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Ayurveda:

Dwarkanath Gooptu (Gupta):

Dwarkanath Gooptu

Dr. Dwarkanath Gooptu (Bengali দ্বারকানাথ গুপ্ত) (G.M.C.B-Graduate of Medical College of Bengal) (1818 to 1882) was one of the earliest practitioners of western medicine in Calcutta to have graduated from Bengal Medical College established in 1835. He later went on to invent and patent an 'anti-periodic' mixture prescribed to patients suffering from malarial fever.He was among the earliest Vaidyas trained in the science of western medicine. He founded Messrs. D.Gooptu and Co. at the age of twenty-two and turned it into one of the most successful business enterprise in the then British India, according to Somerset Playne, the author of the book Bengal and Assam, Behar and Orissa: Their History, People, Commerce and Industrial Resources published in 1917.

Early Life:

Dr. D Gooptu was the son of Brindaban Chandra Gupta who had considerable landed property in and around Calcutta. Dr. D Gooptu was one of the favourite students of David Hare and educated under his care at the Hare School in Calcutta. Mahashri Debendranath Tagore was his contemporary at the school. When the Medical College of Bengal was established in June 1835, he was admitted as one of first four foundation students. He assisted Madhusudan Gupta in carrying out the first human dissection in modern India and Asia. Having passed his final examination on 2 February 1839 he was appointed by the Honourable East India Company as medical officer in one of the north-western towns but as he was inclined towards independent practice, he refused the post. Prince Dwarkanath Tagore had a dispensary of traditional Ayurvedic medicine at 13, Esplanade Road and entrusted Dr Gooptu to practice from there. He soon became family physician to Prince Dwarka Nath Tagore who introduced him to other well-to-do families in Calcutta, and thus at the age of twenty-two he began his career as a medical practitioner, becoming the family physician to all the Tagore households.

Messrs. D. Gooptu & Co:

In 1840 the first indent of Messrs. D. Gooptu & Co. was written by Sir William Brook O'Shaughnessy the then professor of chemistry at the Medical College. The firm owned the first known dispensary of English drugs in India which was started by a Bengalee doctor. The business grew rapidly in succeeding years and in 1871 D. Gooptu became the sole proprietor of the company carrying it on till 1882, when he died, leaving the business in the hands of his three sons who continued the business until 1913, when the second son Mr R C Gooptu died. The flagship product of the company was the patented anti-periodic mixture, commonly known as " D. Gooptu Tonic," which was the specific medicine prescribed for all kinds of fever and malarial fever and it had perhaps one of the largest sales among patented medicines in British India. There is a mention of the patented 'D.Gooptu' medicine in 'Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamritha' where he describes Dr Gooptu work as something very difficult to achieve in times of Kali Yuga or 'age of vice'. It is also mentioned that when Ramakrishna was suffering from malarial fever in 1879-80, he got relief from the fever after having the medicine as traditional ayurvedic medicines were not effective.

Dr D. Gooptu's proximity to the British also helped him to export his products to Africa and the business was transacted at 369, Upper Chitpore Road and 13, Esplanade Row East, Calcutta.

Apart from the anti-periodic mixture, there were several other proprietary medicines of the firm, the names of which are:-

  1. Anti-periodic mixture "Falena Parichiyata"
  2. Spleen and liver ointment
  3. Special liver mixture for all kinds of ailment of that organ
  4. Diarrhoea and dysentery pills
  5. liver-purging pills.
  6. Essence of Jamaica Sarsaparilla

Family Deity:

The first ancestor of the 'Gooptu's' who came and settled down in Calcutta was Ramaram Goswami and became the one in charge of the temple of Madan Mohan. His son, Laksminarayan, who was also learned, continued to be in charge of the temple after his father's demise. Laxminarayan had two son's Jaganath and Kriparam. One night, Jagganath, who became a sanyas had a dream about a deity-Goddess Durga and following his dream, he wanted to create an idol out of the image which he dreamt, and thus set forth to create the Astadhatu (eight metals) figure of the deity through a particular ritual known as the pranpratishtha puja. This four and a half inch figure of Singhabahini, forged out of eight metals 'astadhatu' is the Kuladevata (family deity) and still remains with the clan and each branch of the family take turns to perform pujas throughout the year. This ritual has been carried on for over three hundred years.