“It is a compilation of photos and content from our previous rides to medical institutions and pharmacies since 2012. During the British rule, the frontline workers had struggled in taking forward smallpox vaccination and the strict plague quarantine restrictions were similar to that of present-day lockdown. I gathered such information during the cycling trails. I think sharing it could perhaps bring a connection with our rich past. It creates a sense of pride and brings forward an attitude of resilience and to fight hardship,” says Ramanujar Moulana, the founder of Cycling Yogis cycling group.
From Sahib Singh’s, the famous pharmacy in Agurchand Mansion, Mount Road
Ramanujar tells us that there are a lot of important rides and it is tough to select one. “Our ride to King Institute, Guindy, an International Vaccination Centre, was an interesting one. Lt. Col. WG King was the first director of the towering red heritage building after whom the institute was named when it began in 1899. I will be sharing photos from this ride and the significance of King Institute. We had a ride to the memorial of Dr WS Sawmy Naick (1760- 1839), the great vaccinator and health officer of Madras during the British Rule. His memorial pillar is located near Langs Garden Road in Pudupet. One of the interesting facts I learned during a cycling journey was due to plague quarantine regulation, Swami Vivekananda was not allowed entry into Madras. Sahib Singh, located in Agurchand Mansion, Mount Road, is one of the earliest 24-hour medical shops in Madras. It was a landmark shop according to some old-timers of the city. In the photo series, I will be sharing the history behind the city’s medical institutions and pharmacies,” he adds.
Memorial of Dr S Rangachari at the entrance of Rajiv Gandhi Hospital
Apart from sharing pictures of the memorials and buildings, Ramanujar is also planning to talk about people in the medical fraternity who took to cycling. “At the entrance of the Government Hospital just opposite to Central Railway Station, you can find the statue of Dr S Rangachari. Even today, people talk about how he went on to perform medical miracles. When he set up his private medical practice, he used to commute by cycle. Later in the 1920s, he purchased a Rolls-Royce Phantom for city visits and soon bought a Puss Moth airplane to travel quickly and easily around the then Madras Presidency. This got him the title Flying Doctor,” remarks Ramanujar.