About Dwarkanath Kotnis

Dwarkanath Kotnis, born in a middle class Maharashtrian family from Solapur on 10 October 1910, had then graduated from the Seth G S Medical College, Bombay and was preparing for post-graduation. He asked permission of his family to volunteer for service abroad. Dwarkanath's younger sister Manorama recalls that her brother wanted to travel around the world and practice medicine at different places. She said "most members of the family knew little about China at that time. We only knew that people used to come and sell Chinese silk," While his father Shantaram encouraged young Dwarkanath to venture out, his mother was very sad because he was going that far and worse, in a war zone.


In November 1941, about a year before his death, Kotnis married Guo Qinglan, (Chinese: 郭庆兰; pinyin: Guō Qìnglán, born 15 September 1916 in Fenyang County, Shanxi Province) a nurse at the Bethune International Peace Hospital. Kotnis and Guo had a son on 23 August 1942. At the suggestion of Nie Rongzhen they named the boy "Yinhua" combining the Chinese characters for "Yin" (印) for India and "Hua" (华) for China. Yinhua died aged 24 in 1967 shortly before he was to graduate from medical college. His death has been attributed to medical negligence. In 1949, Guo remarried to a Chinese man with whom she had a son and a daughter. Guo Qinglan has been an honoured guest at many high-level diplomatic functions between China and India, such as the banquet Dalian Mayor Bo Xilai hosted for then Indian President K.R. Narayanan in June 2000 and during the visit of then Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee to Beijing in June 2003. In November 2006, she accompanied Chinese President Hu Jintao on a state visit to India. She died on 28 June 2012 at the age of 96 in Dalian, in Northeastern China.

Memorial in Solapur, Maharashtra

A memorial of Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis is installed in his birthplace in Solapur on 1 January 2012. The memorial, at his old residence, has been built by Solapur Municipal Corporation with efforts of Sushilkumar Shinde, who was Union Power Minister during the installation ceremony. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was present at the function.


Madame Sun Yat-sen said, concerning his role in the revolution, that "His memory belongs not only to your people and ours, but to the noble roll-call of fighters for the freedom and progress of all mankind. The future will honor him even more than the present, because it was for the future that he struggled."

The Martyr's Memorial park in Shijiazhuang city of the Northern Chinese province of Hebei is a famous attraction point. The north and south sides of the park are dedicated to the veterans of the Korean and the Japanese wars. The west side is dedicated to Dr. Norman Bethune, who fought for the Chinese, and the South side to Dr Kotnis. There is a great statue in his honour. A small museum there has a handbook of vocabulary that Kotnis wrote on his passage from India to China; some of the instruments that the surgeons used in their medical fight for life, and various photos of the doctors, some with the Communist Party of China's most influential figures, including Mao.