Get set for a glimpse of Mahatma Gandhi’s blood pressure records

Gandhi spinning
Gandhi spinning

The Indian Journal of Medical Research is bringing out an issue on Gandhi and Science

For its 150th commemorative issue, the Indian Journal Of Medical Research is all set to bring out a collectors’ item – an issue on Mahatma Gandhi and Science.

The issue which will come out later this year, will not only talk about the Father of the Nation’s association with the world of science but will also have a piece on his health status – complete with his blood pressure records.

“He was hypertensive, and on medications for the condition. The idea is to give the message that this is not exactly a disease of recent provenance,” Dr Balram Bhargava director general of ICMR said. However fully aware of the implications of making patient records public, in this day and age of data privacy, the apex council of medical research made sure that it had all the requisite permissions from the National Gandhi Museum for using and publishing the health data of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi microscope
This photo is displayed in the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi – Medibulletin Photo

Talking about blood pressure of famous historical personalities, Bhargava even recounted the case of former US President D Eisenhower, a general of the US Army during World War II before becoming the first citizen of the country.

“(General) Eisenhower’s blood pressure was 340. People sometimes wonder if the course of World War II would have been different had it been otherwise,” Bhargava said.

For Gandhi meanwhile the frontiers of science do not stop just at his blood pressure records. ICMR also has the option of actually doing a DNA profiling of the man who gave India its international identity through non violence. The blood stained clothes he was wearing on that fateful January 30 1948 when Nathuram Godse shot his at point blank range are available and can give a glimpse into the genes of that extraordinary man.

“We can do all that but are not doing it right now,” says Bhargava.

Whether the ICMR issue will also talk about Gandhi’s aversion to modern medicine and his disdain for many scientific concepts remains to be seen.


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