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Father of psychiatry Dr NN Wig passes away

Dr Wig founded PGI’s psychiatry department in 1963.

punjab Updated: Jul 13, 2018 12:08 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindudtan Times, Chandigarh
Dr NN Wig,Father of psychiatry,psychiatry
Dr NN Wig

Father of psychiatry Dr NN Wig is no more. The doctor, who found the psychiatry department, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in 1963, died on Thursday night in the institute.

Dr NN Wig, 88, was unwell since November 2017, after he suffered a mild cardiac arrest. “His health started deteriorating after November . He used to love working and even in this age, he used to work for three days at the CMC hospital and would run his charity clinic for two days,” said Anant Mann, daughter-in-law of Dr Wig.

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She said, “In February, he realised that he cannot go back to work because of ailing health and this thought had a bearing on his health. His health never improved after that.” “On Sunday, he was admitted to the Advanced Cardiac Centre, PGIMER,” Anant Mann said. “The cremation is on Saturday at cremation ground, Sector 25. Most likely, the timing will be around 2pm,” said a family member.

He is survived by two sons –Siddhartha Wig, who is an architect and used to stay in Panchkula with Dr NN Wig and Anish Wig, who stays in Switzerland.

About Dr Wig

Dr NN Wig, who founded PGI’s psychiatry department in 1963, has served at AIIMS and WHO besides dedicating his entire life towards creating awareness among people towards mental illness.

Dr Wig completed his MBBS from KG Medical College, Lucknow in 1953 and MD Medicine from Lucknow University in 1957. He pursued his interest by training at the All India Institute of Mental Health (now NIMHANS), Bangalore. On his return, he joined the Medical College at Lucknow as a lecturer in neuropsychiatry. It is here that he started the first general hospital psychiatry unit in India.

Dr Wig joined the PGIMER in 1963 and headed the department till 1980.Calling him a living legend of Indian psychiatry, Dr Ajit Avasthi, head of department of psychiatry at PGIMER, said, “The department owes its existence to Dr Wig. His vision continues to guide staff and students.” Dr Wig continued to be associated with the department as one of its emeritus professors till July 12.

‘A Godfather for us’

Dr NN Wig is remembered by most of his students as a godfather. Dr Adarsh Kohli, professor in the psychiatry department recalls, “When I joined PGIMER in 1979, he was the head of the department. He was very particular about good academics, good handwriting and communication skills.”

“He would teach medical and non-medical staff at par. Always believed in team work and treated every member of the team with importance and respect. He was a godfather for us and treated the department like his family,” Dr Adarsh Kohli said. “There is nobody who has reached that stature,” she added.

Free clinic for poor

It was Dr NN Wig’s dream to provide free and dignified mental health services to the poor. Post retirement, Dr NN Wig, ran a free mental health clinic at Lajpat Rai Bhawan for over 20 years, and treated over 30,000 patients with mental health problems.

“He did not was his services should to be confined only those who can pay, but for all sections of society. He used to love serving people,” said a family member.

First Published: Jul 13, 2018 11:43 IST