An inspiring story of a 2-time cancer survivor from Guwahati
GUWAHATI: Two-time cancer survivor, Minoti Barthakur, has dedicated her life to the cause of cancer cure. This is her twenty fifth year of fighting malignant lymphoma after doctors had declared way back in 1994 that she wouldn't survive for more than a year. Her story is inspiring.
Minoti, 72, is an accomplished academician who had served as professor of Cotton College for over 30 years. She joined the college as an associate professor and retired after serving as the head of the Philosophy department for 15 years.
Born in Nagaon to Mukshada and Bhumidev Goswami, Minoti did her schooling from various places due to the transferable nature of her father’s government job in the tax department. She completed her graduation with Philosophy Major from Darrang College but was unable to study further as she was married off at 19 years of age to Nikunja Behari Barthakur, a highly learned man who served as the commissioner secretary to the government of Assam.
In April 1994, Minoti Barthakur was diagnosed with an advanced and stage of cancer. For the next one and a half years, her life revolved around the disease. Friends, family and students started visiting her place to offer prayers and Minoti kept praying to the Almighty to let her live for a little while longer, so she could marry off her daughter. She indulged herself in meditation, yoga and pranayama. She spent her days and nights reading a large number of books and research works on cancer, written by various specialists as well as survivors. The journey was tiresome, but she was able to fight the disease with the immense support of her husband, daughter and other family members.
“The day I was detected with cancer, I asked God for 10 more years on earth with a promise that I would work for the welfare of cancer patients. God not only answered my prayers, but granted me several years more,” Minoti told G Plus.
In January 2000, Minoti started offering her honorary service to the Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati.
There, she provides counselling to cancer patients and encourages them to fight the disease. She's also providing free counselling at the Northeast Cancer Hospital, Guwahati and has travelled across the globe to create awareness about cancer - its cause and prevention. Apart from interacting with cancer patients and providing guidance to students for being successful in life, Minoti has been invited to deliver lectures at various hospitals in and around the country like Mahakali Cancer Hospital in Dhaka, National Cancer Hospital in Sri Lanka and Indira Gandhi Memorial National Hospital in Maldives.
However, the disease knocked on her door for a second time in 2009. This time, her husband who was on a tour, could not withstand the news and suffered a fatal heart attack. Minoti spent three years in and out of hospital for surgeries, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She was left all alone to fight the odds, but she kept a positive mindset and once again fought the disease with immense grit and courage.
“Back when I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, the treatment was very rough. I had a very tough time undergoing treatment. However, the scenario has changed drastically over the years and there’s been tremendous development in the field of medicine,” Minoti expressed.
Minoti decided to tell her extraordinary triumph of recovery through positive energy and self-healing along with a healthy lifestyle by penning down her thoughts. So far, she has authored five books, three of which have been published and translated into multiple languages like Hindi, Bengali and Bodo. Her first book ‘Mor Axukhar Abasar’ was dedicated to all the cancer patients and gained massive popularity. Her second and third published books are ‘The Hardworking Nyishi Women of Arunachal Pradesh’ and ‘Kalija Kaite Bindhile Ji Soraye Gan Gai’ respectively. Currently, Minoti is engaged in finalising the publisher for her next book ‘The Concept of Meditation and its Application to the Younger Generation’. She’s also working on a compilation of her short stories to be published soon.
For her selfless services, Minoti has been awarded/honoured by many government and private organisations. She is a recipient of Rotary International’s highest honour ‘The Service above Self Award’, Dr. Batra’s ‘Positive Health Award’ and NE TV ‘Woman of the Year Award’ to name a few. She has also been awarded by the government of Nagaland for her dedicated service to the cancer patients of northeast India.
Minoti runs a free counselling and meditation centre for the cancer patients apart from students and other people at her residence in Beltola where she only sees one patient per day. In her sessions, she teaches the patients to relax their mind and soul and keep a positive attitude. “If you have a strong mind and determination, you can achieve anything. So, let go off the negative thoughts and allow the natural state of health to do the healing,” Minoti says.