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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 109
Professor Narendra Nath Wig MD FRCPsych DPM.(Lond)1930-2018

Consultant Psychiatrist, London

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication9-Jan-2019

How to cite this article:
Gaind R. Professor Narendra Nath Wig MD FRCPsych DPM.(Lond)1930-2018. Indian J Psychiatry 2019;61:109

How to cite this URL:
Gaind R. Professor Narendra Nath Wig MD FRCPsych DPM.(Lond)1930-2018. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Dec 9];61:109. Available from:

Naren was born in 1930 in Gujranwala, Punjab now in Pakistan. When I was researching my autobiography it was sheer serendipity to learn that our respective ancestors hailed from the same place, the birthplace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The family moved after Partition to Barielly.

His academic prowess was recognised early –while still at high school. He achieved a scholarship to King George Hospital Medical College, Lucknow, qualifying MBBS in1956, followed by an MD in Medicine two years later. Awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, it took him to the UK and US before returning to India in 1962 to set up the Department of Neuropsychiatry at KGMC Lucknow.

He married Veena the following year before moving to Chandigarh to start a Department of Psychiatry in The Postgraduate Medical Institute (PGI).

Soon after in 1972 he hosted the Silver Jubilee Conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society. He started the first Community Mental Health Programme at Raipur Rani and his department became a WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health. In 1980 he moved to AIIMS in Delhi before joining the WHO as Regional Advisor Mental Health at EMRO, Alexandria, Egypt. Naren retired from WHO in 1991, in the same year being the first Indian to be awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In 1997 he became Professor Emeritus at PGI Chandigarh.

Naren was a gentle man and a gentleman.I always found him to be soft hearted, mild mannered, calm and a moderate man. He was able, erudite and very knowledgeable. He is venerated by trainees and students not only as an able teacher and tutor but as a Guru who has educated them not only with facts and practice of clinical medicine but much more about life, lifestyle and life conduct. A Guru is more than a teacher. He teaches a specific type of knowledge which embraces being a counsellor, a parent of the self (soul and mind). He helps to mould our values and experiential knowledge. He reveals the meaning of life.

On his 70th birthday in 2000 his students published a book in his honour—“Mental Health in India 1950-2000”.

A renowned physician-cum-psychiatrist, it was Naren's work in community mental health services and for the W.H.O. which earned him national and international acclaim.

A WHO report of 1975 to which he contributed declared:

“That mental disorder causes severe disablement and incapacity in at least 10% of every population at some period in their lives….that the extent and severity tend to increase at times of rapid social and industrial change, as is occurring in many developing countries at the present time….the committee recommends decentralisation of Mental Health Services, integration of Mental Health Services with the general health service…”

This was a profound statement and resulted in equally profound changes in Mental Health care.

His research not only centred around Psychiatry and psychiatric matters but also in general medicine in such varied subjects as Pellagra and liver biopsy He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatry, a rare accolade.

Outside psychiatry he had many interests including reading poetry, especially Urdu poetry, particularly Ghalib. He equally enjoyed good music and was no mean ornithologist!

This modest man refused prestigious appointments but from the age of 60yrs devoted himself to charitable work, delivering free mental health care to the poorest of the poor in the villages and slums.

No-one left after meeting him untouched by his wisdom and humanity.

Naren was known for his sincerity, purposefulness in every thing he tackled, his loyalty, dedication, honesty and for ccc being forthright.

He and his wife Veena who predeceased him were a devoted couple, cherishing their two sons, Siddhartha and Anish, and the grandchildren.

He died on July 12 2018 and will be warmly remembered by his many friends. My own life has been richer for having known him and by enjoying his friendship.

” Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

(Rabindranath Tagore.)

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Raghunandan Gaind
Consultant Psychiatrist, London

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.249676

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