Indian doctor warned Hugo Chavez of cancer in 2006

Seven years ago, an Indian doctor held in high regard in Venezuela had warned Hugo Chavez that he may develop cancer.

Updated: Mar 08, 2013, 12:37 PM IST

Managalore: Seven years ago, an Indian doctor held in high regard in Venezuela had warned Hugo Chavez, the charismatic leader of the south American nation, that he may develop cancer.

The late Dr Pallathadka Keshava Bhat, who popularised the use of herbal and natural medicine in Venezuela, treated many heads of state of the oil-rich country for cancer, curing one of its leading politicians of the dreaded disease, his son Kumar Prasad Bhat said in Mangalore.

Dr Bhat, who died in 2010, was an expert on herbs and a naturalist and had achieved success in treating cancers through extracts of plants found in Dakshina Kannada. His work did not bring him any recognition in his country, but half a globe away, it was Venezuela that welcomed him, recalls Kumar Bhat.

Dr Bhat is today revered and admired not just by his patients in that country but also many top people in the government including the late Chavez. In many houses in Venezuela and in offices of hospitals, Dr Bhat`s photo is displayed and documents of his research are archived in Venezuela, his son says.

“My father treated many heads of the states of Venezuela, including presidential candidate Salome Mesa Espinoza, for prostate cancer. Espinoza went on to write a book on my father titled ‘Cartos Para Carlos’ which went into its tenth reprint two years ago," says Kumar Bhat.

“I remember an expert panel of the government of Venezuela had taken my father on a copter and showed a vast piece of land in Orinoco region in South Venezuela for developing a Indian vegetation medicine centre. After plotting the co-ordinates of the land, my father identified 300 acres of land which had six waterfalls, but the government wanted to bring up the centre in a big way so they included another 600 acres around the plot and put my father in charge of the centre,” Kumar Bhat recalls.

Years after when Kumar Bhat revisited the centre now taken of by the Venezuelan government, he found that it had come up fully and an entire community of eco-farmers, herbal growers and many other enthusiasts had joined the movement his father created.

Dr Bhat was consulted by President Chavez often for health problems as well as the government`s health policies.

"I remember my father asking Chavez to take care against cancer as early as 2006, but I do not think he treated Chavez for cancer as he was diagnosed to have cancer only recently and my father died in 2010. But Espinoza surely was cured as per the records maintained by my father,” Kumar said.

As a tribute to Dr Bhat, his family comprising three daughters, son and son-in-law have started a centre on the lines of his recommendations to certain incurable maladies. One of his patients late Parashuram got nearly four years of extra life by using medicine developed by the late doctor.

The family also has started a concept shop of organically grown veggies fruits and chemicals and additive-free goods including jaggery, sugar, salt, home-pounded rice, ghee produced from the milk of cows fed organically grown fodder.

M Raghuram/DNA