A Personal Tribute to Pradip Datta MBE

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23 Mar 2022

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh are saddened to hear the loss of Mr Pradip Datta. RCSEd President, Professor Michael Griffin OBE, had a few words to say: 

This is a personal tribute to Pradip Datta. I recognise the huge contribution that Mr Pradip Data made to education and training of both UK and overseas medical graduates. His contribution to College life as a Council Member and Honorary Secretary was huge. On a personal level, he was welcoming, kind, considerate and supportive to all new Council Members. Many will have personal recollections of Pradip and below is one shared from Professor Christopher Bulstrode CBE.

Pradip came to the UK as a newly qualified doctor to fulfil his life-long dream of becoming a surgeon. He was going to return to India once he was fully trained, but stayed on; our luck was India’s loss.

He arrived with 10 shillings (50p) in his pocket, got a job at once and moved round Britain taking jobs where they were offered. However, time after time a white doctor was appointed despite Pradip obviously being the best candidate. Racial prejudice in medicine was and is no less prevalent than in the Metropolitan police, but he did not allow this to depress his cheerful, helpful nature, nor to dull his skills as a surgeon.

For many years he was the cornerstone of surgical services in Wick, attracting trainees to the far north of Scotland with his ability to teach and educate them, ensuring an extremely high pass rate in the old Fellowship exam. He went on to use this expertise to educate across the globe and particularly in India, receiving an MBE for his efforts. Pradip also served on the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and was later appointed the prestigious role of Honorary Secretary.

Despite all the work he did in his spare time teaching and examining in the College, and all over the world, he was never offered even the lowest grade of merit award. His autobiography (The Naked Mountain Lands) describes a life in which kindness and professional skill triumphed over the numbing cloak of racial prejudice which covers our land. In the few spare hours in his busy life he was a county standard cricketer, six times county squash champion, and a keen salmon fisherman. He is survived by his son Sandip.


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