ANURADHA RAJPUT: Breaking Barriers through Biochemistry
When most of her contemporaries were settling down to encounter the usual conventions of a domestically-paced life, Anuradha Rajput was passionately pursuing her dreams of becoming a medical professional. Born to a lineage of army-officers that originated from the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir region of present-day Pakistan, the passion to fight for one’s beliefs lay inherently in her blood. So, when Rajput didn’t manage to obtain a medical seat post her 12th grade examinations, she relented even more fiercely in the direction of her professional pursuit by choosing to complete a Bachelor’s degree. Upon her graduation, the matrimonial anticipations held by her parents diverted Rajput from opting for the medical seat that she had finally quenched. However, her never-say-die spirit led her to pursue a postgraduate degree in Biochemistry instead, which she successfully completed. “I always wanted to become a doctor and serve the society. I wanted to reach out to the underprivileged by providing them basic medical aid, which many are deprived of”, Rajput says, while recounting her aspirations as a student.
Shortly after, destiny brought forth her life-partner in the form of a valiant army officer, who cherished Rajput’s entrepreneurial passions and instilled her flight with favourable tail winds. With his support and encouragement on the one hand; and years of academic persistence on the other, Rajput made a scintillating flight from the University of Mysore with a PhD in Medical Biochemistry.
Being the first girl in her clan to have become a science graduate & PhD, Rajput’s journey as a young medical professional had only just begun. It was in the diagnostics’ laboratory of a Bangalore-based hospital that Rajput made her professional debut. Looking back, Rajput elaborates, “although I had a supportive husband who encouraged me to finish my PhD, it was difficult for me to balance a married life and doing a PhD. I had to work very hard to maintain the balance. After I finished my PhD, I couldn’t work for six years. I had to give time to my family and my daughter. I almost gave up on my professional ventures when my husband encouraged me to pick up a job after my daughter began going to school.”
As luck would have it, the mother of a six-year-old resumed her professional career right at that point of time when clinical research was gaining eminence in India. Rajput was a new recruit at one of Bangalore’s hospital diagnosis laboratories, during which her innate authenticity and hard work enabled a rapid ascend for her, right up to heading Mallya hospital’s Department of Biochemistry.
After her dazzling performance at Mallya Hospital, Rajput proceeded to serve as the director and general manager of a laboratory called Clinigene, where she was responsible for establishing and developing the country’s first laboratory to be accredited by the College of American Pathologists, a gold-standard certification in the field.
Speaking of pathological laboratories, Rajput provides an interesting account of the importance of authentic laboratory-diagnosis and the loopholes that haunt it in present-day India: “The quality of (laboratory-diagnosis) reports play a vital role in the treatment of any patient. The treating physicians are guided by these laboratory reports and based on these reports, he decides the treatment; and many-a-times a wrong report can lead to a wrong treatment. In our country, one needs a licence to even open a pharmacy store. But no such licenses or permissions are required when it comes to starting a laboratory. Hence, the quality suffers.”
Just when her career began to enter the realms of big success, Rajput suffered tremendous setback. Her husband, who was commanding a battalion on India’s Line of Control as its Colonel, attained martyrdom in the year of 2002. Being widowed at such a young age had caused her unfathomable and unrecoverable damage. Devastated, Rajput accounts for having dealt with much of her pain and heartache under her professional shield: “my education and work helped me in dealing with the setback to a great deal. I learnt how important it was for a girl to be educated and independent.”
Five years hence, Rajput started her own company namely QED Preclinical Services Pvt. Ltd., which is based in Bangalore’s industrial area. Not only does this workspace serve Rajput in her day-to-day working, but is also a physical manifestation of her long-standing vision, which stands for providing certified clinical research to the local populace; and developing new drugs for various ailments, to name but a few.
So far, Rajput’s journey has been one rife with tests and challenges. However, the talented medical professional, visionary and shero serves as a real-life example of the power that lies in strength, resilience and focus. To put it most aptly, her concluding lines encapsulate her winning attitude: “every step of a career ladder presents its unique set of challenges, but if you start enjoying the challenges, they no longer remain as such and then you overcome them very easily. I believe in enjoying what I do, I also try to ensure a positive work environment, where people under my leadership are motivated to meet the challenges of our industry. They in turn become my strength. Lastly, I believe experience teaches you to remain calm and composed during rough times- as they always pass.”
We salute her spirit and wish her every success!