Dr. Kotnis

Dr. Kotnis – India’s Son

Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis (Dr.Kotnis) was born on 10th October 1910 in Solapur, Maharashtra State in India. He was born to a lower middle class Marathi family. He had five sisters and two brothers and studied medicine at Mumbai’s Sheth G.S.Medical College. He died on 9th December 1942 at the age of 32. He was also called the ‘Son of India’.

Representation As Part Of The Indian Medical Mission Team

The Japanese invaded China in 1937 and Zhu De, the communist General requested the president of Indian National Congress, Nehru to send physicians from India to China. A fund of Rupees 22,000 was collected, an appeal was made to the Indian people and an ambulance was arranged to send to China along with other doctors. Dr.Mukerji, Dr.B.K.Basu, Dr.M.Cholkar. Dr.M.Atal and Dr.D.Kotnis aged 28 years represented the five doctor medical team dispatched in September 1938 to China as part of the Indian Medical Mission Team. All the doctors returned safely to India, except for Dr.Kotnis. Wounded soldiers were treated in mobile clinics. He first reached port Hankou, Wuhan, then to Yan’an and later got posted as director to the Bethune International Peace Hospital.

At that time India was struggling for freedom just as China was struggling for freedom from Japanese aggression, which was the key element of this mission. When in 1939, Nehru visited China, this mission was reinforced. Dr. Kotnis was an Indian Medical Mission Team’s member and was sent by the Indian Congress Partly led by Jawaharlal Nehru.

A Great Hero

The Indian government had sent Dr. Kotnis and other four doctors to China, on a request made by China to treat many of the soldiers wounded during the second Sino-Japan war in the year 1938. He did not pay any regard to his personal safety and comforts, stayed in China and continued his great job. He got married to Qunglan Guo. In China, he is considered a great hero just as he is considered a national hero in India. It was a tragedy for all when he died an untimely death at young age of thirty two. To commemorate the death of Dr.Kotnis, two great monuments have been constructed in China. During the war, he had made a huge contribution to the humanitarian cause.

Dr. Kotnis sacrificed his life in China for the Chinese people. He made a lot of contribution to the victory of China’s Resistance War against aggression by the Japanese. He played a vital role in saving the lives of many Chinese soldiers.

Heroic Exploits

His exploits were truly heroic indeed which witnessed support and mutual sympathy from the Chinese and Indian people both in the fight for liberation and independence. Dr. Kotnis was an excellent Indian youth representative and proved to be a significant model for the youth in India as well as China.  He encouraged the youth and people to promote cooperation and friendship between the two countries. He has made a place in the hearts of people within both the countries. He is known well for his perseverance and dedication and has proved to be a perfect example of the collaboration and friendship between India and China. The Chinese people still revere him and have given him an important place in their hearts.


Dr.Kotnis suffered a lot of hardships as comforts were not available in the battlefields where he treated the wounded soldiers. At times he had to work continuously for 72 hours at a stretch. His hard work began taking a toll on his health and on 9th December, 1942 he suffered from epilepsy and died. He was buried in Nanquan Village at the Heroes Courtyard. There were rumors that he had joined China’s Communist Party before he died.