#AgeNoBar With Dr. Ashok Sumant

Dr. Ashok Sumant talks about his journey as a doctor and why he will never retire till his last breath.


His story: I have spent more than 50 years in treating patients and at the age of 70, self-sustained, serving society. I’m also a professor imparting knowledge to the young generation. A doctor by profession, I made sure nobody dies of severe pain. I believe the patient must be pain-free and must die peacefully with dignity. Being a doctor it’s my moral duty to treat patients who are suffering in pain. And when they become healthy and you see them smile, it’s so rewarding! Nowadays doctors are into money making business. Fortunately, I could save myself from such method of making money. Even today at the age of 70 I feel active and wish to give back to society. I feel one should never retire because it’s a sign of being dead.

I am an early riser and my day starts at 6:30 in the morning. I practice yoga, pranayama followed by meditation. Then, I drink healthy and nutritious lauki ka juice, tea an hour later and head straight to the hospital. My profession keeps me busy all day long.

At the beginning of my career, I was fortunate enough to achieve a higher position while I was just 37. In no time, I got promoted and several responsibilities came my way. I was dedicated to my work. I left no room for complaints and started serving society. I always reached the hospital on time. There were 14 OTs under my supervision. But this never stressed me nor was I disappointed with my work life. I would often treat myself with a morning movie show.


In my work-life, I came across a lot of cherishing moments. When an expecting woman would come for delivery, curious to know who will it be, a girl or a boy, happy to see their child, these moments are magical. The joy I would see on the faces of the family members is difficult to put into words. I have seen many patients with head injuries, broken bones being treated in the ICU. After a month or so, when they go out walking on their feet, I feel so happy and satisfied.

I’m a very calm soul. Nobody has seen me angry in the last 50 years. The secret to my calmness is yoga and pranayama. In addition to that, 15 minutes of meditation every day is as good as eight hours of sleep, deep sleep. Also breathing exercise calms your mind. It keeps you active all day. I practise my yoga every day without fail.

I always say one thing ‘Life is a celebration’. Live it. Give back to the society in whatever way you can give, in whichever way you can give. It's very fulfilling, satisfying and gratifying. It’s a wonderful thing to do. It can be anything. Go ahead and teach in a school, or maybe coach some sport for children who cannot afford a coach. The satisfaction you get post your work is beautiful.

The world has changed a lot in the last few years. Technology is rapidly changing our environment. It’s all digitalized. I can’t moan over it, rather learn to keep pace with it. From net-banking to operating a smartphone, everything is just one touch away. As a professor, I used to have slides which are now replaced with projectors. Learning and unlearning is the key to living happily.  In India, one pursuing BA, B.Com have the mentality that there’s nothing beyond a bachelor’s degree. This should not be the case. Even though I hold an M.D degree, an MBA degree and an FRCS from the UK, I never stopped reading or acquiring new knowledge and skills. One should never stop learning.

During my days, there were very limited options. If you are great with your studies, you would become a doctor or maybe an engineer. Today, you have a plethora of jobs. You have so many opportunities, which sadly we didn't have. However, now you have more competition, almost a cutthroat one.

Post my job retirement, I joined Symbiosis College as a professor and director of their programs. I always had one thing to say to the young generation ‘Hard work is important, and it has no substitute’. You must work hard to achieve anything in life and that goes without saying. And secondly, improve your academic backgrounds.

Being a senior doctor it's my responsibility to pass on my skills and knowledge to the juniors. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening very often. Because these days doctors are too busy in their practice. And they're not very keen to pass on their skills because they think they will create competition for themselves. That’s a sad reality.

However, I will never stop working or sharing my knowledge. I will never retire because there is so much left that I want to do for my society.