhoomischya Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means that “Mother and Motherland are superior to Heaven.
Know About Col Nyayapathi
Col Nyayapathi, a war veteran of 1971 served the country for more than 25 years. Later, life took a sudden turn when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. The next 28 years, he served the nation again by reaching out to the ones in pain through social work.
Well, the story started at the tender age of 22 when a young engineer decided to join the armed forces. NS Nyayapathi, a mechanical engineer by profession, served the Indian Army. He joined the most prestigious service, which is the service of “Motherland”.
In 1989, while he was posted at Allahabad, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. She expressed her wish to visit Prayag in Allahabad to attend the Maha Kumbh Mela. Nyayapathi carried his mother in his arms for her to be blessed by the Shankaracharya. His holiness Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswati asked him what he wanted, he replied that he wanted his mother to pass away peacefully.
The Turning Point
Nyayapathi saw his mother go through immense pain and suffering and she passed away in 1989 while he was holding her hand in his hands. It left a deep impact on him. This was the turning point in his life – the moment when one takes a decision to change one’s course of life.
This motivated him to take premature retirement from secure army service in his 40’s. His mother’s pain and suffering drove Nyayapathi to take the dreaded disease by the horns. Beyond conventional treatment, a cancer patient needs a lot more such as emotional and psychological support in addition to nursing and supportive care and pain management. He visited many Cancer Hospitals in the USA and UK to seek answers to innumerable questions related to cancer control management. He initially took up preventive and early detection strategies and ventured into the field of palliative care, then a relatively new concept in India. The outcome of his decision helped to alleviate pain and suffering of thousands of other cancer patients.
CARE India Medical Society
He incorporated a public charitable trust called CARE India Medical Society in Feb 1993. Having overcome numerous hurdles, NS Nyayapathi’s steadfast perseverance facilitated the formation of India’s first Home Care Program – SATSEVA for cancer patients in 1994. It was an uphill task mainly due to limited resources and poor awareness levels.
He, along with his wife Dr. Madhuri Kavoori, an anesthesiologist, faced all odds to get the organization steady on its feet. It was difficult in the early years when Dr Madhuri travelled all over the city in public transport, loaded with a water mattress weighing 7 kg and her medical kit. Some days they made over 10 to 14 home visits to reach out to as many patients as possible. Help started pouring in and seeing their dedication, a good Samaritan finally donated an autorickshaw in the year 1996.
NS Nyayapathi’s courage of his convictions has carried him from a small room with single table space that was offered by a well-wisher in the early days to where he has brought the organization presently – a four storied building that houses VISHRANTI Hospital.
The Charitable Trust runs four major programs covering cancer early detection, treatment and pain management. “Satseva” – India’s first Home Care Program provides end-of-life care for cancer patients; Matruseva is a Health Maintenance program for women; Vishranti is a twenty-bed hospital that provides critical care services for patients with difficult symptoms; Cantreat, the most recent program offers free chemotherapy to women with specific cancers and also to male patients suffering from head and neck cancers.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives”. NS Nyayapathi has most definitely impacted many lives.
Nobody should have pain while they are living and we must do everything to support a patient until he lives. Even in case of death of a poor patient, Vishranti hospital provides Rs 5,000 as funeral expenses, helps them cope with grief and even provides assistance for rehabilitation as per the needs of the family.
The organization is deeply committed to patient care and comfort. Patients are kept engaged in various creative activities – a methodology adopted and practiced by Nyayapathi and his team to divert their minds from the disease. There are various support groups and NGOs who come forward to support the cause. They visit patients regularly and engage them in activities such as singing bhajans, doing art & craft, Yoga etc.
Cancer is associated with grief and pain and all one needs to do is to show kindness and share their grief. Diwali With A Purpose, a unique initiative started by Nyayapathi in 1996 was conceptualized to celebrate Diwali with cancer patients and their families. The event gives a platform to the patients and their families to share their struggle with cancer. Some of them break down narrating the timely support they received and some of them openly cry to express their grief and give honest feedback about the organization.
Having a vision is one thing; working towards making that vision into a reality is not always achievable for everyone.
After having given a third of his life towards his mission to alleviate pain and human suffering, Col Nyayapathi is not done yet. At the age 78 years, he is steadfast in his commitment to the cause. During the Covid lockdown in April 2020, Vishranti hospital had been closed as the area was barricaded as part of lockdown restrictions. Owing to the non-availability of Doctors, it was challenging to provide chemotherapy on schedule to twenty-two patients. Post-surgery, it is essential that chemotherapy is administered as per schedule to avoid recurrence of cancer.
Despite his age and lockdown restrictions, Nyayapathi risked his personal safety and health to organize chemotherapy on schedule for all these twenty-two patients, most of them being young mothers. He personally counselled them to take chemo while observing utmost precautions. His passion and commitment to save the lives of these mothers is an unknown and unsung story and may have a few parallels. For him, every single life is precious and his commitment to alleviating the pain and suffering of patients remains his single most focus.
Currently, Nyayapathi is engaged in setting up satellite pain management centers in the hinterland of Maharashtra to provide succor to ailing patients through a Rural Outreach Program for providing free pain management services to the rural poor and the needy.
He believes – Unremitting service without expectations to relieve the pain and suffering of the needy makes one truly experience God around.
Editor: Mahima Gir Mehra