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|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 295-296
Professor Subimal Roy (1933-2015): Our teacher in neuropathology
Chitra Sarkar1, SK Shankar2
1 Department of Pathology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Neuropathology, Neurobiology Research Centre, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
|Date of Web Publication||5-May-2015|
Department of Pathology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Sarkar C, Shankar S K. Professor Subimal Roy (1933-2015): Our teacher in neuropathology. Neurol India 2015;63:295-6
"The mediocre teacher feels, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires."
-William Arthur Ward
Professor Subimal Roy was our teacher and mentor and we consider ourselves fortunate to have been associated with him for more than 35 years. He passed away peacefully on 1 st March 2015 in Delhi.
Prof. Subimal Roy was born on November 1 st , 1933 to a middle-class family of West Bengal. He completed his M.B.B.S. from the National Medical College, University of Calcutta, in 1956. Subsequently, he moved to New Delhi and joined the All India Institute of Medical Sciences as a Demonstrator in 1959 and remained so till 1964. During this period, he obtained his M.D. in Pathology and completed his thesis entitled "Biochemical and Morphological Evolution of Endemic Goitre" under the guidance of Late Prof. Ramalingaswami. In 1964, he went to UK and joined as a Research Fellow in Pathology at the University of Sheffield. There, he did his Ph.D. from 1964 to 1967 on "Cell Structure and Function of Synovial Membrane - A Combined Histochemical, Autoradiography, and Ultrastructural Study of Human and Animal Material." During this period, he developed a keen interest in Neuropathology and continued at the University of Sheffield till 1969 as a Research Fellow in Neuropathology, working with Late Prof. Dubowitz, a doyen in the field of myology. On his return from UK, he joined the Department of Pathology at AIIMS as Assistant Professor and became Associate Professor in 1970. Subsequently, he went on a WHO Research Fellowship to the Department of Neuropathology, Montefiore Hospital and Medical Centre and Albert Einstein College of Medicine at New York, USA, from 1973 to 1974, where he trained in Neuropathology with Late Prof. Zimmerman. He became Professor of Pathology at AIIMS in 1978 and retired as Head of Department of Pathology in 1991. Subsequently, till 1999, he served as Professor of Pathology at the King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia. On his return, he joined Sir Ganga Ram Hospital as Senior Consultant, where he continued to serve patients and train students till the last day.
As the doyen of Neuropathology, he was one of those who introduced the speciality of Neuropathology in this country, at a time when the branch was still evolving in other parts of the world. He was instrumental in establishing the Department of Neuropathology at AIIMS, and in developing it to great heights. He had a keen interest in ultrastructural pathology and his major contributions in the field of neuropathology relate to electron microscopic features of brain tumors with special reference to pituitary adenomas. He was an avid and consistent researcher who was extremely precise in his scientific work as well as work ethics. He published more than 200 high-quality research papers in national and international journals, along with numerous chapters in various textbooks. His research contributions won him several national and international awards and honors, including Lifetime Achievement awards by the Delhi Neurological Association and the Neurological Society of India. The most prestigious honor was the setting up of an International Pathology Endowment Fellowship in his name by the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, in 2001 to train and inspire the younger generation. He was a visiting Professor to several universities in India and abroad, including the Institute of Pathology, Kabul, Afghanistan, and Al Fateh University, Tripoli, Libya. He was elected as Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences in 1983 and Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, in 1988.
He was a great teacher and taught with a fervor and dedication that is unusual in most teachers of today. Teaching was very close to his heart, and generations of students that trained under him, including us, admire him and hold him in great esteem. "There are two kinds of teachers - the kind that fill you with so much quail that you cannot move, and the kind that give you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies" - Robert Frost. Dr Roy belonged to the latter group.
Apart from his professional accomplishments, we will always fondly remember him as a kind-hearted, benevolent, gentle, caring, sensitive, and soft-spoken human being. He was immensely liked and respected for his unique humane qualities and continued to visit his parent department at AIIMS at least once or twice a month. What was most remarkable was that he had no ego issues and during these visits, he moved from lab to lab wishing all the staff members (faculty, students, and technical staff), enquiring about their welfare and their achievements.
Dr. Roy lived a very disciplined life and never missed his daily walk, be it rain or sunshine. Because of his amicable personality, he had a wide circle of friends whom he loved to entertain. As students, we were invited every year, following Durga Puja, for a grand dinner at his home, cooked by his extremely hospitable and loving wife, Mrs. Pratima Roy. His wife was always a great source of strength and support to him, which enabled him to concentrate on his professional work. His son Mr. Abhijit Roy is a computer engineer settled in Delhi while his daughter Dr. (Mrs) Bandana Biswas is settled in Australia.
The fraternity of Neurosciences, especially Neuropathology, will miss his continuous support, encouragement, guidance, and wisdom. On a personal front, no amount of words will ever suffice to show our gratitude to him for his selfless love, unconditional support, and guidance, both at work as well as in our personal lives. His demise has left a great void in the field of Neuropathology and Neurosciences, and he will be missed greatly by colleagues, associates, friends, and students.
"Most of us end up with no more than five to six people who remember us. Teachers have hundreds of people who remember them for the rest of their lives." -Andy Rooney.
Prof. Roy is a shining example of an inspirational teacher whose legacy is profound and lasting.