Around seven decades back, he wanted to study medicine in King Edward’s College at Lahore. But the dream was lost in Partition.Perhaps that city paid eminent psychiatrist Dr NN Wig his due a decade back by naming occupational centre at Lahore’s Fountain House Psychiatric Centre’s after him.
Last week, the “Professor NN Wig Occupational Therapy Unit” celebrated ten years of its inception.The honour came to Dr Wig (84) — who served as head,psychiatry department at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh and AIIIMS, Delhi– for developing Pakistan‘s national mental health programme. He developed national mental health programme in 22 countries in South Asia and Latin America, while working with World Health Organisation.
“Oh,you remember that! I had forgotten that it has completed ten years,”laughs Dr Wig. This honour, is special for him as it comes from the land on the streets of which as a young child, eight decades back,he would put both ends of an iron clasp of a broken cycle carrier in his ears and say, “I am a doctor”, “I am a doctor”, he recalled in his memoirs. Back then nobody had even dreamed that one day the young boy would become an iconic psychiatrist and earn the
rare honour of the Lahore’s Fountain House Psychiatric Centre’s being
named after him.
When Dr Wig chosen psychiatry as a profession over medicine, when the discipline was not known beyond madness. It is often said that it is Dr Wig’s contribution that it psychiatry traveled its journey from madness to mental health. He inspired even some of the brightest postgraduate medical students at the PGIMER to leave a dream seat in MD medicine for MD psychiatry.
The centre was inaugurated on September 14, 2004.Two of Dr Wig’s students Dr P Kulhara,a former head of psychiatry at PGIMER and Dr Ajit Avasthi, professor, psychiatry, PGIMER also visited the centre .when it was inaugurated says, Fountain House Psychiatric Centre,since its inception in 1971, is known for providing state of the art psycho-social rehabilitation facilities to psychiatric patients from across the Pakistan.”The centre has completed an important mile stone and it has served a large number of people in Pakistan.It is an honour which has rarely been given by any Pakistani institution to any other Indian scientist or doctor,” said Dr Avasthi.