The growth of Shillong as a metropolitan centre with thriving educational, administrative as well as military affairs can be traced to the arrival of the British to the Khasi and Jaintia Hills in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The freedom of India in 1947 drove the British away from Indian soil but the remnants of what once was still remain to this day in the form of heritage structures.
In this episode of Shillong’s Iconic Structures, let us take you on a trip down memory lane as we encapsulate the history of one of India’s oldest military hospitals in the country – the Military Hospital Shillong, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
Hidden from public scrutiny, this decade-old hospital is located amid the busy Shillong-Guwahati Highway in the Cantonment area of the city. The hospital is spread across 7 acres of land and it comprises three blocks – the Upper and Lower Blocks on the main campus and the Administrative Block located on the other side of the road.
It is a 247-bedded hospital and is the only Army medical unit in Meghalaya. The hospital has all of the basic specialities, which include Medical-Surgical, Dermatology Centre, Eye Centre, ENT Centre, Gynaecology & Obstetrics, Paediatric Centre, Radiology, Pathology and also a Physiotherapy unit.
The Military Hospital Shillong, formerly a Regimental Hospital, was established in 1897 after the great earthquake that struck the region on June 12, 1897. It had a total strength of 50 beds and consisted of the Common Ward, Medical Inspection (MI) Room and Family Ward.
During World War II, it was the largest hospital East of Calcutta (now Kolkata) as it attended to the sick and injured from the whole of the Eastern Front.
The Hospital has been visited by most of the Viceroys starting from 1920 onwards and by Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Watch the full version of the story only on our YouTube channel @TheShillongTimes.