Over four decades of selfless service for those in pain

By Shafeeq Hudavi, TwoCircles.net,

Kozhikode: For over four decades, a familiar face welcomes patients, their relatives, volunteers, staff, doctors and even bystanders at the entrance of the Kozhikode Medical College and Hospital.

Driven by the theory ‘Peace comes through helping the persons in need’, K Musakkoya, a native of Peringalam, about 10 kms from here, has been rendering selfless service at the casualty wing of the every bustling hospital.

Musakkoya in front of the casualty wing of Kozhikode Government Medical College
Musakkoya in front of the casualty wing of Kozhikode Government Medical College

Clad in a simple white shirt, Mundu (Kerala style dhoti) and sometimes the skull cap, the philanthropist is always found standing alert in front of the casualty wing. When TwoCircles.net met him in front of the medical college and hospital, the elderly man was as usual busy in lending a helping hand to an old man battling for his life.

The 48 year history of the medical college is deeply related with Musakkoya, who is now his 60s. He was a boy when the hospital was inaugurated by then Kerala Governor Bhagavan Sahayi on April 7, 1966. A few years, he joined as an office boy in the ladies hostel of the medical college.

“Those days, I used to spend my leisure hours with the patients, most from marginalised sectors. I used to help them as and when possible and also was happy doing it,” he recalls.

When he turned 18, he was appointed as a clerk in the state’s Revenue Department. Ideally, he could have and should have left the hospital for his job. But he was unable to do it as his heart won’t just agree for leaving behind hundreds of suffering needy patients. After all it was the only major government hospital in the Malabar region, lagging behind in terms of medical treatment facilities.

“I thought it was still in need of my services,” says Musakkoya. “I try my best to be here always. Earlier, I used to be here for up to six hours per day. But, owing to the ill health, I have been forced to reduce it to two hours.”

Musakkoya comes from a middle class background. His wife is a housewife. One of his sons runs a business here at Kozhikode and the other works abroad. Instead of spending a retired life after years of a job and also in service at the hospital, he still continues to work selflessly there. Only on the days that he has gone out of the district for some work that he does not come to the hospital. Rest all days, it is impossible for him to stay away.

And why not, he says. After all, Musakkoya has several shocking and tearful memories attached with the medical college during his tenure as a volunteer. Be it the ill-famous Kadalundy train accident or the Pookkiparambu bus tragedy, the devout gent cannot forget the human loss and the emotional outbursts.

“How can I forget those busy hours, when human bodies were brought to the casualty after the Kadalundy train tragedy near here? Bodies were soaked in water as they were fished out from the river. The air rented with ambulance sirens and cries of the relatives of the victims. I still remember those damned hours when 54 dead bodies were taken out and brought to the hospital,” Musakkoya says with a tinge of sadness visible on his old face.

In all, 54 persons had died when Chennai-Mangalore Superfast Express fell in the Kadalundy river due to bridge collapse on July 21 in 2001. “After continuously working for 27 hours, I went home after the last was body was taken out by around 5 pm the second day. I had arrived at the casualty wing at 2 pm the earlier day. I felt neither hunger nor thirst during those hours as I remained busy. But after that, I was filled with a hollowness,” he remembers, almost tears in his eyes.

The Pookkiparambu bus tragedy, one of the deadliest road accidents in the state, occurred in Malappuram district in July 2001. The speeding bus overturned on the National Highway generating a fire outbreak. It left 39 deceased. Musakkoya recalls some of the bodies that were completely burnt.

Musakkoya, by his selfless services, has emerged as an emulative model for the young volunteers and health workers with the medical college. “For the young volunteers like me, he is leaving a valuable message of charity,” says Abdul Latheef, a volunteer working with the hospital for last four years.

But the best part is … even after 48 years of service, the Good Samaritan struggles to find an accurate answer as to why he became a volunteer. “I don’t know how this habit of volunteering developed in me. Perhaps you can call it destiny or fate or something else. The only thing I know is that I am glad that I could extend service to several patients disregarding their caste, colour, religion, sex and language.”