Babubhai P. Vaidya
Shri Babubhai P. Vaidya (1909-1979) was an Indian freedom-fighter, author, journalist, and champion of human rights. His writing and political affirmations had an influence on Indian medicine, politics, and society.
Babubhai P. Vaidya was born in Dwarka, Gujarat state, India, on July 23, 1909, into a family of physicians. His father was Dr. Pranjivandas M. Vaidya, who had offices in Baroda. His elder brother, Dr. Manubhai Vaidya, was a leader in the community and received the Best Teacher Award from the President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. Babubhai's two sisters, Sumati and Sushila, pioneered women's education in Western India.
Vaidya joined the Indian Independence Movement after his graduation from the University of Mumbai in Bombay, where he had studied English Literature. He was one of the first Indian authors to translate the works of Henrik Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, Pamela Walton, and Salam Alekum into the Gujarati language. Vaidya's first major novel was Upama. Along with Zaverchand Meghani, he was co-editor of Phulchhab. Both Meghani and Vaidya set the stage for independent journalism in reaction perceived repression under British rule. Vaidya became the editor of the first daily in Saurashtra; Makarand Dave was the co-editor of this daily. Vaidya's wrote a piece describing the power of the fourth estate in independent India.
Vaidya inherited the reformist spirit from his Aryasamajist grandfather, Mayaram Sundarji Vaidya, an Ayurvedic physician. He broke away from rigid Hindu rituals and idolatry. Throughout his life he fought against oppression and injustice in the name of caste, creed, race, and wealth. His life and literature reflected his concern for human rights and dignity.
He was involved in running a hostel where boys from the untouchable caste and the higher castes lived together. He tried to imbue these students with high self-esteem, love for learning, and the passion to fight caste discrimination. Several of these students excelled in schools and colleges, and eventually went on to become doctors, engineers, physicists, and politicians.
Medical Practice in India
Shri Vaidya was a member of the state legislative assembly of Saurashra and Gujarat for a decade. He played a positive role as a parliamentarian, a champion of probity in public life, and a fighter against political corruption. As a consequence, he had several powerful politicians as adversaries. However, when he won the election as an independent candidate of the people, and defeated two major national party candidates, his value-based politics were a new step for India. As a Member of the Legislative Assembly, he proposed that the age-old system of health (Ayurveda) be discarded and the major new developments in biology be adopted instead. He wanted the Ayurveda University to be at the forefront of research. He stressed the need for evidence-based medical practice. This practice has been recently fulfilled by the use of Reverse Pharmacology in Ayurveda.
Shri Vaidya wrote two major novels, Vishwamitra and Shakuntaleya Bharat, which depicts his vision of the future of India, based on its past before British colonization. He had visited the grave of Walt Whitman, whose poetry was very dear to him. Shri Babubhai died on 12 December 1979, in Mumbai. His 50-year anniversary was celebrated by a memorial trust in his name.
- BP Vaidya, Rakhe teno Dharma, Mumbai, Harshamaya Sahitya Bharati, 2004.
- Babubai P. Vaidya, Jhaverchand Meghani, A brief biography, Surat, Gujarat State Social Education Committee, 1969.
- Makarand Dave, Introduction to 'Shakuntaleya Bharat' by BP Vaidya, Ahmedabad, Sastu Sahitya, 1979.
- Babubhai P Vaidya, Vishvamitra (A historical novel of the Vedic period), Ahmedabad, Sastu Sahitya, 1996.
- Babubhai P Vaidya, Khanadan and Lokashatru (Translations of dramas of Oscar Wilde and Henrik Ibsen), Rajkot, Harshad Granthmala, 1951.
- Bipin Vaidya, Vidhina Vidhan (Gujarati translation of Ibsen's 'Warriors at Helgeland'), Jetpur, Vaidya-Bhuvan, 1936.
- Babubhai Vaidya, Hun Polioni Dardi (Gujarati translation of Pamela Walton's 'I- A Polio Patient'), Ahmedabad, Arasi, 1965.
- Makarand Dave, Introduction to Babubhai P Vaidya's drama on the Chinese revolution, "Prerana", Ahmedabad, Bharati Sahitya, 1956.