INDIAN AMERICAN IS US TOP DOC
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Vivek Hallengere is just 37 and has become the Surgeon General of the United States of America. A rare honour indeed for him and his family hailing from a farmers’ family of Karnataka, India. A single man and a practicing Hindu, he took his oath of office placing hs hand on the Bhagwad Gita. His acceptance speech is a classic indeed. Among other things he said:
“ I am what I am because of my grandmother’s faith, my father’s strength, my mother’s love, my sister’s support and my fiance’s unyielding belief in me.”
Washington DC is a long way from a small farming village in Karnataka, India but it was the perseverance of grandfather Murthy to have Vivek’s father educated and shipped abroad for a bright career and, of course, Vivek’s grit and determination that saw the young shy boy come of age and occupy the grand position that he does today. He acknowledged that he should not be where he is today. But there he is notwithstanding a year long delay in his confirmation due to his views on gun culture. He had described it as a threat to public health and the National Rifle Association had mounted a campaign to oppose his nomination as a Surgeon General. Nevertheless Vivek Murthy made it because he said in his confirmation hearing that he would not use his office of Surgeon General as a bully pulpit for gun control.
Dr Vivek Murthy has not forgotten to help his people back home who live in his ancestral village, Hallengere in Mandya district of Karnataka State in India. His SCOPE foundation provides computers free of cost to students of secondary schools to enable them to remain abreast of explosion of knowledge all over the world. He had got one hundred computers given away in one go and his philanthropy is an ongoing process. Helping those who need help is in his mental make up. At the Harvard University he co-founded VISION at age 18 in 1995 and focused on HIV/AIDS in India and America. Later in the year 2000, he co-founded SWASTHYA in Singeri in Karnataka, India to train women to be health guides for the not-so-educated members of the fair sex and had them enlightened on menstruation through a number of workshops.
As a teenager back in Miami, USA he inculcated Love of Healing in his father’s clinic. He loved to be of help to fellow human beings.
Vivek was born in England and moved to USA at the age of three when his father chose to open a clinic in Miami. Vivek’s mother, Myetraie, had all along been a source of strength to him during his impressionable period of life. The Sanatan Sanskar he received from his parents, grandparents and imbibed the age-old Vedic values of life. The Sanskars inherited by him that had been passed on from generation to generation held him in good stead at every turn in life.
Vivek Murthy loves to drink almond milk that is not flavoured. He relishes raw carrot whenever hunger beckons him to the dining table. Of course, the secret of his physical, mental and spiritual fitness is Yoga. He does yogic exercises, of which Pranayam is a part, regularly. Indeed Yoga has helped Vivek maintain equanimity of mind and remain cool, come what may.
Vivek Murthy is a staunch believer in the dictum “ Stand up for your Values”. And he does stand up and wishes to be counted as such. That is the way he reached the spot where he is now and stands as the highest ranking Indian American in the Obama Administration. Vivek holds the rank of Vice-Admiral and loves to wear the naval uniform.
Vivek’s parental family is a close-knit one. No wonder his grandmother, his mother and father besides the loved ones of the family were present at the ceremony when Vice-President Biden anointed him as the Surgeon General of the United States of America.
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