Random notes

Sanjampreet Singh

According to celebrity author Stephen King, writing has often helped him get over terrible situations in his past.  Taking a cue from him, Dr JS Wadhwa, an “unknown doctor”, has written a book on his life to get over the loss of his wife.  In Autobiography of an Unknown Doctor, he pays a tribute to his spouse, Jasbir Wadhwa, a home science lecturer and later a school principal.

By his own admission, Dr Wadhwa was “no great shakes as a doctor and eye specialist”. He recalls that his most challenging stint as a Punjab Government doctor was during the Operation Bluestar. He was part of a five-member team of doctors who were asked to report in Amritsar for conducting postmortems.

In three days, each member of the team conducted about 20 postmortems of unidentified, numbered bodies. On one evening, a body was brought under a heavy Army escort. It was that of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. 

No doctor was willing to conduct the postmortem of Bhindranwale’s body out of fear of retaliation later. Doctors from Amritsar and other districts, including Dr Wadhwa, refused to do it. It was only on the intervention of the Director, Health, that doctors from Amritsar conducted the postmortem examination.

Dr Wadhwa’s experiences as a government doctor and later as a private practitioner, his travels to Africa, US and Canada, and account of his sons have been put together haphazardly in this book. 

Loose sentences, spelling errors and typos make reading difficult. Everyone has a story to tell, but only a few have a flair for it.