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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Ayurveda doyen, Dr PK Warrier played key role in its renaissance, modernisation

Dr PK Warrier was the chief physician and managing trustee of the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, one of the leading Ayurvedic healthcare chains in the country.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: July 11, 2021 5:37:56 am
Dr P K Warrier. (Photo: Facebook@ Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala)

Dr Panayambally Krishnakutty Warrier, doyen of ayurveda medicine and managing trustee of Vaidyaratnam P S Varier’s Arya Vaidya Sala, died at his headquarters at Kottakkal in Malappuram on Saturday. The physician of international repute had turned 100 last month and was recovering after a coronavirus infection.

In his nearly seven-decade career, Warrier set a benchmark for the Indian traditional healing system and played a pivotal role for the renaissance of ayurveda. With Warrier at the helm, the Vaidya Sala grew into a premier centre of ayurvedic medicine, converting traditional healing into modern, classical therapy.

As a physician, Warrier never accepted consultation fees — from rich patients or poor.

After schooling, Warrier wanted to pursue engineering education, but the family wanted him to learn ayurveda. In 1942, Warrier took a break from ayurveda learning and joined the Quit India Movement, leaning towards the Communist Movement. However, he returned to the world of medicine.

Joining as a factory manager in 1947 at the centre, which had been founded by his nephew P S Varier in 1902, Warrier became the chief physician and the managing trustee in 1953 following the death of his elder brother P M Varier in an air crash.One year later, he opened a nursing home and started Panchakarma and other Kerala special therapies. That care centre, the first of such facilities in the traditional healing system, later grew into a leading research centre. In 1970, then Indian President V V Giri flew to Kottakkal village to get ayurvedic treatment under Warrier, bringing national attention to the traditional method.

In the later decades, Warrier also modernised drug manufacturing, adopted scientific methods in prescription and treatment, promoted cultivation of medicinal plants to ensure steady supply of herbs, started research and launched a publication division to popularise the traditional stream of medicine.

An ace orator and author of several works, Warrier had travelled across the world as a proponent of the Indian traditional healing system, which he had modernised. In 2018, Warrier started a clinical research centre at the Vaidya Sala to equip ayurveda to confront future healthcare challenges.

Over the last five decades, Warrier had been active in the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (a people’s science movement), state library council and temple protection committee. He received the Padma Shri and Padmabhushan, and several varsities gave him doctoral degrees.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Saddened by the passing away of Dr. PK Warrier. His contributions to popularise Ayurveda will always be remembered. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti.”

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said Warrier was committed to the scientific pursuit of ayurveda and will be remembered for “matchless contribution” to the modernisation of ayurveda.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Dr Warrier convinced the world about the scientific approach of ayurveda.

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