Sikh Youth Australia

Posted on 1/11/10 by Saranpaal Calais | Category: Youth Stories

The Daman Diaries: A Young Man’s Medicinal Journey Through Rural India

Hi guys, My name is Daman Bhatia and I am a Sikh youth from Sydney. I will be travelling to Baru Sahib in Himachal Pradesh, India later this year during my medical elective. I was asked to write up a small journal so I could share my experience as Karan did during his triumphant completion of the Kokoda Trail.


A little about me…
I was born in India but migrated to Australia with my parents when I was about 2 years old. Since then a lot of stuff has happened and now I am almost 22 and In my 3rd year of Medicine at the University of Newcastle. A Short and sweet description right?


A little about my mission…
Okay so I first heard about Baru Sahib via a chain mail that was forwarded to me by my grandfather. The chain mail had a link to a short video documentary about free medical camps at Baru Sahib. These camps are run 4 times a year and last for 2 days. During these 2 days hundreds of patients arrive from far and wide to receive free surgeries and free specialist care by travelling health care workers. The camp caters to the rural population from the mountainous Himachal Pradesh, who otherwise have very limited access to health care.



The specialist physicians, surgeons, dentists, optometrists, nurses, physiotherapists and alternative medicine providers are all volunteers and come from India and from overseas. Some of the services conducted in the past include:
Optometric work up for glasses

  • Ophthalmic surgery – cataracts, glaucoma and others
  • Cardiac assessment
  • Gall blader surgeries
  • Kidney stone removal
  • Surgery for hernia
  • Uterine surgeries (Hysterectomies)
  • Cleft palate repair and other plastic surgeries



Why am I doing this?
The entire process seemed to epitomise the philosophy of Sewa. Sewa, as I understand, is the act of offering time and other resources to aid others in the community without expectation of reward or acknowledgement. It is the purest form of giving. The surgeries are free of cost during the surgical camps, the medications are subsidized by up to 80% and in most cases are provided free, accommodation and meals are provided for the families of the patients who have had to travel far and wide to attend the camps. Baru Sahib also has the Akal Charitable hospital which is open all year around and has a dental clinic on site. The Baru Sahib website acknowledges that the hospital has over 150 beds and has one full time servicing physician. This again is a free service and is available to anyone regardless of religion, social status, age or gender.
I will be in Baru sahib for about 3-4 weeks in total. After the medical camps are over, I will be looking to assist at the Akal Charitable hospital and learn more about the health facilities available for the rural population in Himachal Pradesh as part of my university project. My next post will be from Baru Sahib, so I’ll keep you posted!
– Daman Bhatia



If you would like to find out more information or donate to the Akal Charitable Hospital or any other facilities provided by the Kalgidhar Society, please visit their website

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