Downpatrick man cares for thousands in India

Downpatrick man cares for thousands in India

6 February 2019

A DOWNPATRICK chiropractor is back at home after providing much-needed care and treatment to poor and sick people in India.

Dr Brian McElroy joined 60 other chiropractors from across Europe at a Hindu festival in Mumbai.

During the trip, which was organised by Nirankari Mission and the Indian Association of Chiropractic Care, he treated literally thousands of people who had been selected from a staggering crowd of 1.5 million.

Brian, who is the owner of Premier Chiropractic Centre in St Patrick’s Avenue, is husband to Ciara and father to Christopher, Aaron, Niamh and Ryan.

He says it was a privilege to serve and look after people of every class and creed who needed him.

He said: “On the first day I was met by a mother and her 13 month-old son. He was very sickly looking, grey in colour and his eyes were rolling in his head.

“Sometimes, all these people need is some simple medical attention. This little boy suffered from some kind of trauma at birth and needed a simple re-alignment to ease pressure of a nerve.

“The brain generates electricity and usually the charge goes right the way through the body uninterrupted. When things go wrong it’s not that the charge isn’t there. It’s like a dimmer switch. On occasion the charge can just become interrupted or blocked.”

Brian added: “When I met with the child on the last day of the festival he was giggling and cooing. His eye co-ordination had improved and his mother was overwhelmed with the change in him.

“I felt so privileged to be able to help people like this. As you can imagine these people travelled from all over India to participate in the festival and stand and wait, hour after hour before they could be seen.

As Brian continues to share his experience of this life-changing adventure it is evident he is describing a culture and a way of life quite far removed from our own.

He said: “Every one of them was patient, tolerant and respectful of each other as they stood in 35-degree heat. I found it quite humbling. After I treated each one they were so thankful they fell on their knees to kiss my feet. All I could do was to reciprocate their gesture and bow before them touching their feet. 

“I have certainly brought back with me a new appreciation for the relative affluence we enjoy in the West. We live like kings compared to these people and we still find something to grumble and complain about.

“Everyone is equal in the authentic sense of the word and it is very humbling to encounter. Everyone treats each other as their brother and sister. They seem to have rid themselves of hatred and anger despite the overwhelming hardship. Socially, they are years ahead of us in many ways. Their children are the gold standard.”

Brian continued: “One hundred and twenty thousand volunteers all worked for free to cook and clean up after them all. I never saw organisation like it. 

“There were four canteens dotted throughout the encampment. Within each canteen there were women who tended huge big industrial pots, eight feet in diameter, cooking rice. All the food was vegetarian.

“I ate the food too and never got the infamous ‘Delhi Belly’ that is talked about. It agreed with me very well indeed. The dishes were washed in what looked like a sheep dip, where all the crockery was hosed down before being moved into another dip to be washed.”

In the evening the chiropractors were invited to attend the religious festivities.

Brian said: “We were given an enclosure right at the front and we were able to listen to different speakers and their guru address the crowd.

“The guru thanked us for giving up our time and offering our help. It was very touching. At night the people slept where ever they could find space.”

Now back in Downpatrick, Brian says a part of India will stay with him forever. 

He added: “I would go back in a heartbeat.”