Rani Manshani (1 June 1947–13 January 2023)
[To cite: Dhingra R. Rani Manshani (Obituary). Natl Med J India 2023; 36:199. DOI: 10.25259/NMJI_428_2023]
The world became brighter on 1 June 1947, the day Dr Rani Manshani was born in Karachi. She sadly departed this life on 13 January 2023, after a long and happy life, surrounded by her family. After her schooling, she joined Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh and earned a Bachelor’s in Medicine (MBBS) in 1969, followed by a Master’s in Anatomy (MS) from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi in 1973.
After postgraduation, she became a demonstrator at AIIMS, and later became a professor at her alma mater, AIIMS in 1992 where she served in various capacities.
In her long and illustrious professional career, she taught generations of students. Her fields of specialization were experimental embryology, immunology, aorto-arteritis tissue typing, and breast cancer. She was a valued member of several scientific societies. She received extramural research grants from various national research organizations. She guided several PhD, MD, MS, MSc, DM and MCh students. She was a member of the editorial board and reviewer of several scientific journals. She presented her research work in many national and internal fora. She was awarded the Fogarty International Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, 1981–82. She was a Visiting Fellow in the Tissue Typing Laboratory at Sloan Kettering, USA, 1990. She won many accolades including the P.N. Dubey award by the Anatomical Society of India (ASI), 1992; distinguished teacher’s award at the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), 1992; Silver Jubilee Oration at Trivandrum Medical College, 1992; Best Poster Award at ICEB, Washington, USA 2007; S.P. Jain Oration at the Anatomical Society of India at Indore, 2011 and Excellence College Award on Doctor’s day at New Delhi Branch, 2013. She was conferred the Lifetime Achievement award by AIIMS (2018) and also by North Delhi Medical College (2022). She was invited as an expert for establishment of medical colleges at United Arab Emirates and Nepal. Her administrative skills were seen and admired by all when she took over as Dean, AIIMS, New Delhi (2009–12). Later she was also selected as the founder Dean of North Delhi Municipal Medical College and Hindu Rao Hospital in 2013 and continued to work in that capacity till 2017. She was a fellow and council member at the National Academy of Medical Sciences from 2020 till date.
Professor Rani Kumar was a remarkably vibrant, social and dynamic person. The Anatomy community especially the department of Anatomy at AIIMS, New Delhi sadly lost an important member. I feel sad and at a loss of words when I write about such a great personality who was a teacher to many of us. She has left a big gap in our department and a huge void in my life. She was an excellent teacher, orator and a nice human being. She was genuinely concerned about the achievements of her students and always cherished their success. She was an amazing mentor who not only taught me anatomy, but mentored me for life’s lessons, shaping me into the person I am today. I am forever indebted and grateful to her. I am privileged to have been her student. I thank God Almighty for this blessing of being associated with her. As a teacher she was always accessible to her students. She was part and parcel of our lives. She would go out of the way to help everyone who approached her. She was always there whenever we needed her. She spread endless joy and happiness wherever she went. She not only brought smiles to everyone’s face rather instilled positive energy in everyone who came in contact with her. She was one of the kindest and generous people one could ever meet. She was a problem solver with an instant solution. Her warmth, grace and talent made her popular among the students. She touched the lives of so many people while balancing her own professional and personal life. The Anatomy corridors will remember her as an elegant and immaculately dressed person, who symbolized positivity and hope, regardless of the circumstances.
The vacuum created following the demise of Professor Kumar will take a long time to fill. However, her philosophy will be cherished and fostered by all her students across the globe.
She is survived by her husband Dr Arun Kumar (paediatrician and current Director of Narender Mohan Hospital), two daughters, Smita and Payal, and four grandchildren. We pray to the Almighty to give solace to the soul of this great teacher, mentor, a pioneer and a true well-wisher. Her presence will truly be missed and her memory will remain indelible, never ever to be forgotten.