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OBITUARY
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 290-291

In memory of Prof. Ashok Kumar Bajaj (December 24, 1945–January 22, 2021)


1 Department of Pediatric Dermatology, Wadia Children Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Mansi Skin and Allergy Clinic, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of Pediatric Dermatology, Institute of Child Health, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission19-May-2021
Date of Decision25-May-2021
Date of Acceptance01-Jun-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Sandipan Dhar
Flat 9C, Palazzo, 35, Panditia Road, Kolkata - 700 029, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijpd.ijpd_68_21

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How to cite this article:
Parikh D, Srivastava P K, Dhar S. In memory of Prof. Ashok Kumar Bajaj (December 24, 1945–January 22, 2021). Indian J Paediatr Dermatol 2021;22:290-1

How to cite this URL:
Parikh D, Srivastava P K, Dhar S. In memory of Prof. Ashok Kumar Bajaj (December 24, 1945–January 22, 2021). Indian J Paediatr Dermatol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 26];22:290-1. Available from: https://www.ijpd.in/text.asp?2021/22/3/290/319950







On January 22, 2021 COVID extracted a heavy price on dermatology society as our beloved teacher, a brilliant physician and doyen of clinical dermatology, Professor Ashok Kumar Bajaj succumbed to it.

It seems difficult to believe that Professor Bajaj, whom I (SD) had spoken to just the other day in January would bid goodbye so soon as COVID was nowhere in our discussion.

He was born on December 24, 1945, in erstwhile undivided India, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). Dr. Bajaj's father had made the move to settle in Panipat Punjab during the partition exodus. He passed his MBBS from medical college Rohtak in 1969 and MD (Dermatology) from country's premiere institute, All India Institue of Medical Science, New Delhi in 1973. In the same year, he joined as a Lecturer (Dermatology) in the department of medicine at the Motilal Nehru (MLN) Medical College, Allahabad (currently known as Prayagraj. With his hard work, passion and perseverance, he almost singlehandedly developed the department of dermatology, venereology, and leprology which earlier used to be a part of the department of medicine. His academic interest and keen interest in clinical dermatology soon attracted many of his younger colleagues and juniors and soon the dermatology department at MLN medical college became a hotspot of clinical dermatology learning in the entire Uttar Pradesh.

Professor's Bajaj's interest was fired in the field of contact allergic dermatitis where he became famous for some of his most notable original research findings. He was the first clinical dermatologist to point out that the glue which is used to make the sticker “bindis” which is adorned by most Indian women on their forehead could lead to allergic dermatitis and later depigmentation. For this work, he came to be known as the “Bindi man” in the Scientific circles of contact dermatitis the world over. He was a founder member of the contact and occupational dermatitis forum of India society and was regularly invited abroad for giving Scientific talks on contact dermatitis particularly in the Indian context. It will not be an exaggeration to say that it was his hard work that made the world of contact dermatitis to take notice of the Indian contact dermatitis scenario seriously. He acclaimed global recognition for his innovative work on “bindi, alta and leather dermatitis” published in most reputed global journals on the subject. He also contributed significantly to the standardization of the Indian standard contact allergen series as he strongly believed that allergens sourced from the west would not bring the best results in the Indian environment and context. Because of his tireless work in the field of contact dermatitis he was considered as “Contact Dermatitis man of India.”

He was almost like a “father figure” of the Indian Association of Dermatologists Venereologists and Leprologists being the former president of IADVL, the second-largest dermatology society f the world. He was also the former Ombudsman of the official organ of IADVL, the Indian Journal of Dermatology Venereology and Leprology. His warmth, approachability and magnanimity made him a mentor of thousands of dermatologists in India. He combined academics and practice which was hitherto unknown and became a trend-setter in this arena. His yearly “Clinical Case Conference” in Allahabad used to draw many eminent dermatologists of the country which he organized for 25 long years, which was a unique conference of its kind in India.

Apart from his scientific brilliance, Sir was a thoroughbred gentleman with great empathy and a sharp sense of humor. He was a true seeker of knowledge and never shied away from extending his hand of friendship to even fresh pass outs. He used to joke that it was his way of holding on to his own youth. He loved his family which comprised of his equally famous spouse Professor. Dr. MrsSarita Bajaj and two young daughters both of whom are married and settled abroad. He loved to entertain close friends whom he invited to his house and his after dinner sessions of Shero-Shayari reflected this multitalented man's love for Urdu poetry. He was an avid sportsman and loved to swing his tennis racquet during leisure time. He was a very kind-hearted man and believed in giving back to society with his philanthropy.

We will miss Professor Bajaj dearly, but his impact will live on for generations to come.

In the words of Rabindranath Tagore……….

My freedom is in the light of the sky

My freedom is in the dust, in the grass

Far beyond the mind and body I lose myself

My freedom soars in the melody of the songs

Acknowledgment

We would like to sincerely acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Rajeev Sharma and Dr. Subhra Dhar towards preparing the write-up.






 

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