Note on our Founder, the Late Dr. B. P. Rajan in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry

An interesting note on the life of our illustrious founder, the Late Dr. B. P. Rajan as recalled by his close friend and contemporary Dr. A. Parameswaran was published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry

“I knew Dr. B P Rajan from 1957, when I joined the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) program in the erstwhile Dental Wing of the Madras Medical College (DW—MMC). He was then a Demonstrator in Dentistry, after graduating from DW–MMC in the first batch. Soon he left for Bombay to do his Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Operative Dentistry. On his return he took over the Department of Operative Dentistry in DW–MMC. He was a passionate teacher and he became a popular teacher of both the different subjects of Dentistry and his speciality subject, Conservative Dentistry. He was a good clinician as well and enabled students at the Dental College to perform treatment procedures with ease and confidence. Unhesitatingly he would demonstrate different specialized treatment procedures to his students.

The first batch for MDS in Conservative Dentistry at the Madras Dental College was to be administered under his leadership. However, there were some unexpected delays at the University of Madras in getting the required approvals and the start of the MDS (Conservative Dentistry) program got postponed. Hence, I went to Bombay to study for my MDS (Conservative Dentistry). The letter of reference he gave me was of immense help to me in securing my admission in Bombay. On my return to Madras in 1973, after my postgraduation, the MDS (Conservative Dentistry) program was functioning in the Madras Dental College (MDC), principally because of his unstinted efforts. This program offered opportunities to students, particularly from the southern states of India, aspiring to execute their postgraduation in MDC, because this was the singular Dental College in the whole of southern India. The Department of Conservative Dentistry at MDC grew under his leadership, acquiring several new instruments, equipment, and materials. Frequent visits of foreign specialists became possible through Rajan’s efforts and this opportunity updated the quality of training afforded to postgraduate students enrolled at MDC. These efforts by him made the Department of Conservative Dentistry famous and recognized in the state and country.

The Federation of Operative Dentistry was started 25 years ago and he was one of the founder members. The Federation enabled members of this discipline of Dentistry to get together annually; this Federation also enabled one to achieve a significant status and identity in the dental profession. Presently this Federation has grown into a strong group with excellent Fellowship, and is known for its conservative procedures, using diverse updated preventive methods, which subsequently continued to attract many more students for postgraduation. With his support many monographs were published regularly by me, in my role as theEditor of the Federation, for the benefit of postgraduate students. In playing this role, Dr. Rajan came to be the promoter of the Federation both nationally and internationally.

He served as visiting professor in various new dental colleges in the neighborhood of Madras. He was a sought-after examiner and in that capacity he served in many Indian universities. He took active part in the academic activities of these universities as a member of the Senate and Academic Councils. Under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) banner, he studied the effects of fluorine and its adverse effects on both teeth and bones. This study was well-received and promoted a further study to create a map of southern India, indicating its prevalence in drinking water and other water bodies for prevention of flourosis. He took active part as advisor and member in various other organizations such as, the Commission on Oral Health, ICMR, National Board of Examination, University Grants Commission (UGC) Committees, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), International Dental Federation, and the International College of Dentists.

Being a good clinician he had a busy practice, which made him widely known in the home state and country. His academic growth was consistent and he has to his credit many publications.He was the first South Indian to occupy the Presidency of the Dental Council of India. During his tenure as the President he made many policy changes in the dental curriculum. He made a mark during his position as the national president of Indian Dental Association by propagating the significance of Dental health among rural people. He had a great opportunity to establish strong recognition for Conservative Dentistry, as a popular branch in dentistry both in Civil and Army Services.

I had the privilege of being associated with him for nearly three decades, which afforded me opportunity to witness his meteoric rise both as a teacher and an administrator. He was responsible for upgrading DW—MMC to the Madras Dental College, and he took charge as its first Principal. He held this post for more than a decade, proving his efficiency in its administration. During his tenure we experienced the growth of the college to be recognized as one of the best dental institutions in India. He also constructed a private dental institution RAGAS in the outskirts of Chennai, admitting students for dental and para-dental education. His private dental clinic was upgraded into a multispeciality dental center in the name of Rajan Dental Institute.

After his retirement in 1992, he was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of Tamilnadu, Dr. M G R Medical University. This was a feather in his cap, as this prestigious post was occupied by a dental surgeon first time in the history of the university. Many changes were brought about due to his efforts in dental education to improve the quality of teaching programs and to support many dental research activities. He was awarded with a Fellowship by the Glasgow University in 1995. In recognition of his services, the degree of Doctor of Science (h. c) was awarded by the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University in 1998. He was chosen and also appointed as the special representative of the Government of Tamil Nadu at New Delhi in the rank of a cabinet minister, which he held for three years, from 2001 to 2003. His demise on 22 November, 2011, has left a void in the dental fraternity. He leaves behind his wife Shantha and children Gunaseelan and Archana.

Hailing from a respectable family in rural Tamil Nadu, Dr. Rajan rose to great heights in dentistry by his own effort and hard work. He was a star in the profession and will continue to inspire the professionals, as an example to emulate.”

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