Should Our Patients Depend On Other Countries?
Eighty-five years ago Prafulla Chandra came to realize that the progress of India was
linked with industrialization. Without this there could be no salvation. Even drugs for
Indian patients had to come from foreign countries at that time. This put money into the
pockets of the merchants of those countries. This had to be stopped. Drugs had to be
manufactured in India. Prafulla Chandra wanted a beginning to be made at once.
But who was to do it?
Prafulla Chandra was not rich. The family estates had been sold to pay his father's
debts. Prafulla Chandra's salary was also meager. Still he ventured upon this pioneering
attempt. He prepared some chemicals at home. His work grew so fast that a separate company
had to be formed.
But he needed capital - a capital of only eight hundred rupees. But it became difficult to
raise even this small amount.
In spite of all these difficulties he founded 'The Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical
In 1894 his father died. This was a great
blow to Prafulla Chandra. The father was still in debts and thousands of rupees were
needed. Only a small part of the property remained. Even this was sold, so that the debts
could be repaid.
Prafulla Chandra bravely continued to run the new factory. At first it was difficult to
sell the chemicals made there. They could not compete with the imported materials. But
some friends, chiefly Dr. Amulya Charan Bose, supported his venture. Dr. Bose was a
leading medical practitioner and he enlisted the support of many other doctors. They, too,
started using the chemicals made by the new Indian firm. Many graduates in Chemistry
joined the staff of the factory and worked hard for its improvement. Bengal Chemical
became a famous factory. But Dr. Bose died suddenly in 1898 owing to an attack of Plague.
His brother-in-law Satish Chandra Sinha, who was an enthusiastic chemist in the firm, died
of accidental poisoning in the- laboratory. Thus one blow followed another and Prafulla
Chandra was very unhappy. The entire responsibility of the factory fell on his shoulders.
Still he faced everything with courage.
This achievement itself was admirable, but. Prafulla Chandra's contribution to Indian
industry was even greater. Directly or indirectly he helped to start many other factories.
Textile mills, soap factories, sugar factories, chemical industries, ceramic factories and
publishing houses were set up at the time with his active co-operation. He was the driving
force behind the industrialization of the country, which began at that time.