Sometimes, utterly genius things are lost to us because we fail to realise their worth. This very cliched statement is the story of Doctor Subhash Mukhopadhyay, who spent his life trying to develop a test tube baby in the easiest way possible, was successful in doing so, but never got the recognition that was his due. All because the state of Bengal did not approve.
Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay was a physician based in Kolkata who created the world’s second and India’s first test tube baby. He achieved the feat on 3rd October 1978. When he made his work public, he was accused of ‘claiming’ to have created the first test tube baby, of having gone to the media without bureaucratic approval, and also of creating a test tube baby with a simple apparatus inside his apartment, where others failed with major equipments.
His whole trial was a trashy affair. Injustice prevailed as he was questioned by a group of people who had no idea about the advances in modern reproductive technology, people who understood nothing about his experiments and research. When he explained he had stored the embryos in sealed ampules, he was asked if the embryos did not break during the process of sealing. With a trial that consisted of questions as meaningless, his experiment and claims were declared bogus.
Tired of the government’s relentless harassment, and the humiliation that he was subjected to, Dr. Mukopadhyay committed suicide in 1981. In 2002, twenty-one years after he had published his work, it was assessed by T.C. Anand Kumar, Director of Institute of Research in Reproduction. He not only admired it but spoke extensively about how great a feat the doctor had acheived.
His tragedy shows the darkest side of the Indian judicial system. It was not able to recognize a man who improved the world of medicine by leaps and bounds. He was able to develop a test tube baby with a basic apparatus in his apartment and would have created wonders for the country. But sadly, his life was cut short. During his lifetime he faced ostracization, reprimand and insult from the West Bengal government. Today he’s recognized all over the world, with immense credibility as the second man in the world to have created a test tube baby.
Greatness cannot stay under the wraps forever.