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)
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.
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