Striking a new chord Indian Institute of Health Education & Research, Patna

A socialite, a doctor, an educationist, a poet and littérateur, a journalist, an artist, an erudite thinker and an inspiring leader- this is Dr. Anil Sulabh for you, a man who dons many hats with one conviction and that is to continue doing what his heart dictates. A man of few words but one who is given to being proactive in all situations, he carries a name that reverberates through every nook and corners of the state for its sheer eminence.

The serene disposition of this man entirely conceals the restive soul that lies beneath his composed exterior. As the Director of Indian Institute of Health Education and Research he is carrying a huge task on his shoulders, with one mission, to lighten up people’s lives with the knowledge and awareness about health and fitness. quot;Starting a new thing meant lots of struggle, all the more because I had decided to take the path less taken. It wasn’t easy pulling off something that was never done before and that too a project like this two decades back. We had no precedence to rely on, no syllabus to structure our courses. Also there was little assistance from the state or the university,quot; laments Anil.

" It is the first non-governmental institute of the country in the field of rehabilitation. "

But despite the obstructions he continued to pursue his dream of a knowledge society and made substantial progress. quot;Recently we started a little known but novel course, B.Ed in Special Esducation,quot; reveals Anil with pride. Started in 1990 under the aegis of Manava Manavi Samaj Kalyan Kendra, a philanthropic voluntary organization, the Indian Institute of Health Education & Research (IIHER) has come a long way in providing quality education to students of the region, specially those belonging to the less mobile, disadvantaged sections of society.

" ‘It took me five years explaining to people, what physiotherapy is all about.’ "

It is also the first non-governmental institute of the country in the field of rehabilitation and para-medical science devoted to the cause of aiding physically and mentally challenged kids of the region. Through this institute he has done a rare and remarkable job of organizing till now, more than 200 rehabilitation camps where crutches, hearing aids were distributed.

Apart from this, he tied up with several government institutes to further this cause and organised more than 250 health camps where more than 50,000 patients were treated, more than 300 vaccination camps where nearly 38,000 mothers and kids benefited.

Within the institute small children, who are striving to live a normal life are given a warm treatment, not to mention the students who study various certificate, diploma, graduation and post-graduation courses in rehabilitation and para medical sciences. But if we were to believe the man himself it wasn’t built in a day.

quot;The only major source of funds being admissions and the institute charging nominal fees in order to benefit maximum number of people, it is a huge challenge to maintain the quality of education and services on the one hand and keeping pace with the societal development on the other.quot; Anil has ensured that no student is denied admission in the institute on account of paucity of funds, sometimes by even contributing from his own pocket. The man seems to have given his heart and soul to the project, he has nurtured like his own child. quot;Thanks to my journalism days, I developed interest in health and education and beyond that establishing this venture was a logical decision. But this is a niche area, hence risky too. It took me five years explaining to people, what physiotherapy is all about,quot; reveals Anil.

Truly it is only grit and determination that has paid off in this totally experimental, novel venture. But then full of enthusiasm that he is, Anil is far from being at peace and refuses to sit on his laurels saying, quot;This is just a token achievement. There is so much left to do. Once the physical rehabilitation of these children is done, we will undertake their socio-economic rehabilitation, to make them self-dependent.quot; He further emphasizes, with absolute conviction, quot;Unless these special children get their rightful place in society, the job is as good as not done at all.quot;

Anil lives a busy life besides his campus involvement. His passion for literature, music and culture is an open secret. There is hardly any cultural or literary society that he is not associated with and is a patron of more than 50 of them.

He keeps writing for local magazines and newspapers on issues of health, society and politics. Above all, people around him believe, Anil Sulabh will never turn his back on anybody who approaches him for help. A complete family man Sulabh leads a perfect life with his wife Kiran and three sons. He has a daughter too who is married to a gentleman banker, Abhishek. Like a friend-father he has given all latitude to his children to choose their course of life. His eldest Akash is pursuing acting in Mumbai, Abhas a business degree and youngest Ehsas is planning to study law.

" ‘I never joined politics to capitalise on the power to garner personal gains.’ "

Wife Kiran is very religious and this perhaps is what makes the family Godfearing and keeps it closely bonded. Given his enormous popularity in the region, politics, to some extent seems to be an obvious choice for Anil.

But the man spills different beans, quot;I never joined politics to capitalize on the power to garner personal gains. I have very deep roots and don’t need a political career just to fend for myself.quot; He goes on to add that his principal aim of joining politics was to make a difference to the life of the people, fight corruption, bring structural changes in the system, bring in the youth to inject vigour and freshness in the present scenario. quot;I want to work on these lines through my brand of serving politics,quot; he asserts.

Sulabh maintains that it is the spiritualism within him that keeps him going, as he points towards the portraits of his revered gurus Mahatma Sushil Kumar and Ma Bijaya that grace the walls of his office. A man who once used to direct plays, tried NCC in college, joined a flying institute and even acted in a film, life was somewhere incomplete till he got into this innovative project that has totally changed his life. Today he remains completely focused and devoted.