China still adores Dwarkanath S. Kotnis – revamps school at his birthplace Solapur

Solapur, Dec 16 (IANS): The Chinese people continue to adore Dr. Dwarkanath S. Kotnis, over eight decades after he died while serving the ill and needy there on a special medical mission during the second China-Japan War of 1938.

As part of his 81st death anniversary commemoration, the Chinese Consulate General in Mumbai and Yapp India Automotive Systems Pvt Ltd, Nashik, dedicated a revamped school in Solapur – Kotnis’ birthplace – this week, officials said.

A grand opening ceremony of the renovated SMC Camp No. 1 Camp High School was held on December 14 with Chinese Consul-General Kong Xianhua, Yapp India CEO Chen Huazhu, Solapur Municipal Commissioner Sheetal Telgi-Ugale, and more than 800 students in attendance.

The Chinese Consulate and Yapp India have invested Rs 50 lakh to install a new drinking water system, develop a sports ground, renovate the gates and security system, besides painting the school building and fitting CCTV cameras to give it a new look.

Speaking on the occasion, Xianhua said that this school will soon be renamed as ‘Dr. D.S. Kotnis Friendship School’, after completing the relevant official formalities, as the students greeted the announcement with a loud applause.

Expressing gratitude, Teli-Ugale said Kotnis’ dream of having a school or hospital in Solapur is coming true, as she expressed her readiness to work with China and Chinese companies to strengthen the education-health sector of the town.

Kotnis was born in Solapur on October 10, 1910, and qualified as a medico from the renowned KEM Hospital & Seth G.S. Medical College in Mumbai.

When was barely 28, Kotnis became part of a five-member voluntary Indian Medical Mission team, organised and crowd-funded by the then Congress President Subhash Chandra Bose and senior leader Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, following a desperate appeal for help from China.

Leaving for China in September 1938, Kotnis, along with Dr. M. Atal from Allahabad and the Mission head, Dr. M. Cholkar (Nagpur), Dr. B.K. Basu and Dr. D. Mukherjee (Calcutta), toiled for nearly five years on the battle-front.

Xianhua recalled how Kotnis always worked in the front-line, saved innumerable lives with his exceptional medical skills, trained a group of skilled Chinese medicos and made significant contributions to the victory of China against Japanese aggression.

The long hours of work in the harsh environment took its toll on Kotnis, who died on December 9, 1942, at the young age of 32.

His untimely death shocked and saddened the Chinese and for generations they continue to regard Kotnis as a ‘Son of China’.

“Gratitude is the traditional virtue of Chinese people… We want to make our own small contribution to Solapur, try to repay Kotnis’ ultimate sacrifice for China and honour his heroic deeds,” said Xianhua.

He also noted that young students are the future, and the seeds of friendship sown in their hearts will help carry forward the spirit of Kotnis and hold high the torch of China-India friendship, emphasising that “the Chinese people have not, and will never forget Dr. Kotnis”.

Xianhua assured that the school revamp is only the beginning and “there will be a lot more coming for Solapur’s all-round development, adding that Kotnis would have been pleased to see his birthplace improving with the combined efforts of the people of China and India.



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Title: China still adores Dwarkanath S. Kotnis – revamps school at his birthplace Solapur

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