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

Gfiles - - DIASPORA - by SADIA RAH­MAN

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.

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