Doctor with a mission
An oncologist of repute, Dr Barat Barai is the man behind Narendra Modi’s successful Madison Square Garden reception in September 2014
BRAIN drain has always been catalysed by crooked and corrupt system prevalent in India. As a result, Indians not satisfied by no or under utilisation of their calibre, when left with no choice, bid adieu to “Bharat Mata” and get settled in foreign lands. Some of them reach the pinnacle of success and their achievements make India proud. Dr Barat Barai, MD, an oncologist in Merrillville, Indiana, US, is one such son of India on whose shoulders today both greatness and its twin, fame, rest easy. He has always been active in promoting India-US relations. He is one of the pioneers in getting the Indo-US nuclear deal signed. He has organised meetings to raise resources for both Barack Obama and Narendra Modi in order to support them in becoming the premiers of their respective countries. He is a man with whom Modi stayed in the US when he was a party worker and went to attend a programme on Swami Vivekananda in 1993 along with veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. When Modi during his short visit to the US was scheduled to address a huge public gathering but was denied visa, Dr Barai, with the help of HR Shah of TV Asia, made arrangements for video address and made Modi speak live to everybody. When all over the world there was strong criticism about Modi becoming India’s next Prime Minister, Dr Barai, along with 10 other prominent NRIs under the umbrella of NRI Club of Vadodara, started countering this criticism by using Google hangouts and appealed for 100 per cent voting for Modi while addressing mediapersons. He is the man who created history by organising a rockstar community reception for Prime Minister Modi at Madison Square Garden in New York in September 2014. Over 20,000 Indian Americans witnessed this massive reception. It was a historic reception where almost 30 political leaders eagerly waited on the stage to greet Modi. Modi’s long-time friend and confidante is known for his hospitality and has hosted several Indian leaders such as Chimanbhai Patel, Somnath Chatterjee, Madhavsinh Solanki, Murli Manohar Joshi, Keshubhai Patel and many others. He has bagged numerous awards in the last 35 years, including the highest civilian award given to overseas Indians and people of Indian origin, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. He has also joined the elite group of awardees of Ellis Island Medal of Honor that include
Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton. This Honor, founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organisations (NECO) honors those immigrants who distinguish themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.
DR Barai, born in Mumbai in an ordinary family with limited resources, not only stood first but created history in Baroda Medical College by receiving gold medal in every subject. In spite of his extraordinary achievements, he was denied a job because of the rule that unless anyone has three years of teaching experience he cannot get appointed in the same medical college. In Gujarat medical colleges there was no position of either a junior lecturer or a senior registrar which could allow one to get three years of experience. As a result, not even a guy like him was eligible to apply. With no chance of getting into the government medical college and no money to start private practice, he left India for the US in 1974 and became a naturalised US citizen in 1981. The land of innovation provided Barai a gentle environment to grow and blossom. Today, 69-year-old Barai, with 47 years of experience, is one of the most reputed Hematology/Oncology specialists in the country. The Doctor, Member and former President of the Medical Licensing Board of the State of Indiana, and two times awardee of excellent work in the field of Hematology/ Oncology is currently Medical Director of the Cancer Institute, Methodist Hospitals. He has been the President of the Medical Staff, Chairman of the Medical Executive Committee and serves on the Board of Directors of the Methodist Hospitals. He also serves on the advisory board of the Indiana University School of Business. He is associated with a number of social, religious and community organisations like Federation of Indian Associations, Manav Seva Mandir, Bharatiya Seniors, Indian American Cultural Centre NW Indiana and host of Indian American organisations. He is a philanthropist actively involved in public service. He treats uninsured patients and works with drug companies to reduce their cost of medication. He has organised meetings to raise resources when natural disasters such as tsunami in Asia, Hurricane Katrina, and earthquakes struck India and Haiti. He has donated large sums to build sanitation facilities in India for people who are poor, homeless and living in ghettos.