GADAG: No marks for guessing why Kallesh Murashillin is famous as ‘10 rupee doctor’ in his village. Kallesh charges Rs 10, and sometimes not even that, as consultation fee from his patients at Mallasamudra village near Gadag. He has been following this for the last 22 years, when he first opened a clinic in the village with a mission to help the poor avail medical facility in the rural area. Kallesh, a BAMS graduate, made the resolution since he was born in a poor family, and had to sell milk and pursue other part-time jobs to earn his degree.
“I faced a tough time during my school and college days. We have a small farm. I bought cattle and sold milk to pursue my education,” Kallesh says. “I saw many poor people suffering from diseases and they had no money for treatment,” he adds, narrating how, before joining BAMS, he worked as an assistant with Dr P C Chappanmath who was from Mallasamudra — a small drought-prone village where people suffered from acute poverty. “After finishing my BAMS, I still had pictures of those impoverished people in my mind. So I decided to serve the poor and selected Mallasamudra village,” he says.
Dr Kallesh comes to the village on his cycle every day, reserving the use of his motorbike only for sunny days. He also creates awareness among people to use the cycle as a mode of transport in order to lead a healthy life. He opens his Kalmeshwar clinic at 8.30am and begins examining patients who queue up to meet him. His fee remains the same even for home visits.
“Our doctor is really a good human being. He visits the houses of the elderly and the specially-abled, a and doesn’t charge anything,” says Shanraappa Yali, a Mallasamudra resident, adding that Kallesh often also distributes medicines for free. “We often try to force him to accept the payment for medicines at least, but he has always declined. He is a role model for all of us,” Shanraappa says.
The villagers are full of stories about Dr Kallesh’s determination to treat the poor for free. Mallasamudra resident Shekappa Annigeri recalls an instance when an elderly woman was found arguing with the doctor, urging him to take money. When Kallesh asked her what she does for a living, she replied that she was a beggar. “She gave him 50 paisa coins, forcing him to accept the money.
The doctor finally managed to send her back without taking anything. He even promised to always treat her for free,” Shekappa says. “If we go to any other hospital, doctors first charge Rs200 and then ask us about the problem. But Kallesh doctor can just take one look at us, and understand the issue. He has been serving here for 22 years, and knows every person. He is the family doctor to all the villagers.”
Not just Mallasamudra, but villagers from nearby areas of Kanavi, Hosur, and Harti also consult him. Kallesh is the first doctor they usually go to with a health complaint. “Villagers have the confidence that with his medicines, they will recover soon,” Shekayya Hiremath, another villager, said.
Dr Kallesh charged Rs 5 when he was single. After his marriage, his wife, Dr. Deepa, asked him to continue his routine, while she started practising in Gadag town. He now charges Rs10 and earns Rs150-200 every day.
- Kallesh is an amateur writer who has published many books on the issues of social development and health. He also writes ‘Manadalad Maatu’ on his blog and social media, in which he delves into inspirational subjects.
- He urges people to keep the village clean in order to prevent diseases, and plant saplings and aintain them. He also works with the villagers during sanitation drives.
- Kallesh invites yoga teachers and organises free classes for villagers on occasions like Yoga Day and other important days. Last year, SS Hiremath, a yoga teacher from Gadag, came and taught many asanas to people here