Raminder Pal Singh


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American Prefers Indian Roadside Dentist

He has set up his "clinic" under a tree, on a very busy roadside and often you could see his patients asking him to fill up quickly as they do not want to miss their next bus, passing nearby, to their village back home.

Baba Gurdeep Singh is a self-styled dentist and he has learned this 'dentistry' from his father, as he told me. Even most of the best dental surgeons in Amritsar, he says are minting money and not treating the patients as they should.

He was reluctant to start with as he doubted that I could use these pictures to show his "illegal" clinic, which in turn could mean an end to it. I am the one who does not dive in straightaway and starts taking pictures. I was calm and genuinely wanted to know about this curious "clinic" of his. I talked to him and after about half an hour or so he added that whatever someone does, he does it for himself. If you do bad, the bad will happen to you and if you are good to others then only good happens with you. He was indirectly telling this to me and I am also a believer of this philosophy of his.

I talked to his "patients" as well and they all seemed to be highly satisfied with Baba's treatment. One of them said that he and his family were visiting Baba Gurdeep Singh since many years, to get cured by him of any dental problems they had.

Most of his patients are from villages and a few and regular ones are from Amritsar city and from nearby areas as well. "Low fee which he charges and good treatment, both make him the excellent dental doctor", said one of his patients.

Baba Gurdeep Singh said that he charges his patients nominally. Some, he says, tell them that they do not have money and would give him the fee on their next visit and he says he lets them go. Most of them pay back in some time. He says, "Even if someone does not have money and is very poor, I tell them not to worry after treatment and ask them to give me the fee whenever they have or even if they can't, its alright," says the roadside dental "expert."

Eventually, I did that photo feature on roadside dentist, Baba Gurdeep Singh.

The interesting thing that I came across was on NBC News Photoblog which featured this photo feature of mine, titled, "Roadside dentist carves dentures to order in India." They published a few pictures in this article along with the text. In comments section, below that blog post, I was going through some comments to see people's reaction to this story when I came across a little story shared by an American reader Warren S. Levine there. I was surprised to read what he had put in comments section there! He said, "I'd rather have Gurdeep Singh work on my teeth than the "licensed and accredited" American-"educate son-of-a-bitch &%#$ who almost killed me." He had written there, how he almost lost his life when he underwent a dental surgery. You can read that comment and his full stroy on NBC News Photoblog on Indian Roadside Dentist.

Here is a video I did on that roadside dentist, for EFE, a Spanish international news agency who are the video partners for European Pressphoto Agency, the agency I work for.

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