Insights: Gently Shaking the World

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I met an incredible man named Dr. Rajagopal at a screening of a film called “Hippocratic,” which told the story of Dr. Rajagopal’s life.

So what is so special about this doctor from India?

Gandhi: “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

Dr. Rajagopal grew up as a shy child not imagining he could become a doctor.  However, through his life experiences he became not just a doctor, but also an activist for the poor, palliative care, and bringing back the idea of whole person care and pain management.

Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

India’s population makes up one sixth of the world’s population. Therefore, Dr. Rajagopal had a large job ahead of him. He was determined to bring back caring and treating the whole person in his medical profession. This is difficult to do when there are so many people needing medical care in India and with minimal resources.

Yet, somehow, Dr. Rajagopal was able to fight for human rights, social justice and ensuring people have the chance to die with dignity.

Gandhi: “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”

Dr. Rajagopal came to his work through a lot of pain in his own life. Most people would have succumbed to their pain and suffering, while Dr. Rajagopal pulled on all he could and has made an incredible difference in the world. Due to his work Rajagopal has been considered for a 2018 Noble Peace Prize.

Gandhi: “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.”

Dr. Rajagopal made a decision to live by the words of Gandhi. He picked eighteen quotes that spoke to him and used them to make a difference in the world.

Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

We can all make a difference with people, with the world, just by caring, showing compassion, empathy. Imagine if we showed all people this type of compassion and caring?

Often we are too quick to dismiss others or what is going on around us.  It is easy to live with defenses with all we have to keep up with in life. Even when we have a lot to manage, simply take a breath, smile at people, look them in the eye, ask them about themselves.

“If they find you to be a human being, and not just a white-coated machine, then they react to us with smiles, maybe with jokes. That’s happiness, that transformation of people. Then you see such amazing strength in people, patients and family members,” said Dr. Rajagopal.

We have so much ability to make a difference, and that is being congruent in who you are in the world.

Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

We do not need to be Gandhi or Dr. Rajagopal, but we can choose how we want to be in the world. What story do you want people to tell about you?

I want to know that I made a difference, that I truly have impacted people in a good way.

Gandhi: “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

I encourage you to see “Hippocratic.” It will impact you and perhaps lead you to shake the world.


Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected].

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