Dr. Shrikant Jichkar was a polymath, a politician, and a social reformer. Most importantly, he was an active scholar. He was born in a farmer’s family in the Nagpur district of Maharashtra on 14th September 1954.
Dr. Jichkar was a medical doctor who was trained in Nagpur and received his MBBS, MD, and Ph.D. He was the most educated person in India, with 20 University degrees to his credit, which included law, journalism, psychology, management, and literature. A scholar of English and Sanskrit, he was qualified for the prestigious UPSC exams, first for IPS, and then for IAS. But he did not join the civil services. Instead, he joined active politics and became a member of the Maharashtra legislative assembly at the young age of 25. He was also made a member of the cabinet and given fourteen portfolios at a time. For more than a decade, he dominated the social and political life of Maharashtra. He also became a member of Rajyasabha.
He was a great educationist, who pioneered the establishment of the Sanskrit University at Ramtek, near Nagpur, and also a school called Sandipani that taught the true essence of Indian culture. He was an authority of Indian culture and was a true believer in science. These abilities made him practice all the good that is depicted in Indian culture with an open eye of a scientific experimenter. He was not only a bookish scholar but also discussed and debated his view-points with people, generating a thesis that works for the upliftment of social life at large. His tremendous faith in science as well in Indian culture brought him to criticism from his peers in politics and social life, though this did not deter him.
As the western world’s lifestyle plummets the health and wellness of people in developing world, we see the pandemic of diabetes being spread and accelerate people dying. But a dedicated physician to the core of his heart, Dr. Jichkar, first propagated the idea of “Carbo-insulin connection” in India. Insulin is a hormone necessary for the utilization of glucose in our body. It is secreted from the pancreas in the body in two phases. The first one is the baseline secretion; which is essential for life. The other stage depends on food intake. Typically, out of total insulin secretion, half should come as baseline secretion and a half from the secretion in response to eating episodes. Insulin will be secreted only once for the total eating period of 55 min. If you continue eating more than 55 minutes, then for every 55 minutes slot, you will secrete insulin. More insulin secretion causes hyperinsulinemia, which makes your body resistant to its action, inducing type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as obesity.
Dr. Jichkar propagated that the only way available to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes is to reduce the frequency of insulin secretion. Generally, we feel starving only twice in the day. So Dr. Jichkar indicated that the simple method to lose weight and prevent diabetes includes reducing your carbohydrate intake and limiting your eating episodes to two times a day. He also proclaimed that this concept was practiced in ancient Indian culture, where the proper two times only diet concept was prevalent.
Unfortunately, Dr. Jichkar died at an early age of 49 in 2004, but his vision has inspired a young professor of preventive medicine to pursue something that is helping a large number of people today. Based on this “two meals” concept for preventing obesity and diabetes, Dr. Jagannath Dixit started a campaign in 2013 in a humble but practical way. He demonstrated that limiting the eating to only two times a day, each not exceeding 55 minutes, supplemented by 45 minutes of exercise, can cure obesity and prevent diabetes. As of today, more than 50000 people from the globe are connected directly with this campaign, and thousands of severely obese and diabetic people have been benefitted. In some, the doses of anti-diabetes medicines are decreased and, in some, totally stopped. Most importantly, this campaign has provided a ray of hope to all obese and diabetics in the world.
A useful application of science means not the use of more drugs, but a fusion of the physiological advances with the traditional wisdom of a rich culture. Dr. Jichkar and his prophet Dr. Dixit used the knowledge of Indian Ayurveda and the modern concept of Carbohydrate-Insulin nexus together to demonstrate a drug-less cure of obesity and diabetes. It has indeed proven to be working well so far!
Due to the sheer scientific approach and impregnable perseverance, these visionaries used their talents to solve a problem that not only our nation but the world is facing today. Our country needs such heroes who find out ways to fight adversities, not the ones who succumb to it.