Cancer pain unites two greats

Author : Anurradha Prasad


New Delhi: Cancer unites recently Pulitzer award winner Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee and Bollywood monarch Shahrukh Khan. Apart from the fact that they belong to same alma -mater in capital, both have seen the pain of cancer engulfing their very close ones. Now known world over for his seminal work ' The Emperor of All Maladies', Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee and Shahrukh Khan have seen their very dear relatives dying due to cancer. Understandably, they feel very strongly about this ailment. While Dr. Siddhartha is a cancer specialist and seen two relatives succumbing to cancer, SRK has observed the pain of cancer very closely as his own father Mr. Meer Mohammad Taj Khan died of Cancer in 1981.

More often than not, SRK talks about his father and the deadly ailment that ultimately proved too much for his father. Cancer is a disease from within. Normally cells grow and die. They become malignant, destroying tissues around them and often spreading through the body.

Cancer apart, SRK and Dr. Siddhartha have strong middle-class background proved that one can touch the dizzy heights in life with sheer grit and hard work. They both proved without even an iota of any debate. Both hail from simple South Delhi families with tremendous amount of focus on education. Both did their schooling from St. Colombus School, one of the most venerable temple of learning in capital. The best thing you would observe about them is that SRK and Dr. Siddhartha not confined themselves to only academics. They were doing so many other things during school days. Sid was writing poems, short stories and plays. SRK was also very bright student, playing cricket and taking part in plays. Arguably they are the role-models for one and all. They are family men also. They have happy family life unlike many celebrities who always remain in news for all the wrong reasons.

And Dr. Siddhartha is truly a man of learning, Goddess Saraswati's very own child. He topped in Oxford, Stanford and Harvard. A Rhodes scholar who did his higher education through scholarships. His academic record is mind-boggling. One really feels both inspired and envious of his matchless achievements in the filed as complex as cancer. The Pulitzer and the accolades at the Jaipur Literary Festival have confirmed his credentials as a writer. His credential as a doctor have also been established in US, where he teaches, runs a clinic and also heads a laboratory engaged in cancer research at Columbia University. One only hopes that Dr. Siddhartha would help to eradicate cancer in his home country.

It goes without saying that medicine is all about empathy. And if we talk about literature, it elicits those very sentiments. It is hardly surprising, then, that there has historically been an inexorable connection between literature and medicine. Dr. Siddhartha's outstanding biography of cancer is one in a long series of books that explores pathology as a metaphor for human condition.

Cancer has given pain to many other greats. For instance, Pakistan's great Imran Khan also felt the pain of Cancer. His mother too died of Cancer after suffering the pain for so many years. And later he built a hospital in his mother's name in Lahore to cure deadly ailment. He plans to built one more in Pakistan. Sunil Dutt and his entire family too suffered the deep pain of Cancer as Nargis ji was a patient of cancer. She later succumbs to it.

Unfortunately and despite making huge strides in the field of medicine, Cancer could not be conquered. It is one of the few areas which need huge investment to eradicate it. It has be defeated at any cost come what may. Legendary champion cyclist and Lance Armstrong was among the very few lucky to survive the scare of Cancer. We need more Dr. Siddhartha Mukerjee and Shahrukh Khan who feel very strongly to crush the long arm of Cancer. Let their tribe increase manifold.

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