Completing more than half a century in a chosen field of medical science is no easy a task! Indeed, a global milestone!
Born on 15th February 1933, in Calicut (now Kozhikode) Kerala, to Janaki Ammal the daughter of a sub-judge and granddaughter of an agent to the Imperial Bank, in her ancestral home opposite the legendary Tali temple, Prof. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas’ global movements began early, as the son of a rising star in the Indian Civil Services, Sri. ES Krishnamoorthy, whose humble origins in the small agraharam of Ennapadam in Palakkad did not preclude a triple scholarship in Presidency College, Madras, and the prestigious FCS (the financial equivalent of ICS). Having received his early education in Kobe, Japan, where his father was the Trade Commissioner for India’s then British Government, later in Shanghai, China, where he was the Consul General. His early adventures included being repatriated to India by ship, surviving a South China Sea typhoon, when his father became a Japanese prisoner of war for one year, eventually to be released. Your idyllic childhood spent in Madras & Delhi was to soon culminate in admission to the prestigious Doon School. Here he came under the influence of his British housemasters, Martin & Holdsworth, from whom perhaps you learnt your impeccable British mannerisms.
Departing Doon School in the eve of the Partition of India, he completed his education in Chennai, entering the prestigious Loyola College in his pre-university phase. Admitted to the prestigious Madras Medical College, and resident at the Indian Officers Association, he held pleasant and enjoyable memories of a charming city; tram rides, idyllic evenings in the beach, visits to the Cinema and library, and his interest in Hindustani and contemporary (then) Hindi film music. Time well spent at MMC and IOA, he has left behind enduring memories and relationships with many men of eminence who like him have gone on to excel in their respective fields. On graduation from MMC, he joined the prestigious Safdurjung Hospital under the guidance of the legendary Col. RD Iyer & Col. Rao, a unit that would soon become amalgamated into the new All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Honing his clinical skills in those hallowed halls, he had the privilege of treating together with his bosses, India’s first Prime Minister, Nehruji, besting him in an interchange about overseas education.
Sailing to Saskatoon, Sasketchewan, Canada, First Class, another unique privilege, he started your career with the legendary Dr. Harold Griffiths, the first man to try Curare on a human being. Moving on to Montreal General Hospital and Montreal Neurological Institute, he trained with Donald Baxter and had the privilege of interacting with Wilder Penfield, a legend in his lifetime. England beckoned him, MRCP (London & Glasgow) was easily conquered, and periods were spent in Atkinson Morley & Queen Square, Allan Bailey and the co-discoverer of the CT scan James Ambrose from whom he learnt carotid punctures and angiograms being strong influences. His defining moment in the UK however was with Prof. John Walton (now Lord Walton) in the Regional Neurological Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, with whom he built an enduring relationship.
Returning to Chennai, to serve his parents and family, you gravitated towards his teacher Prof. KS Sanjivi in Voluntary Health Services and to the Gandhian, Shri. M C Subramaniam, in Public Health Centre. his private practice managed ethically in Mylapore, and the strong family connections he possessed, resulted in the formation of enduring relationships with the founding families of Madras (now Chennai)- TVS, Murugappa Group, UCAL Group, The Hindu, the name a few. He also joined the Institute of Neurology, Government General Hospital and acquired the distinction of being India’s first DM in Neurology, going on to heading an academic unit there and tutoring legions of students. Juggling many balls successfully, from 1965, he managed to balance the development of two very successful clinical departments K Gopalakrishna Dept. of Neurology in VHS and TS Srinivasan Dept. of Neurology in PHC into epitomes of public philanthropy in healthcare with few parallels. He also managed to teach with dedication and devotion, many generations of DM students, all of whom were his admirers!
In 1980, he introduced to India the concept of an endowment oration, the TS Srinivasan endowment oration, which brought each year to our shores an international neurologist of eminence. This program and its many successors that you he engendered have done yeoman service to Indian neurologists, giving them the then rare opportunity of international exposure and learning. That these orations have become landmarks in the Indian calendar and continue to inspire Indian neurologists even in this global age are a testimony to their success. Through these developments, awards and honors followed but he chose to wear them all lightly! The youngest Indian neurologist (then) to be awarded the Triple FRCP, the only Indian Neurologist to be made Honorary Member of both American Academy of Neurology and Americal Neurological Association, veritable halls of fame; Hon. Consultant to the Armed Forces of India and the Air Marshall Subrato Mukerji Lecture awardee, Fellow of both the National Academy of Medical Sciences and Indian College of Physicians, a multitude of decorations are to his credit!
In all these milestones he always managed to remain a family man; a devoted son, affectionate brother, doting father and most appreciative husband to Mrs. Padma Srinivas, his life companion. Indeed, his focus on his family, despite his busy schedules and many responsibilities, attendance together with his wife at all neurological meetings over the years, has been, noteworthy indeed. We have admired always, your quick wit, formidable memory, skills of persuasion and easy charm, and your ability to seamless link science with society, whether it is a public lecture or indeed a neurological story about a difficult patient. Indeed, the interest in the neurosciences that he managed to evoke among all those who have had the opportunity to meet him, and links, he had forged between neuroscience and the community in Chennai, stand as a true testimony to his lifetime of work. Undoubtedly so, he was a true crusader of the neurological community, not just in Chennai, but across the globe!