Pride of Belagavi- Dr. Ashok Sakhdev

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by Swatee Jog
Some people are blessed with the opportunity to touch lives. Dr. Ashok Sakhdev is one of them. He’s some sort of a legend, a messiah also, for many of his patients whom he has cured of seemingly incurable and chronic ailments. My lower back and my vocal cords would vouch for his accurate diagnosis and medicine, for if not him, I would have not had stood up nor spoken a word. Both times, I was advised surgery and I did not need one, doing just fine for the past 5 years. Ever since, I have referred several people, relatives, colleagues, and students among them, who have been cured by him. Not just in Belagavi but his name and fame are spread across the world, sometimes medicines being shipped to those who need them.

I have grown up hearing about him since childhood because, except me, my entire extended family consulted him. His clinic in Mirapur Galli (which he shares with his son Dr. Nitin) has a sparsely furnished waiting room and a packed cabin inside, with several knick-knacks, books, candid pictures of him perhaps taken by wellwishers and lots of plants. His table always has fresh flowers arranged beautifully that immediately puts the patients at ease. Patients have to wait patiently! It takes time, he says, I never treat without speaking to a patient.

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It takes 8 parameters to diagnose a patient, he adds, with at least three being crucial- darshanan, sparsham and prashnam (observation, holding the pulse and probing) before I come to some conclusion. He also adds that today no doctor would do these things in detail, and most rely on diagnostic reports to prescribe medicines.

Curiously, Dr. Sakhdev does the other way round. He first uses his tested methods and then refers to the reports to check if his own diagnosis is correct. I found him pull out a stack of books and pore over them for a good 45 minutes, a few months ago, when I consulted him to treat a Jain Sadhvi, before he wrote down the correct medicine adhering to the strict norms of diet. And he immediately instructed his Man Friday to not charge me for that.

Born in 1942 and raised in Belagavi, Dr. Sakhdev’s father worked in the Railways in senior positions and traveled most of the time, being posted at distant places. He completed his education at the Govt. Marathi school in Vadgaon and then won the scholarship for his education from 8th onwards, a princely sum of Rs. 8 per month for 8th std, Rs. 9 for 9th std. and Rs. 10 for the 10th std. His father wanted him to pursue an education in Ayurvedic medicine with the sole aim that he could get a Govt. job at the municipality which would pay him a grand salary of Rs. 150 p.m. So there he went, to get his four-year Diploma in Shuddha Ayurvedic Course at the B.M. Kankanwadi Ayurvedic college and stood first. But destiny had other plans. A family friend referred his name to Dr. N.R. Kulkarni who was looking for an assistant to take over his clinic (at Sheri Galli) for he was traveling abroad to attend a Rotary conference after taking over as the Rotary International Governor (317 district of the past). The first day when he met him, Dr. Kulkarni handed over the keys of his clinic to this newly minted doctor. He could also manage to persuade this young man to take up running this clinic and the plan of taking up the job was scrapped. Dr. Sakhdev ran this clinic for a good 13 years until Dr. Kulkarni expired. I got to learn a lot from him and Vaidya Jinralkar he says, though he barely spoke to them for all those years. Especially the art of Nadi pariksha (reading the pulse). There are over 25 kinds of readings, he adds, with few doctors today being able to make accurate readings. For the uninitiated, Dr. Sakhdev is a rare one of those who are known for his accurate diagnoses through this method.

Dr. Sakhdev was also handed over the Shahapur clinic (in the then Saraf Katta) a place he had to vacate some time later due to legal hassles. He then set up a clinic at Mirapur Galli which is still operational today after all these years. Dr. Sakhdev reminisces days when he waited for hours ( I would treat 2 and a half patients per day, he says tongue in cheek) and an astrologer friend predicted that while he’s waiting for 3 hours for a patient, there would come a time when patients would wait three hours to meet him. His words sounded preposterous back then, but they did come true.

Dr. Sakhdev is a family doctor to several families in Belagavi who approach him, even when they can consult the best doctors in India and abroad. The concept of a family doctor is fast disappearing, he laments. In the current scenario, not having a family doctor entails that no consultant would actually know you well enough to treat you with confidence and without a battery of tests. The family doctor also served the role of a counselor, psychologist, patching up family feuds, matchmaker and also a witness for a will.

What strikes you is that even at the age of 79 (he’s been practicing for 55 years), he stills runs his two clinics, moving around his bike to commute. You needn’t have, I ask him. I shut down for four days, he says, but then decided that he must not stop. So his clinic is functional with due precautions. He does not handle fever patients and refers them to the fever clinics set up. When we speak of CORONA warriors, it is the unsung warriors like Dr. Sakhdev whom we must also acknowledge. He mentions that references to ailments like the current one can be found in the ancient Ayurvedic texts along with the symptoms and cures. However, with few people who know Sanskrit well and most texts being translated versions available today, the gist of the matter is somewhere lost. Asked if the current young generation has taken up to Ayurvedic treatment, Dr. Sakhdev credits Baba Ramdev for rejuvenating the trend. He has one word of caution though, for mass-produced medicines, because Ayurved has a procedure for even praying to the tree a day before and then extracting the correct part of the tree the next morning; the correct kind of parts ( if a shoot is needed, it can’t be replaced with a twig, he says) and the heat needed to burn or process it to make extracts ( use of the right wood or cow-dung cakes for burning, correct temperatures all play a role in retaining the potency of the medicine).

Dr. Sakhdev was awarded Samaj Bhushan Puraskar in 2018 by the Saraswati Vachanalaya, a recognition of his long-standing service to the people of Belagavi. Many feel that his work is still under- recognized. But what he has earned is the blessings of the thousands of people whom he has cured and spared of the plight of diseases. In spite of the precautions, are you not scared of contracting the virus, I ask him. No, he says, I have never never ever been afraid of death. I am prepared to be taken away for quarantine if the need arises, but I will continue with my work, he replies. You don’t need any more words. That’s our true son of Belagavi for you.

29 thoughts on “Pride of Belagavi- Dr. Ashok Sakhdev”

  1. The Best Doctor of this time.. His only intention is to give correct and good treatment.. Unlike some other doctors of recent time who are just waiting to loot the patients.. He wil first give u home remedies if it doesn’t work then wil give his medicines.. He is our family doctor for the past 35 years now and a good family friend too…

  2. V nice narrative Swatee of a gt doctor Sakhadev…n many a times I have opened his clinic when he was practicing at Dane Galli infront of my home then….around 40 yrs back keys were kept at our home…always….n patients waited for hrs some time…before his arrival…Deepak Dhadoti

  3. We are proud of him.Yes we know very much about it. He is really a great dedicated person as far as profession is concerned.i would like to share my incident taken place during my college days in bgm during June 1977 when I had taken admission for puc 1st year in Gogte College. I had suffered from typhoid. I was on bed for 3 months during this period he had treated me. Being our family friend he was very close with my father G A WALVEKAR as a teacher to him once upon a time.due typhoid I was so ill that I was totally on bed every he use to come to see me at home check prescribe medicine. But I was not able recover. He was so much worried about my last one day as you very cell said he told my father rather to take me to DR N R KULKARNI for consultation he accompanied me in the auto with my father. He described him about my illness Dr KULKARNI told him nothing has happened & asked me to eat one hot raw kharik boiled on shegadi evdrawery I did accordingly still he used to visit me to check one day morning I was sitting in front of my mother eating garam jawar roti. Same time Dr SAKHDEO came & saw this. & I tell you he was so happy to see me sitting & eatiing solid food. We had lost the hopes of my survival tis incident i well never forget in my life. Rely he is a great person felt good reading coments such coments for hom. SALUTE to him & his profession. still myself and my family is taking guidance whenever we face some severe problem faced by us. Thanks SUHAS G WALVEKAR

  4. Words fall short to describe doctor kaka. I am feeling great reading this artical about kaka. Such a great ,humble,ever smiling person .

    • Thanks for beautiful Article. I vouch the word and word is correct. He is really Angel. I have an experience . He and my beloved Mama Late Shri.Narayan Behere have saved my life 40 years ago. I am breathing today because of these two . I owe them more than my life. Thanks for Article

  5. देवदूत हा एकच शब्द , सर्वकाही सांगून जाईल
    अखंड ऊर्जा
    शतशः प्रणाम?

    जोग मॅडम खूप सुंदर लेख

  6. Really he is a Gem. Words are not enough to narrate about him. He is our family Doctor when he was practicing with another great Dr N R Kulkarni. I pray@ Almighty give him ? more years. Our best wishes are always with him. Satish Kankanmeli RETD SBI employee.

  7. Words are less to describe him.
    He was our family in Belgaum for decades till we moved to Mumbai and even after that we are in touch with him.
    Whenever we are at Belgaum, we always make it a point to meet him.
    Very high regards for him.

  8. आज वेंकटेश दादांनी सकाळी-सकाळीच चांगली मेजवानी दिली ते डॉक्टर सखदेव यांच्यावरील लेख पाठवून ।
    त्यांच्या वरील हा लेख वाचून खूप बरे वाटले । डॉक्टर ते, पण अभिमान मला वाटला । आपले डॉक्टर असे कोणासही वाटावे, असेच त्यांचे व्यक्तिमत्व आहे ।

    किती पिढ्यांचे आणि कित्येक कुटुंबाचे ते फॅमिली डॉक्टर आहेत, हे तो देवच जाणे । प्रत्येकाला त्यांनी ऋणी केले आहे, एवढे मात्र नक्की ।

    मी अगदी लहान असताना शेरी गल्लीतील डॉ. NR कुलकर्णी यांच्या सोबत त्यांना पहिल्यांदा पाहिल्याचे चांगले आठवते ।

    ते केळकर बागेत रहायला होते, तेव्हा आईसोबत त्यांच्याकडे गेल्याचे आठवते । शहापूर येथील दवाखान्यात ही 2-3 वेळा गेलो होतो ।

    प्रभाकर काकांचे शेजारी दत्तामामांच्या सोबत ते बाळेकुंद्री येथे उत्सवाला आल्याचे आठवते ।
    अशा अनेक जुन्या आणि तत्- संबंधीच्या आठवणी जाग्या झाल्या । त्यांना साधारणतः 1984-1985 च्या दरम्यान शेवटचे पाहिल्याचे आठवते । त्यानंतर फारसा संबंध राहिला नाही । त्याचे कारण असे की तेव्हां बाळेकुंद्री (खुर्द) येथील विठू कुलकर्णी हे एव्हाना आमचे फॅमिली डॉक्टर झाले होते । असो ।

    या लेखामुळे, डॉक्टर सखदेव या वयातही हाती घेतलेले व्रत निष्ठेने पुढे नेत आहेत, रुग्णांच्या सेवेत त्याच तडफेने उभे आहेत, हे वाचून फार आनंद वाटला । त्यांच्या बद्दल लिहिण्या-बोलण्यासारखे खूप काही आहे ।

    डॉक्टर सखदेव यांना दीर्घायुष्य लाभावे आणि त्यांना पुन्हा प्रत्यक्ष पाहण्याचा, भेटण्याचा योग्य यावा, हीच इच्छा ।

  9. He has been a living legend in Belgav , a part of belgav”s identity. How we take things and persons for granted! You have done a great service by writing about him,Swati! My pranam to the great man!
    Sushama Patnekar

  10. I always feel like m talking to my dad whenever I talk to him.I can only say that he is like a family because we feel so comfortable talking with him as he listens very patiently. He is very much concerned about each and every patient. His home remedies always work. He is a great man…

  11. Discussion about Dr.Sakhdev will be incomplete if if we fail to mention regarding his extraordinary ability in finding out the Case papers, even if you visit his clinic after 10 to 12 years his super computor brain will find it within fer minutes, even if we forget that we have visited his clinic, simply by name still now he is capable of tracing the casepaper such is the memory of the Doctor. Hats off to him

  12. Very good article about,Sir,Dr.Sakhadev.”Vadyo Narayano hari”very much suits him.I pray the Almighty to bless him with long life and best health.

  13. Dr. Sakhadev is our family doctor since his started his practice along with Dr. N. R. Kulkarni. My brother in Law had chronic acidity problem for long time. We referred him to Dr. Sakhadev in 1987. He is fully cured of the problem and last 33 years he has not had any problem. My two daughters one in USA and Another in Australia consult doctor over phone even now.
    God bless Doctor with long and healthy life.

  14. Dr Ashok Sakhadeo . To whom I call Baba.. Baba word itself says how much.I respect him and adhore him.Hei s great and good advisor.aswell as good counsellor..I am lucky to have a good counsilor with me.Namaskar….Baba?

  15. I really appreciate the efforts put by SwateeJog for having written about great Dr. Ashok Sakhadeo.
    He has been a doctor for my family for last more than 55 years. He was residing initially in front of my house@Ansurkar Gali Belgaum. I cannot forget him for having saved me when I was 2years old. He has treated for any sort of health issues faced by my family members. It may be joint pain problem, acidity, etc. He is known for giving confidence to the patients by saying”DON’T WORRY I’LL CURE IT”. There is no comparison for such doctor. The words said would be much less for his skills
    I thank Swatee Jog who gave an opportunity to express about Dr. A N Sakhadeo on the Social Media.

  16. He is the best Doctor ever since my childhood. Great to have such Doctor.
    Swatee Maam I’m a keen reader of all your articles and you have nailed this one. Amazing write up.

  17. Dr.Sakhadev has a very pure soul. He is not behind making money, he just want to help people live a better and healthy life. His behavior towards his patients is very kind and warm as we all r his family. He gives enough and quality time to his patients and never hurries. He always treats us like his family.We have been his patients for 25 years. Dr.sakhadev has solution for each and every problem.

  18. May Almighty always bless him and Dr. Kale with Good health, Long life and happiness. It is a blessing that we have such blessed Dr. among us.

  19. I pray to the almighty to give him more strength and courage to serve the society.May he live for many more years to come in the service of mankind.

  20. A humble, very down to earth person(Dr.), who has all the solutions for all our health related issues. Most of the decises are cured by his touch of love and care and the sweet words of conversation towards the patient. May God bless him and his family with tonnes n tonnes of happiness and good health.

  21. Yes… Words will be less to speak about Dr. Sakhdev. He had cured us when my brother and I were sick with typhoid. No one in my family were panicked as Dr. Sakhdev was there. He treated us with love and care. Cannot forget….

  22. Our family was talking treatment from Dr Sakhadev.
    My daughter who is in Chicago now,always remembers Dr.
    Very nice person.


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