By Harihar Swarup
Rare are the people like P K Warrier, who have seen so many facet of life, achieved so much in life and lived over 100 years. He popularized Ayurveda, died in Kerala’s Kottayam a month after celebrating his 100th birthday on June 8. Decorated with India’s third and fourth highest civilian awards Padma Bhushan in 2010 and Padma Shri earlier, Warrier was a freedom fighter. He was a connoisseur of arts, an author and a teacher.
Warrier was a doyen of ayurveda and managing trustee of Arya Vaidya Sala. A physician of international repute, he never accepted consultation fee—from rich patients or poor. In his seven- decade long career, Warrier set a benchmark in the Indian traditional healing system and played a pivotal role for the renaissance of Ayuverda. With Warrier at helm, Vaidya Sala grew into a premier centre of Ayurvedic medicine, converting traditional healing into modern, classical therapy.
When he took over, the firm’s turnover was Rs. 9 lakhs. It is now over Rs.500 crores and the firm has branches in almost all major cities of India. The firm runs five major hospitals, and an R&D centre, two medicine factories, 1500 retail outlets and two herbal gardens.
After schooling, Warrier wanted to pursue engineering education, but the family wanted him to learn Ayurverda. In 1942 he took a break from Ayuverda, joining the Quit India movement, leaning towards Communist movement. Subsequently, he returned to the world of Ayurvda.
Joining as factory manager in 1947 at the Centre, which had been founded by his nephew in 1902, Warrier became the chief physician following death of his bother, in an air crash. A year later, he opened a nursing home and started Panchakarma and other Kerala special therapies. That care centre, the first of such facilities in traditional healing system later grew into leading research centre. In 1970the then President, V V Giri flew to Kottakal village to get Ayurvedic treatment under Warrier, bringing national attention to the tradition method.
In the latter decades, Warrier also modernized drug manufacturing, adopted scientific methods in prescription and treatment, promotion and promoted cultivation of medicinal plants to ensure steady supply of herbs, started research and launched a publication division to popularize the traditional the traditional system stream of medicine. He helped develop tablets and tonic forms.
As 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 modernized. In 2018, Warrier started a clinical research system at Vaidya Sala to equip Ayurveda to confront future healthcare challenges.
Over the last five decades, Warrier had been active in Kerala Sahitya Parishad, a people’s science movement, state liberty council and temple protection committee.
Warrier, who is survived by his two children, treated patients till Covid-19 pandemic struck. He was infected but later recovered. He died due to complications, but till the end, he actively contributed to the Ayurveda movement in the country. (IPA Service)