By Dr Arvind K Chaturvedi
It will be appropriate to say that Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre owes its existence largely to the selfless and tireless efforts of our founder chairman Air Vice Marshal H K L Kapur. A small piece of land at Rohini has been transformed into a premier cancer hospital on the global map. AVM Kapur has been our founder chairman and was singularly instrumental in getting a German government loan that went a long way to acquire the state of art equipment at the hospital.
AVM Kapur was born at Rohtak on December 10, 1923, where his father the Late Rai Bahadur Dr. Ram Chand Kapur was the civil surgeon. After graduating from Forman Christian College, Lahore in 1942 he joined the Indian Air Force. He was promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal in 1978. He retired from the service after 37 years of meritorious service and for services of an exceptionally high order rendered to the nation and the Air Force was awarded “ATI VISHIST SEVA MEDAL” in 1974 and “PARAM VISHIST SEVA MEDAL” in 1979.
For the Asian Games held at Delhi in November – December, 1982 he was appointed Chief Administrator of the Asian Games Village Complex, established to look after the needs and comforts of over 5000 sportsmen and officials. For the efficient and blemish free performance of the important and demanding duties assigned to him, he was awarded “PADMASHREE” in 1983. In early part of 1983 he was also given the responsibility by the then Prime Minister of looking after the delegates from the various countries to attend the NAM and CHOGAM in Delhi.
In July, 1983 he was appointed Administrator, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust. In November, 1984 he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha; a distinguished and singular honor to an ex serviceman. He resigned membership of Rajya Sabha in November 1985 to take over as Lieutenant Governor, Delhi an assignment he held till August 1988. During this period of nearly three years, by honest and dedicated work for all sections of society particularly those belonging to the weaker sections he endeared himself to one and all in the various walks of life. Even today, after many years, the average person, irrespective of his position, religion or caste expresses nothing but respect, love and affection.
He has been a source of inspiration to all the consultants and staff of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre. AVM Kapur is 83 yrs in age now and has for personal reasons decided to step down from the chairman’s position. However his historic contribution in the inception of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre is a permanent landmark and will never be forgotten.