He hailed from Sholapur in Maharashtra, and arrived at China in 1938 as part of a five-member team of doctors sent by the Indian National Congress to help the Chinese during the World War II. While his contemporaries returned, he remained in the country, joined the communist party and continued to tend to the wounded soldiers. He passed away in December 1942.
According to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) archives, Kotnis arrived in Yan'an in January 1939. He moved on to an anti-Japanese base area in North China, where he acted as the physician-in-charge of the surgical department of the Eighth Route Army General Hospital. He joined the communist party in July 1942, later taking on the post of the first president of the Bethune International Peace Hospital.
Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis, 10 October 1910 in India – 9 December 1942 in China), also known by his Chinese name Ke Dihua was one of the five Indian physicians dispatched to China to provide medical assistance during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938. Known for his dedication and perseverance, he has been regarded as an example for Sino-Indian friendship and collaboration.
The team first arrived in China at the port of Hankou, Wuhan. They were then sent to Yan'an, the revolutionary base at the time in 1939, where they were warmly welcomed by Mao Zedong, Zhu De and other top leaders of the Communist Party, as they were the first medical team to come from another Asian country.