NHS awarded the George Cross
In Conversation with Arun Baksi
Emeritus Physician in Isle of Wight and a champion for the NHS
with Ritwika Roy
“God works in funny ways, I was sent here for a purpose and now I feel my purpose is complete”
A line that caught my attention from today’s guest as he spoke of his life’s bright days, trials and
tribulations as he championed his life’s cause in becoming one of UK’s most famous doctors. A man of wisdom and a quiet demeanor. Seated comfortably in front of his computer with a plethora of images and artifacts at the backdrop which I couldn’t help but notice, showed his interest in living life to the fullest. My guest for today was Dr. Arun Baksi, a warm personality with a never-die attitude to live life to the fullest.
Arun Baksi's career as a doctor has spanned many decades, during which, against all odds, he fought to achieve status as a consultant and one of the country's leading physicians. A man born in his native India but living a truly international life. He identifies himself as not a citizen of any country, but as a citizen of the world. He doesn’t believe in subscribing to any nationality. Starting right from the beginning, he mentioned being lost in nostalgia,
“Well, you know, I always wanted to become a doctor, my maternal grandfather was a doctor, and that inspired me nonetheless. Aah! My father wanted me to become an engineer, but I had no interest in that”
Thinking about his life in the UK, he arrived in the country in 1962. He spoke passionately about how
he sailed from Mumbai to start his journey in the UK. The initial years were quite hard for him due to
tough competition, condescending questions from seniors, and the differences in accents that he faced when he was working in Liverpool.
“Funny thing is I thought everybody looked ill when I was working in Liverpool! I couldn’t understand
what they were saying, or if they were pale or ill” he chuckled reminiscing about his first days as a
Racial prejudice was acceptable and also very rampant back in the day. Despite all this, he’s an iron
man truly who has survived everything without any grudge and this has indeed made him a stronger
“Discrimination & prejudice are not the monopolies of the UK, it is there everywhere and it is sad!”
Sadly, in every stage of his career, he faced differential treatment and by sheer perseverance, he
fought it thoroughly. Junior doctors got positions way ahead of him, and this deepened him sadly
Over the months that followed Dr. Baksi submitted 66 applications for consultant posts across the
UK attending 33 interviews. Sheer determination and passion are what give him the adrenaline rush
to be where he is currently, completely content and peaceful with his life. On the other hand, during the pandemic, having Zoom calls and everything being virtual was quite difficult for him as he is a very social person having an occasional drink at the pub, having a chat, and taking some time out with his family and friends listening to some good comforting music.
“Oh, I love pop, jazz, classical, and Tagore’s music. I can feel the music and the words from my heart.
Bhajans fascinate me, there is no language but you can feel every emotion and feeling that you can
hear from the heart”
Being a very social person, he is immensely loved by his friends and family. Nurturing friendships
takes time and he is a person who comes across as loving, intense, and stubborn for his friends! He jokes saying:
“Oh I think once I die, that’s when I will get to know what my friends say about me”
Speaking of India, he misses the colors, the nectar-filled, fragrant flowers, the lovely culture, and the
bright fruits and vegetables in his birthland! His favorite fruit, he chuckles like a kid is the famous
Alphonso mangoes. Something that he devours from the depths of his heart is Mughal food in India
and everyone’s favorite, the famous mishti doi from Bengal.
“India is renowned for setting good examples in leadership roles and serving the society at large in
terms of healthcare accessibility or from an overarching perspective. We should all look up to those
“All of us have been sent to Earth to fulfill a mission. We all have a purpose and we need to do our
best in the jobs that are meant for us. Every human being deserves love and cares for their illnesses
and no one should suffer in this world.”
With his parting thoughts, Arun said today’s generation needs to be more mindful of their actions
otherwise everyone will be deviating a lot from their profession and their goals in life. In the ever-
changing fast-paced world, Arun expresses his concerns about the corruption in people’s thoughts,
actions, and goals as everyone is getting more selfish day by day. He ends on a puzzling note, saying
“I am old, and I am saying with my retrospective vision, and I feel sorry for today’s generation as we
are leaving behind a sad world for the generations to come forth”
Chatting with Arun today, I got to know his life journey in the 30 minutes of the interview and that is
a short time to get to know someone completely. But what I could see was his genuine nature, a man who speaks his mind and someone who will do good for society and the world till his last bated breath. Having an eclectic interest in life, food, culture, friends, and family, it was a pleasure talking
to a gentleman of such a high and respectable stature, having achieved so much, yet having the glint
of a sparkle in his eye to achieve more in this life!
Bridging the Gap
Tackling Differential Attainment in Medical Professions
Presentation of early findings
Alliance for Equality in Healthcare Professions, BAPIO Institute for Health Research
Lest their beds lie empty tonight
Hark! A ball of fire
a bullet or the sun?
Lest a bullet go astray
A hairs breath, in the blink of an eye
Propelled by the hubris of uniform,
And the colour of your skin.
Taser or gun?
A youngster in an alley,
A roadside grave.
A pyre of branches,
A shroud of crimson and cloud,
A dirge of birdsong.
Hug your boys tight
Lest their beds lie empty tonight.
Rest tonight and then rise, rise
To continue the good fight
To promote Equality, Diversity & Leadership in Healthcare and beyond.
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