Let us begin on a very light note. Someone asked M L Saraf to write down the numbers from 1 to 10. He could not go beyond the number 1. This is because he did not know what it were to be number 2. Jokes apart, Dr. M L Saraf had an extremely brilliant academic career where he stood first in every competitive examination he participated in his life.
This was fine as long as he was in India. He stood first in his matriculation and higher secondary examinations. He attained the pinnacle position in his graduate examinations for MBBS. His exploits did not end here. He went to Liverpool University to study advanced orthopedics. He stood first there as well. He was the first Indian to receive the Normal Roberts Prize and gold medal for his paper on pediatric orthopedics. In short, he has never come second anywhere in life.
Normally, you expect such persons to become conceited because of their strong academic achievements. Dr. M L Saraf was of a different breed altogether. He was humble to the core and began serving people in his alma mater, KEM Hospital. He had seen the plight of the poor when he was an intern at the same hospital. This moved him a lot and made him decide to serve the poor by taking his medical services to their doorstep.
He made it a point to visit the villages on the outskirts of Mumbai and treat the children for free. He also arranged for the calipers for children afflicted with polio. It is very difficult to find such a person like M L Saraf. A world famous surgeon spending time in the villages and treating people free of cost was something new. This made many of his rich friends and patients to help him in his philanthropic endeavor by donating money for his trips, medicines, and calipers, etc. Thus, they played a great role in the uplifting of medical facilities for the poor.
As explained earlier, he loved to teach orthopedics to students. In fact, he is considered as one of the leading orthopedic surgeons in India. This explains why the Government of India chose him to be the head of the medical team attending to the US President Bill Clinton when he visited Mumbai. This is a great honor to have. In addition, he has also operated on Dr. Hamid Karzai, the Premier of Afghanistan. Nearer home, he has operated on the former Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh as well. He has the distinction of being the adviser to Dr. Ranawat while he operated on the former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
These are fantastic credentials by any standards. In addition, he has treated a lot of high profile celebrities like Shankarrao Chavan, Dilip Kumar, etc. However, treating the poor children of the villages brought him greater joy than treating these celebrities. This is the greatness of the orthopedic surgeon par excellence, Dr. M L Saraf.