The Psychiatrist of The Sane

I met Dr. Anand Nadkarni at his residence when Dr. Anil Awchat visited his place and invited me to meet him there. It was a Sunday; Dr. Anil Awchat [he prefers to be called ‘Baba’] and Dr. Anand Nadkarni were in a relaxing at home. Baba showed us some of his new paintings, almost two dozen of them made using oil pastels, while Anand took care of the ‘guests.’ That was my first meeting with Anand. I remember it because both of them made me feel as if they knew me for a long time and I was no stranger.

I had earlier seen Anand in action at ‘Vedh’ the annual event and program that he is running for several years. ‘Vedh’ program in that year stood out because he spoke on REBT [Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy] and some 3000 persons attended it. In the lectures that he gave over three days he elaborated the subject, drawing freely from the old Marathi literature of saints and other enlightened persons. The program was a runaway success.

Today at the 20th anniversary of IPH [Institute for Psychological Health], the institution he established at Thane, Anand told us the story behind the Vedh program. In a previous fund raising program the expenses exceeded the income. Anand was abused and insulted. He decided that he will not depend on others to raise funds for him and will be self reliant. Vedh program fulfilled his wish. Anand had turned anger and frustration in to a creative and positive force that only befits his profession.

It all began as he enrolled for psychiatry at Mumbai’s KEM Hospital and his teacher took him to meet a nine year old girl suffering from juvenile diabetes who was also uncontrollable at times. Anand realised the importance of mental health then and wrote, in his diary, a long note on what he would like to do for creating awareness of mental health issues. A decade later he set course to make his dream come true.

Institute of Psychological health is today an institution of which the city [Thane] is proud of. Anand has won several accolades in this journey but that has not created a distance between him and the common man. Today the institute completes twenty years of its existence. It is now known internationally. They have done outstanding work for society at all levels, family, social groups and academics. IPH has done outstanding work in the field of drug de-addiction and treatment of schizophrenia.

In the program at Gadkari Rangayatan, the team of IPH was interviewed by Mangala Khadilkar and then Achut Godbole interviewed Anand Nadkarni. The program was imaginatively arranged and saw publications of several books and Albums. Anand is too humble a person to flaunt his achievements – he is an author of several books, a sought after speaker, a researcher, a playwright, a psychiatrist, a social worker, a table player, a poet, a music director, an authority on schizophrenia …… the list is long.

His latest book is titled ‘Shahanyancha Psychiatrist’ [Psychiatrist of the Sane]. This is continuation of his efforts to de-stigmatise mental health. He says ‘Sane people need to remain sane, those with mental health issues need to become sane, those who are sane must prevent themselves from thinking too much of themselves, and we must recognise that this must happen all the time! That is why we need institutes like IPH.’

How does he pack so much of work in twenty-four hours? That’s a mystery. At the lunch that followed after the 20th anniversary program, he reminded me that we have to work on a project together. That’s it. They are driven by passion all the time!