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BMJ. 2007 November 17; 335(7628): 1041.
PMCID: PMC2078671

MTAS—Indian style

Ajit Singh Kashyap, head, Department of Endocrinology, Command Hospital (Central Command), Lucknow, India, Kuldip Parkash Anand, professor, Department of Medicine, Command Hospital (Eastern Command), Kolkata, India, and Surekha Kashyap, Command Headquarters (Central Command), Medical Branch, Lucknow, India

He was a callow young doctor who had been posted to a 100 bed, government district hospital in a small town in central India. In the hospital he came across a young woman doctor who had recently graduated from medical college. They decided to get married before their postings to remote corners of the country according to the prevailing government service rules. Their parents were vehemently opposed to the marriage, feeling that both were inexperienced and immature, and refused to attend their marriage ceremony.

The young couple brought their dilemma to the notice of the hospital's medical superintendent, a kind and jovial senior doctor. He arranged their marriage ceremony in the hospital temple. Their marriage rituals were performed by the hospital Hindu religious teacher. Their flower bedecked vehicle was driven into the hospital premises, and they were greeted by the patients with floral bouquets. An impromptu party was arranged in the hospital courtyard by the staff and patients.

However, a busybody colleague in the hospital objected to the marriage as the couple had flouted an ancient government service rule—enacted in the pre-independence, British era—that forbade government servants from marrying before 25 years of age. He threatened to complain to the district commissioner. The medical superintendent asked the young newlyweds to meet him at the golf course the next day. There, he introduced the couple to the district commissioner, an avid golfer, saying that they had come to seek his blessing. The district commissioner promptly blessed them and overruled the complaint.

Their next hurdle was the Damocles' sword of postings to separate locations hanging over their heads. The medical superintendent drafted an application to the health minister for their posting together on compassionate grounds, explaining their difficulties. This was followed by telephone calls to a concerned senior officer in the Health Ministry to circumvent the bureaucratic red tape.

The officer in charge of postings was persuaded and issued orders for their posting together to a small hospital at a beautiful hill station in the Himalayas on “extreme passionate grounds.”


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