Bengaluru: Dr R Marthanda Varma, the founder director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) which is Asia’s best and one among the leading mental health and neurological sciences teaching hospitals in the world, passed away at Ramaiah Hospital here owing to age-related ailments. He was 93.
A Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Neurosurgery from Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Dr. Varma was one among the first five neurosurgeons of India. Returning to India after his FRCS he took up position as the Head of the Department of Neurosurgery at the All India Institute of Mental Health (AIIMH), Bangalore, in 1958.
Marthanda Varma, a member of Mavelikkara royal family, had also served as the Director General of Health Services. In recognition of his services, the nation had honoured him with Padma Shri in 1970. His other honours include-the Karnataka State Award on Rajyotsava Day in 1969, Citizen Extraordinary of Bangalore Award in 1967, Distinguished Achievement Award at the World Congress of IASSMD at Toronto in 1982 and the Sir Viswesaraya Award in 1998.
A brilliant surgeon, Dr.Varma was actively involved in research too. As an outcome of his extensive research into the neurological processes he was able to develop a technique for the control of Parkinson’s disease. The technique was named `Varma’s Technique.’ Non-invasive, inexpensive and without even requiring an operation theatre this technique has proved to be a boon to those hit by this disease, who would otherwise have been severely restricted by rigidity of limbs, tremors, slowness of motion and instability.
Dr. Varma was a gifted surgeon, relentless researcher, teacher par excellence, exceptional organizer, able and proven administrator, a practical visionary, an adventurer courageous, philosopher, artist, a giant among men and above all a self-effacing, genuinely caring human being. Dr. Varma was all this and more. He best symbolized the concept of the ideal man who always aspires to better the lot of others without consideration to self.
He is survived by wife Dr Malathi Varma and sons Ravi Gopal Varma and Sasi Gopal Varma.