From Vegetable-Seller To India’s Leading Cancer Expert
November 12th, 2015
News/Image Source: knowyourstar
Dr. Vijayalakshmi Deshmane’s story is an inspirational one. Born in a slum in Karnataka’s Gulbarga city in a caste that traditionally worked as cobblers, her childhood was spent in extreme poverty, with their options further restricted because of their dalit caste. Her father was a mill worker and her mother was a vegetable seller. With six sisters and a brother, Dr Vijayalakshmi had no option but to help her family by selling vegetables herself.
Luckily, she excelled in her studies and cleared her 12th exams despite all odds. She wanted to serve humanity and become a doctor, but it seemed like the family’s poverty would not allow this dream to come true. It was then that her mother decided to mortgage her Mangal Sutra to arrange a loan for her. It was only then that Dr Vijayalakshmi could manage to appear for her MBBS entrance exams at KMC Hubli.
Getting admission into medical college was not the end of her woes though. Hailing from a Kannada medium school, she faced problems in getting used to English as a medium of study and failed in her first year of MBBS. But thanks to the guidance of her teachers, she managed to pick up pace and ended up securing the first rank in her university. She went on to complete her MS in surgery and became an oncologist, specialising in breast cancer.
What is remarkable is that not just her, but her siblings have also managed to excel in their careers. Her brother is a lawyer and her sisters- Samatha, Jagrathi, Nagarathna, and Jayashri are PhD holders.
Dr Vijayalakshmi Deshmane has now retired from Kidwai Institute of Oncology, Bangalore as the Head of the Department. Despite winning numerous accolades and awards in an illustratrious career spanning over three decades, her passion for serving her patients has not faded, and she still manages to spend 15 days in a month providing free service to patients in Karnataka Cancer Society.
Hats off to this wonderful doctor for her remarkable dedication and for inspiring millions of people through her life.