The Amazing Story Of Dr Jack Preger -Street Doctor In India - Is Posted as an e-Book On The World Wide Web
If you run a free medical clinic for destitutes on an open pavement in India for 14 years, and are imprisoned for your efforts, you should be famous. On the internet, read why this man is not famous - and needs to be.
Most doctors aspire to a successful medical career, and a nice income. Not so, the now 77-year old British physician, and ex-farmer, Jack Preger, who as you read this, depending on the time difference, will either be tirelessly working for the sick destitutes and street people in Kolkata, India, or asleep in his primitive accommodation.
His story is extraordinary. Like Mother Teresa, his dedication to the poor in Kolkata was the result of a ''command out of the blue''
In the most unlikely circumstances, he was told to ''become a doctor'' when sitting on his tractor, spreading manure on his farm in Wales.
But unlike Mother Teresa, he has little time for prayer, avoids churches except for weddings and funerals, calls most religious ceremonies ''theatre'' and instead of flirting with the authorities, he fights with them, a fiery quality which had him thrown into Alipore prison.
After graduating as a mature student at the age of 42 from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, he answered an appeal to help relieve the hellish suffering of thousands of refugees in Bangladesh. When he uncovered and exposed an evil traffic in children, which implicated figures in the government there, he was expelled from the country, the clinic he had set up seized, and the patients thrown out on the street. Some of them died as a result.
He proceeded to Calcutta (now Kolkata) where after a short stint with Mother Teresa ("far too much prayer, far too little medical care") he set about treating sick destitutes where they lived - under bridges, inside drainage pipes, and on the streets. This led to setting up his amazing ''Pavement Clinic'' which operated under saggy tarpaulins on a Calcutta street for 14 years, treating up to 500 sick or injured people a day, funded by donations, assisted by local doctors, and foreign volunteers. It is hard to believe that something like this could even last 14 days.
Today, Jack''s philanthropy is now embodied successfully in the registered charity "Calcutta Rescue" which operates several clinics, schools and other wonderful services to the city''s street-dwellers, and no longer on the pavement. Support groups in various countries appeal for funding to keep it going. So why is he not famous?
Although awarded an MBE for his achievements and selfless dedication by the British government, Jack is a humble, modest and unassuming man who, if possible, avoids publicity and rarely gives interviews. Whilst this might be a commendable human quality, it is not one which helps a charity to thrive. Equally important, his example is an inspiration to many - and his story should be told.
Happily, that is about to change with the publication of an E-book on the internet - the result of many hours of taped interviews with an ex-volunteer, Basil McCall, who persuaded Jack to reveal his inner thoughts and experiences for the benefit of all who are interested. This has now been posted on the Internet as an e-Book entitled: "Once you Begin, the Rest Follows"
The conversations are interspersed over 17 chapters set in various locations in Kolkata, providing an interesting backdrop and colourful thumbnail sketch of the city, together with various historical references and descriptions.
The book''s objective is to highlight Jack''s work, reveal his previously unpublished thoughts and personal philosophies, and help support the Calcutta Rescue Charity - for those who feel moved to contribute, there is a link on the web site.
Altime motivation is inspired by a spiritual conviction as a result of personal experiences, he has little tolerance for religious pomp or ceremony. Atheists and agnostics will find his free-thinking approach refreshing, and one which may even challenge their own lack of conviction. People of simple faiths - Christian, Islamic, Buddhist or any other - will find it comforting and reassuring. Bigoted or brainwashed believers may find it disturbing.Read the free on-line book about Dr Jack Preger, MBE