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Thursday 17 August 2017
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Film documents life of India's first test-tube baby creator

Kolkata, Nov 13, 2014 (PTI) 12:48 IST
A new documentary on Dr Subhash Mukherjee, who had created the world's second and India's first test-tube baby, premiered at the ongoing Kolkata International Film Festival today. DH File Photo

A new documentary on Dr Subhash Mukherjee, who had created the world's second and India's first test-tube baby, premiered at the ongoing Kolkata International Film Festival today.

Directed by social activist Rajib Sarkar, the short documentary has been titled 'Effect of Indian Crab Syndrome'. The sixteen-minute-long film also shows the original hand-written research copy detailing the process for the birth of test-tube babies using in-vitro fertilization (IVF), a technology he had pioneered.

The report had formed the basis of the birth of Durga on October 3, 1978 in Kolkata. She was the world's second test tube baby and came only 67 days after the birth of the first test-tube baby in England.

After his research was rejected, he committed suicide in 1981.

"Not only was his research rejected but he was also subjected to humiliation from the medical fraternity. Some people were jealous and tried to pull him down by not recognising his marvellous achievement. If you put few crabs in a bag none of them will come out because they will start pulling each other down. That is what we call the crab syndrome," Sarkar told PTI.

It was only in 2002 that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recognised the efforts of the genius.

The film also has a recorded message from Namita, the doctor's wife, who died a lonely death few months ago.

She explains how she faced financial troubles and never got any help from the government.

Her last wish was an appeal to President Pranab Mukherjee to accord a national recognition to her late husband for his feat.

In 2010, UK's professor Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his pioneering work in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

"And what about our own Dr Mukherjee? Even today most people do not know about him. It is a shame for us that we have forgotten his contribution. He is one of our unsung national heroes," the director said.

In 1991, eminent director Tapan Sinha had made a film 'Ek Doctor Ki Maut' (Death of a doctor) on his life and death.

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