Padma Shri, Rai Bahadur
Dr. Mathra Das Pahwa (1880 – 1972)

V. V. Giri ( Message from President V.V. Giri on the death of Dr. Mathra Das Pahwa)

“I am deeply sorry to learn of the passing away of one of our most eminent eye surgeons, Dr. Mathura Dass Pahwa. By his expertise in the science of healing and his deftness in performing operations on mass scale, he has acquired a legendary renown which will continue to inspire many others engaged in this humanitarian cause. His complete dedication is visible from the fact that even at the ripe age of 91 he was performing operations for the benefit of the poor ………………….”

Mr. Khushwant Singh ( Extracted from article “Survival Kit” Decan Harald, Date : 28-04-2002)

Dr Mathra Das Pahwa was the most sought after physician of Lahore in the years before Partition. More than his skills as a doctor it was his perpetual cheerfulness which taught his patients to look at the sunnier side of life. Among his closest friends was Rai Bahadur Ishwas Das, Registrar of Punjab University (grandfather of Justice B.N Kripal of the Supreme Court), who usually took a very melancholic view of the world. I often ran into Dr Mathra Das in Iswar Das’ home. After assuring Ishwar Das that there was nothing wrong with him, he would recite his favourite couplet in Urdu: Meyrey Yaar, patang uraya kar Kat jaee to gham na Khaaya kar

(My Friend, always fly your kite high in the sky If, by chance, its string is cut and falls apart Do not let it get you down, do not take it to heart.) ……………..”

Mahatma Gandhi ( From Harijansevak, Date : 17-2-42)

“Though I had heard a lot about the reputation of Dr. Mathuradas of Moga. I had never had occasion to witness any of his famous operations for cataract, until I saw them in Wardha last month. He came specially at the invitation of Jamnalalji, and with his assistants restored eyes to about three hundred people who had been blinded by cataract.

These mass operations have been described as a yajna (sacrifice). And yajna it certainly is, as any act of selfless service is a sacrifice. This yajna began some years ago in the Bhagavad Bhakti Ashram at Rewari, which Jamnalalji was closely connected. He therefore invited the doctor this time to Wardha. I bowed to Dr. Mathuradas in admiration for his unerring and quick surgical hand. He performed operations at the rate of one in a minute. There was scarcely a mishap. Thousands thus get back their eyes free, as he charges no fee to the poor………………………”

R.S. Dutt (Indian Express Saturday Spectrum article “The legend that was Dr. Mathra Das” Date: 11-04-87)

“………….Moga, which is now a sub-division in Faridkot district of Punjab was perhaps not even a sub tehsil in those days. But its fame spread the world over because of Dr. Mathra Das patients from all over the Indian sub-continent came to Moga for treatment of eye ailments. Qualified eye-surgeons not only from other parts of the country, but from European countries, the USA. etc. came to him for training……………”

V.S. Nanda ( Span, September – 1968 “Two dedicated healers of the blind”)

Some Fifty years ago a doctor in the little known Punjab town of Moga began to attract public attention as one of the country’s great ophthalmic surgeons who was restoring the precious gift of eyesight to thoushands of people. He was Dr. Mathura Das, then a member of the Provincial medical service and attached to the civil hospital in Moga.

As the surgeon’s reputation spread, patients flocked to Moga for eye operations and improvised sheds were added to the small hospital , year after year , to accommodate their increasing numbers. Many Indian Doctors and Foreign Specialists also came to watch Dr. Mathra Das at work and learn something of his methods and technique………………….”

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