Australia Day Awards 2020: Dr Sadanand Limaye, OAM

Sadanand Limaye of Adelaide is honoured with the OAM for his service to medicine, and to the multicultural community.

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Australia Day Awards 2020: Dr Sadanand Limaye, OAM

“I am greatly honoured,” Dr Sadanand Limaye told Indian Link, full of humility. “I don’t know what I have done to be bestowed this great honour, but someone thought I was worthy of it, and I feel immensely honoured!”

A cardiologist and humanitarian, Dr Limaye is well-known in Adelaide’s Indian community, of which he has been a part since 1974.

He is just as well-regarded at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, which sponsored him when he first came out here, and where he continued to work until recently.

“It was where I became a cardiologist in 1979,” Dr Limaye recalled.

In 1985 Dr Limaye requested that he would like to work part-time at the hospital and start his private practice. They easily agreed and the practice that he started nearly 25 years ago as a one-man service, Northern Cardiology at Elizabeth Vale, had 16 cardiologists when he left. He only retired fully from his practice about 18 months ago at the age of 76.

Sadanand Limaye was born in Naldurg in Maharashtra. His father was a civil engineer and transferred from place to place quite regularly, so young Sadanand did not attend school until he was 10 years old.

“My dad taught me English and Maths at home and that was it!” Dr Limaye recounted, laughing. “When I was in Year 10, my father decided to settle down in Aurangabad. I finished school there and went on to study at the Government Medical College.”

In 1971 his wife Shobha (also a doctor) and he decided to go to UK. He did his MRCPA in London and the plan was to go to the US. However, he would have to start as an intern in the US and this did not appeal to them. Then, his neighbour, who was Australian, suggested Australia. “You land in the morning and you will have a job in the afternoon!”

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide sponsored him, and Dr Limaye says they arrived with 10 pounds in his pocket. “I was the 10-pound non-pom,” he laughed.

Dr Limaye retired from Queen Elizabeth Hospital several years ago, but still went as a volunteer and taught students, registrars and others, sharing his years of knowledge and experience. For 25 years he has been going to Port Pirie once a month to provide a cardiac service there. In his private practice he did not charge the gap and bulk-billed patients so that they wouldn’t be out of pocket.

Dr Sadanand Limaye was also the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by South Australian Indian Medical Association (SAIMA) in 2010. A great honour indeed to be recognised and feted by his peers.

Upon retirement, Dr Limaye has devoted his energies to community work and the study of Hindu philosophy and religion and the Sanskrit language as an auto-didact.

“There is so much to learn,” he mused, “especially Sanskrit grammar. And the scriptures.”

Today he conducts weekly classes at his home on the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita etc. He also performs pujas upon request. When Adelaide’s Ganesha Temple first started in 1985 and there was no regular priest, Dr Limaye was one of the people conducting the worship. He also solemnizes marriages. He has conducted more than 25 weddings of which 2 were in India, 2 in America and some interstate in Australia!

How does he find the energy and inspiration to do so much?

“My wife and I lead active lives,” he replied with a smile. “I have everything I want, no complaints!” he smiles.

He feels blessed. He recounted an incident when, as an 18 month old baby he had trachoma in his eyes and his parents thought that he might become blind. His mother took him to the Tulja Bhavani Temple in Tuljapur and prayed for his recovery. Soon thereafter, he was able to open his eyes, and, he says, he has not had to wear glasses until very recently. And even then, just for reading.

“I am happy. My name Sadanand means ‘happy forever’. And I am!” he laughed. “My greatest happiness is my family. My wife is always by my side.  Our two daughters Vidya and Sandhya have professionally done very well and this is a great satisfaction for us.”