Srinagar, Oct 29: National Conference President, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday released “When the heart speaks” a book by noted cardiologist and social entrepreneur, Dr Upendra Kaul here.
Dr Parvaiz Ahmad Koul, Director SKIMS, Prof Amitabh Mattoo and Prof Syeda Afshana of University of Kashmir were guests of honour. The book release event was moderated by Nidhi Razdan, Consulting Editor, NDTV.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr Kaul divulged that his real surname was “Khan.” “Khan became Kaul when his father went to Lucknow for College Education in early 1940s.” he said.
He talked about his deep sense of belonging for the Kashmir valley in spite of spending most of his life in Delhi.
“The book revolves around Kashmir, my mother Gauri and varied experiences of the last 7 decades,” he said.
Kaul said that his visits to Kashmir became very frequent and he also built a house “Gauri Manzil” in memory of his late mother.
“The book is a full expose of the events during this period including the dark period of the 1990s’ and my contributions for the people of Kashmir irrespective of religious and caste barriers,” Kaul said.
In his book, Kaul has written about the beginning of kickbacks in the medical profession, the differences in medical institutions like AIIMS and corporate hospitals, his relations with personalities as varied as Mian Bashir of Wangat and Sathya Sai Baba.
He also talks about the Covid experience and finally the formation of Gauri Kaul Foundation and its contributions for the remote areas of the UT.
Dr Kaul is a gold medallist in Surgery and the first qualified cardiologist of Kashmiri origin.
While he loves his profession, his love for Kashmir is paramount, which can be seen from the manner in which he devotes special attention to patients from Kashmir. The patients flock him with faith that he will tend to them, and he does so unhesitatingly, sometimes even helping them out monetarily, if they cannot afford the treatment.
He also regularly conducts health camps across J&K in pursuance of his mission of ‘No More Heart Attacks by 2025’ under the banner of an NGO set up as a tribute to his late mother Gauri Kaul.
In this book, Dr Kaul has also traced the history of Kashmir from the late 14th, early 15th century, and provides nuggets of information – such as that the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was bought for a mere Rs 75 lakh.
He is frank when discussing the ills of his profession. The book is eminently readable, full of brilliant anecdotes, and difficult to put down.
His description of Kashmir’s beauty makes the reader want to visit the region.
An interesting fact he narrates is that when he was a baby he started speaking late, which got his parents worried as his cousin, who was of his age, was speaking fluently. His parents consulted the family’s head priest who advised that a tongue made of silver be donated to the Devi at Kheer Bhawani temple, one of the most sacred places for Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. His parents followed the head priest’s advice and a few weeks later Koul uttered his first sentence.
Director SKIMS, Dr Parvaiz Ahmad Koul highlighted the contributions of Kaul in the field of Cardiology in Kashmir.
“I want to thank U Kaul for his contributions and spending his entire life for the service of his people. He has been actively writing in local dailies and creating awareness about preventative measures for hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in the valley. He is a noble-hearted go-to-Kashmir heart doctor,” Koul said.
Dr Parvaiz also thanked Kaul for visiting Kashmir during the 1990s with an aim to provide best cardiology services to his people.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Professor of International Relations at JNU, Melbourne said that the book reveals deep compassion and love for Kashmir and above all U Kaul’s great humanity.
“This book depicts the journey and experiences of U Kaul. His journey from his village, college, outside Kashmir and other countries. He has visited many places in the world but his commitment towards his people is appreciable,” he said.
Syeda Afshana, Prof at MERC, University of Kashmir said that U Kaul has surprised us by becoming an admirable storyteller. “The one who deals with the heart, has spoken from the heart,” Prof Afshana said. She said that this book makes us understand that success is never accidental.