When Puneet Rajkumar’s eyes were donated, Dr Shetty called and asked me to send our patients. They were provided all procedures free of cost as they belonged to our hospital. Great were his passionate heart and helping hands.
Charismatic and ever-smiling, Dr Bhujang Shetty (1953–2023) was a friend, philosopher, and guide to many young and old ophthalmologists of Karnataka and India.
He inspired young ophthalmologists with his dedication and humility and encouraged them to serve better.
Besides being a dedicated ophthalmologist who has given light to the life of millions, he was the first to set up higher-end eye-care services in the private sector in Karnataka. A celebrated doctor, he also served as an advisor to the government’s vision health policy.
Diabetes reversal was his most passionate topic in recent times. He appeared on TV shows and YouTube channels, and was all over social media to impress upon people the need to change our lifestyle for the better.
Reverse diabetes with the right diet and workouts so that we can retain our vision and save ourselves from diabetic retinopathy — this was his message. It was much-needed as India is becoming the diabetic capital of the world.
Dr Bhujang Shetty was a great cricket fan. He enjoyed my husband Prakash Rathod’s cricket innings. My husband says he had his first eye check-up at the small clinic at Srirampura where Dr Shetty would charge ₹10 as consultation fees.
Dr Shetty’s chain of hospitals expanded throughout Bengaluru and all branches were well-managed. His concern for the poor was well-known.
He was an important sight ambassador and roped in a man loved by all Kannadigas, Dr Rajkumar. The famous actor pledged and donated his eyes and the eye bank was also named after him. This inspired others to pledge their eyes.
Corneal eye donation was highlighted in the national award-winning movie Akshi. The eye bank named after Dr Rajkumar was shown in it to create awareness about corneal eye donation.
As director and professor, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Minto Ophthalmic Hospital, I have had the chance to interact a lot with Dr Shetty. He was an alumnus of Minto, where my dad Professor R Lalya Naik, the first director of the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, was one of his teachers.
Dr Bhujang Shetty’s love for Minto was seen in his constant support to me and the organisation — be it in planning for its 125th-year celebrations, making many join the Minto alumni group, his advice over obtaining the best of equipment for refractive surgery, and so on.
When Puneet Rajkumar’s eyes were donated, Dr Shetty called and asked me to send our patients. They were provided all procedures free of cost as they belonged to our hospital. Great were his passionate heart and helping hands. His noble thoughts and positivity rubbed on me and many others too.
I pray that his eye-care empire continues to serve as per his vision. Long live his passion to serve society well.
My heartfelt condolences to the entire family over his untimely and sudden demise. May God give them the strength to move on.
We shall miss you, dear Bhujang Shetty sir. We shall console ourselves saying even God wanted to experience your service and so has summoned you there. Rest in peace, sir.
(Dr Sujatha Rathod is Director, Department of Medical Education and Minto Eye Hospital)