By Ram Khatry, Sydney
3 June 2017
Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Dr Sanduk Ruit has been nominated to be one of hundred greatest innovators, artists, scientists and visionaries of the contemporary world who will contribute to a book celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
Titled Genius: 100 Visions of the Future, it will be the first 3D-printed book of the world, a post on the website of Albert Einstein Foundation claims.
The Canada-based Foundation reportedly contacted Mr Ruit last month asking if the latter would be willing to contribute a 250-word essay to be included in the collection of game-changing thoughts.
Name of the renowned Nepalese ophthalmologist, who once worked closely with Australian icon Fred Hollows, does not yet appear in the website of the Foundation but The Himalayan Times reported today that the Canadian organisation contacted Dr Ruit on May 28 to seek his participation.
Other contributors to Genius: 100 Visions of the Future are astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station Colonel Chris Hadfield, award-winning singer and Hollywood personality Barbara Streisand and best-selling author Deepak Chopra.
“It’s the creation of world renowned designer Ron Arad, formed in the likeness of Einstein himself in a 3D limited edition book for the ages,” says the Toronto organisation.
Born in 1955, Dr Ruit works off Kathmandu’s Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology and is known for what he and his team achieved for cataract patients not only in Nepal but across many other Third World countries. It was due to his leadership that the cost of intraocular lenses came down from US$100 to less than US$3.5 making small incision cataract surgery affordable to them.
In 2015, New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof penned an article about Dr Ruit, aptly titled “In 5 Minutes, He Lets the Blind See”.
What Mr Kristof had to say about Dr Ruit sums up the humble doctor and his work over the last three decades:
WATCHING the doctor perform is like observing miracles.
He has restored eyesight to more than 100,000 people, perhaps more than any doctor in history, and still his patients come. They stagger and grope their way to him along mountain trails from remote villages, hoping to go under his scalpel and see loved ones again.
A day after he operates to remove cataracts, he pulls off the bandages — and, lo! They can see clearly. At first tentatively, then jubilantly, they gaze about. A few hours later, they walk home, radiating an ineffable bliss.