PK Warrier: A doctor of masses, teacher of doctors and disciple of ideals

Express News Service | Published: 11th July 2021 05:48 AM
Panniyampilly Krishnankuty Warrier 5 June 1921  - 10 July 2021

MALAPPURAM: Future generations will hail Dr PK Warrier as the renaissance leader of Ayurveda. Through his openness to learn and humility to accept ideas, he helped the ancient medical system reinvent itself in accordance with the changing times. Warrier, medical director and managing trustee of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, passed away on Saturday afternoon at the age of 100.

Besides modernising Ayurveda, Warrier encouraged research and took special care to preserve rare medicinal plants. A five-volume text on Ayurveda treatment published under his initiative is a ready reckoner on the treatment system at the international level. He embraced all systems of medicines with enthusiasm and was always willing to pick up treatment methods from other systems like Naturopathy and Yoga. He welcomed blending of treatment methods from different streams to deal with critical cases. 

Warrier used to tell his colleagues how they needed to use modern investigation methods like scanning and ECG to precisely learn about the issues of patients. In the charitable hospital at Kottakkal run by Arya Vaidya Sala (AVS), treatment in modern medicine is also provided free of cost to poor patients along with Ayurveda treatment.

Under the supervision of Warrier, AVS intensified machine-supported drug manufacturing decades ago. Kashayams, which were prepared in steam plants till then, soon took a more convenient avatar of tablets. Bhasmam (powder containing metals) was packed into capsules while gel tubes replaced several of the Kuzhambu (thick viscous oil) preparations. In a recent interview, Warrier said time was testing Ayurveda and he was sad that Ayurveda had been struggling to stay ahead of the times. 

As a child, Warrier wanted to be an engineer. Despite his success, he remained down to earth

“P K Warrier promoted the scientific features of Ayurveda,” said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his condolence message. He practised Ayurveda in his life in the same way he preached the system. Warrier’s day started at 4.30am with yoga, meditation and prayer at Viswambhara temple. He used to be at his consulting room at sharp 8am and saw patients till noon. Afternoons were dedicated to office work. He used to retire for sleep at 9.30pm after an hour-long walk. As a principle, Warrier never accepted consultation fee from patients who ranged from the heads of nations to the poor labourers from the neighbourhood. Warrier used to spend more time listening to his patients than diagnosing the disease. 

“For effective treatment, a doctor should possess logical sense along with scientific knowledge. Logical sense is like the manodharmam (instinctive improvisation) in Kathakali. It needs to dawn upon you at the right moment,” Warrier wrote in his autobiography, Smriti Parvam.A strict vegetarian, Warrier used to take only two meals a day. Punctuality was another virtue which had been part of his life. Even during travels, he refused to compromise on routine. Doctors at Kottakkal testify that the veteran didn’t suffer from any lifestyle disease till his final days. It was on June 8 this year that Warrier celebrated 100th birthday (as per Malayalam almanac).

During the 67 years that he helmed the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, the institution grew from a `10-lakh turnover entity to one with Rs 400 crore turnover. The AVS issued franchisees far and wide and almost all villages of Kerala have a branch of AVS today. A proper logistics system was also developed so that medicines reached all outlets on time. “Arya Vaidya Sala flourished because of Ayurveda and Ayurveda flourished because of Arya Vaidya Sala,” Warrier wrote in Smriti Parvam, acknowledging the win-win formula he devised.

As a child, Warrier wanted to be an engineer. He joined the Ayurveda course as per his family’s wish. It was Communist icon E M S Namboodiripad who advised Warrier to stick to Ayurveda. But, the young Warrier was attracted by the independence movement and left home and studies to be active in politics. The fire in him took him to the Communist camp in Manjeri where he had worked as a courier passing messages to Communist leaders who had been working underground. After three years, he returned to Kottakkal and completed Ayurveda education. Despite his success, Warrier remained down to earth and said he was only a guard who protected the giant tree planted by his uncle and watered by his brother.

Tags : vKottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala Dr PK Warrier

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