Corona, Nutrition, Nilgiris: a New World Order

(No matter how many it will finally kill or damage, Corona is bound to rewrite existing world order. Spearheading an alternative based on the Gandhian principles of Truth, Freedom and Health is a Dalit from Tamil Nadu in USA. Dr. Appadurai Shiva, a multi-expert and multi-tasking technocrat is taking head on the Democrats, the Republicans and the vested interest lobbies with grit, clarity and hope. His case is simple: Don’t blame the disease; blame your body).

This is exactly what Major-General Sir Robert McCarrison said on Nutrition in Health and Disease in 1936. “ It would be wrong to suppose  that poverty is the only cause of faulty nutrition. Access to abundance of food does not necessarily protect from the effects of food deficiency… prejudice, ignorance, habit often prevent the proper use and choice of health giving foods…  I would add indifference, neglect, and the weak indulgence of their children by many well-to-do parents which fosters tastes and habits detrimental to normal growth, nutrition, and health”.  He further said, “If we look upon infection of whatever kind, be it due to microbe, protozoa, metazoa, or invisible virus, it may be said that the two chief causes of disease are faulty food and dirt”.

Who is Sir  McCarrison? (Excerpts from my father’s 1954 article)

Sir MacCarrison was the founder of the Nutrition Research  Laboratories (NRL)  in Coonoor in 1918 with one  Assistant in a single room on the first floor of the Pas­teur Institute. Since then the history of nutrition research in India became synonymous with the his­tory of NRL. 

The evil of malnutrition was unknown until the Indian Research Fund Association came into existence in 1911 as a non-official organization.  Sir  McCarrison, who was then a young officer in the Indian Medical Service, was keenly inte­rested in the problem of diet and disease. The genius of this young medical man resulted in the establishment of a nutrition re­search unit on a humble scale.  In short, his work brought out the important relation of malnutrition to the inci­dence of disease in general.

On his retirement in 1935 he settled in Oxford where he con­tinued, by his writings, lectures and broadcasts, to devote himself to the spread of knowledge of nu­trition and the relation of faulty nutrition to disease.

When first he came to Coonoor in 1918, McCarrison had a reputa­tion as an original thinker  which was  recognized by the Government of India. The Royal Commission on Agriculture visited the Laboratories in Coonoor to study link between farming and nutrition.

Since 1937, the Laboratory trained  medical gradua­tes, science graduates, health visi­tors, social welfare workers, teach­ers,  rationing officers  and others in the theory and practice of nutrition during summer months

Sir  McCarrison, was succeeded by  Dr. W.R. Aykroyd, who was formerly connected with the Public Health Organization of the League of Na­tions.  Distinguished  Indin doctors like Dr. Patwardhan also served the institution till it was shifted to Hyderabad.

Nilgiri Documentation Centre

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *