VII: Resolution of Polarisation in Psychiatry (Concluded)

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Readers Respond


We present here the responses of two eminent psychiatrists of India. One from the North (Prof. N.N. Wig) and another from the South (Prof. A. Venkoba Rao) - eds.

Letter from the editor :

The Mensanamonographs would be keen to know your views on Suicide Prevention, to be shared with a larger audience, specially on the views of Durkheim, and Heyd and Bloch expressed on page 34 of the book Psychiatry, Science, Religion & Health (MSM Annual 2004) :

1) Whatever we do, the rate of suicide in a particular society will remain fairly constant. (Durkheim,1952).

2) Suicide is disturbingly ubiquitous and universal - across cultures and ages. Psychiatry does not seem (yet) to fare better than the more traditional, menacing attempts of moralists, theologians and legislatures at stopping people from killing themselves (Heyd and Bloch,1984).


It is indeed very kind of you to ask me to comment on the two points raised by you in your brilliant article on Suicide Prevention. I have read again your very wise and balanced comments on the two issues and I feel that I really may not have any thing new to say on the subject. You already seemed to have covered the ground very well and I agree with your analysis in this matter. Before I close, I would like to compliment you and Shakuntala Singh once again for bringing together six monographs in one book form. It is a very good idea. One can keep all the issues together along with some very thought provoking comments by readers.

Congratulations and best wishes.

Prof. N. N.Wig, Prof. Emeritus, PGIMER, Chandigarh


I am extremely thankful to you for having sent me a copy of “Psychiatry, Science, Religion and Health”. I very much appreciate your gesture and I do not have to tell you that the topic is of deep interest to me.

The articles in general are of high standard and are very readable. My wife and I were deeply touched by the moving account of Dr. L P Shah’s life, work and activities offered by his dear wife Mrs. Hema Shah. She stood by him as a pillar of physical and spiritual strength and assisted him in academic pursuits. They became role models for the younger generations of behavioural scientists. It is an old saying that “if one does not conquer ones disability, the disability will conquer him”. Dr. L P Shah exemplified the first part of this statement. My wife and I have been very close to the Shahs and we miss him.

There is a mention about the “suicide” of Jnaneswar and others. I have discussed about this in some of my publications and I am enclosing reprints of them for your information. The source of the material is an article by V D Sawarkar.

I must tell you that your monograph makes an enjoyable and informative reading and my personal congratulations to you on your achievement.

Thanking you and with regards.

Prof. A. Venkoba Rao, Prof. Emeritus, Madurai Medical College, Madurai




Mens Sana Monographs [MSM]: A Mens Sana Research Foundation Publication

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