My aunt, Dr. Nirmala Kesaree, passed away on the morning of January 8, 2016. Much respected and beloved by those who knew her, she was an iconic personality and a pillar of the community in Davanagere, Karnataka, where she resided for the past 50 years. Aunt Nimmi was one of the first doctors to practice as a pediatric specialist in India. She had studied and worked in the US and in England, but returned to India in the late 1960s with a dream of founding a charitable hospital for children. At first, she treated children for free at a clinic she set up in her own home. And eventually, after much saving, strategizing, and struggle, she opened the Bapuji Child Health Institute to serve the poor of Davangere in 1993, where she served as Director until the time of her death. In addition to this—and among many other accomplishments—Aunt Nimmi spearheaded vaccination drives that benefited hundreds of villages and tens of thousands of children in her area in the 1970s. She is also the developer of Davanagere Mix, a nutritional supplement that predates others of its kind used today by the WHO.
In 2005, Aunt Nimmi was awarded the Kannada Rajyothsava Award for her many contributions to the welfare of local women and children. She was an inspiration to me and I miss her. She is survived by two sisters (including my mother), one brother, and perhaps hundreds of medical students who credit her for, among other things, bringing evidence-based medicine and higher standards to the region where she practiced.
My mother, Dr. Malati Kesaree, with the assistance of Aunt Nimmi's dear friend, Premalatha G.R., wrote and published a tribute to my aunt. In January 2018, it was released as a printed book in Jagaluru, Karnataka, by Sri Taralabalu Jagadguru Dr. Shivamurthy Shivacharya Mahaswamiji of the Sirigere Math. The full text with images is available here for download (PDF):