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End of an era as a giant tree falls

Winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service as well as the Padma Shree, the Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan (only the Bharat Ratna is missing), Dr V. Shantha of the Cancer Institute, Chennai passed away early this morning. It is a sad moment for many. Dr Shanta provided so much inspiration and hope. She embodied selfless service – the kind you hardly see today.   I first met Dr Shanta many years ago at the Cancer Institute (the old building), to interview her for a column I was writing for The Indian Express. I would meet her quite a few times later over the years, including one in her modest home at the Cancer Institute itself. At that meeting, we spoke for more than an hour, and that was when she said she was keen to talk to journalists about various issues related to cancer. That helped the Press Institute of India (PII) organise three or four programmes with the Cancer Institute. She visited PII twice, and patiently answered all the questions the journalists had

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