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Medical Studies

     The Thakore Saheb insisted upon looking after everything himself and had divided his hours of business, fixing a time for Government work Education interested him. Science attracted him specially. He had built up a splendid library and was a constant reader.

     During his education in Rajkumar college and particularly his tour in Europe from which he had returned some nine months prior. While grappling with administration problem, the Thakore Saheb earned to improve his own intellectual equipment. Reading in the quest of his studies did not satisfy him. The advice that, ‘Dr. Mackby had given him in 1883 to come to Oxford some day and be attached for some time to one of the college to complete his education’ kept echoing in his memory. He longed to study medicine.  He asked himself why he should not proceed to Britain and make a systematic study of medicine. It would satisfy his heart’s desire and at sometime fit him to be a better ruler.

     One great difficulty stood in his way. The medical course at a University was lengthy. Even though he would use his absence to secure education that would directly and, even more so, indirectly benefit his people, he felt that he could not remain away from them for years. But could he not go away for a short time and learn at least the rudiments of medicine and surgery and, upon his return, extend his knowledge by continuing his studies at home?

     He was quite sure that the plan was feasible. In Penzonji he had a Chief Karbhari who was both capable and trustworthy. He also had confidence in the officials at the head of the Revenue, Judicial and other Departments. They would have no difficulty in carrying on the day-to-day administration during his absence. Papers involving questions of importance could be sent to him and he could telegraph his orders in cases of urgency.

     Instead of interposing any objection, the Governor of Bombay smoothed his way. Sir James Fergusson had taken almost a paternal interest in him ever since he first met him in 1884 and had honoured him by appointing him, on January 1, 1885, a Fellow of the Bombay University.

     On March 26th 1886, The Thakore Saheb sailed from Bombay. Mr. P.S.V. Fitzgerald accompanied him (Deputy of Bombay Governor) as his cicerone. He proceed to Edinburgh, he had been great impressed by the facilities given by the university. There, he made up his mind that he would not accept no indulgence from the authorities on account of his rank. He would insist upon living and working as any other student. Practical work held a greater interest for him than theories. Now and again events occurred that distracted his mind from medical studies. Hardly had he, for instance, settled down to serious work when he received news of a daring out prisoners from the jail in Gondal where the bandits found guilty of looting Bhalgamda had been incarcerated.

     The prisoners who ran away from the jail were caught and punished. Among them two were killed. It was a great comfort to Thakore Saheb that he had left an experienced and strong official in charge of state who could be dependent upon to rise to such an occasion. Mr. Bezonji was, infect so devotee to him that he dilled with affairs on his own responsibilities.

     Some 18 months later the member of his order in Kathiawad requested him to represent them at Jubilee function of Queen Victoria. The Jubilee celebration attracted the visitors from all parts of the world. He met some of them and took the opportunity to learn from them how administration and regulation was carried in their own countries.

     In anticipation of celebration the Queen empress had constituted and extended the order of Indian Empire. Bhagvatsinhji named figured at the head of India’s deemed worthy of admission ‘The most eminent order of the Indian Empire as knight commander’. He had the additional owner of being invited by her majesty, who pinned the insignia upon his breast with her own hand. From the Jubilee celebration in London, Bhagvatsinhji went back to his studies with renewed zest. He had been his own master degree but his concept of Rajas obligation to his studies would not let him to do so. Teachers and fellow students alike were sorry to part from him own the eve of the departure from Edinburgh University, he received the degree of LLD on April 20th 1887.

Sir Bhagvatsinhji

The Maker of Modern Gondal



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