There is no shortcut to success Dr KK Aggarwal, Editor in Chief eMedinewS and IMA News in conversation with Dr Motilal Singh, Retired Professor of Surgery, Patna Medical College, Patna. Dr Motilal Singh has been honored with Dr BC Roy National Award for the year 2009 under the category of ‘Outstanding services in the field of Socio-Medical Relief’. How does it feel being conferred one of the most prestigious awards in the medical field? Great! I feel proud that my years of hard work and services have finally been recognized. Tell me about your journey so far. Hailing from a small village in Bihar, I have come a long way. I was always a bright student. I topped in the Patna Division in Matriculation exam and obtained second position in Patna University in I.Sc exam. I topped in the All India Mining entrance exam and was all set to join but was advised by the Principal of the Mining College that I should join the medical field. I followed his advice and after that there was no looking back. I completed my MBBS on merit scholarship, did MS (General Surgery) and then moved to the UK where I passed the FRCS (Edinburgh) and FRCS (London) exams, on the first attempt within a span of one year. Then I came back to India and joined the Patna Medical College where I worked till my retirement. What were the early challenges faced by you in your career? How did you manage to overcome them? In those times there was no school in our village. I walked 8 km everyday to school. Because of my humble background I could not afford the cost of education. Besides, continuing further studies was not the trend in those days. I lost my father when I was in std. six. My elder brother who was studying mining engineering was like a father figure and a big help to me. He supported me morally & gave me monetary help. He set an example for me. My mother was also very supportive. Besides, I earned scholarships that helped me to complete my studies. Tell us about your family. How important has been the role of your family in your journey? We were three brothers and one sister. My elder brother was a Chief Mining Engineer & younger brother Executive Engineer. They were all very meritorious and toppers in their own fields. I had a very close knit family. The role of my elder brother in shaping up my career has been tremendous. Later, after I got married, my wife Mrs Shakuntala Singh MA, topper & Gold Medalist gave up her own job and looked after her family. She has been a constant support and without her sacrifices I would not have reached so far. What would be your message to the community? I would like to say: • Educate your children, girls and boys alike. • There is no shortcut to success. • Hard work pays. • Don’t indulge in wrong practices. Given a chance, what changes would you like to bring about in Health Policies? In Bihar, health policies need a lot of improvement. There are still limited facilities in the villages. Government needs to provide more facilities for health care in the rural areas, better transport, better drug supplies and better equipments. The timely recruitment and promotion of doctors as well as increasing the number of nurses and paramedical staff in Medical Colleges and peripheral hospitals will go a long way in improving healthcare in our state. What advice would you give to youngsters? I would tell the youngsters that there is no substitute for hard work. Just focus on your work. Set a target and work towards it. Try to earn the goodwill of others. Money and fame will automatically follow.