Friday, June 21, 2013

Dr H. N. Murthy - Psychologist and Philosopher

Hosur Narayan Murthy, former head of the department of Clinical Psychology at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore was a psychologist,
ಡಾ|| ಎಚ್. ಎನ್. ಮೂರ್ತಿ 
philosopher, thinker, mentor and a saint in many ways. Born in 1924 into a brahmin family, he finished his early schooling in the small town of Bhadravathi near Shimoga in Karnataka. A nephew of Dr S.Srikanta Sastri, he was suggested to approach Maharaja's College for pursuing a bachelor's degree by Sastri himself. 

H.N.Murthy pursued his bachelor's degree in psychology at Maharaja's college, Mysore under the tutelage of Dr. M.V.Gopalaswamy (then head of the department of psychology) and graduated in 1952. His outstanding performance was recognised with the prestigious "Babha Memorial Gold Medal" for the best scholar in psychology and philosophy group. His dissertation
H.N.Murthy with his professor (at centre)
 and fellow batchmates
for the bachelor's degree was on "National Stereotypes" concerning how people in India perceived other cultures and how people in foreign cultures perceived Indians. 

H.N.Murthy then pursued his Master's degree in psychology at Maharaja's college, Mysore university which he completed in 1954. He worked for a while at "Mysore State Mental Hospital" at Bangalore before relocating to "Ranchi European Lunatic Asylum" (currently renamed as "Central Institute of Psychiatry") at Ranchi, Bihar. H. Narayan Murthy later
Dr H.N.Murthy at
Catholic University of Leuven,
embarked on his doctoral thesis on "Causality in Experimental Psychology" at "Katholieke Universiteit Leuven", Belgium on an educational scholarship. His guide there was a Roman Catholic priest who was also a professor in psychology. He was awarded a PhD degree for his research work and the university conferred upon him the title of "Excelsior Professor" in recognition of his erudition and commendable contribution to the field of psychology.

He is credited with the introduction of "Behavioural Therapy" for the mental patients at NIMHANS, Bangalore in the late 1970s. To his credit also are numerous questionnaire scales in clinical psychology ranging from the "Depressive Scale", "Paranoid Scale", "Schizophrenia scale" to "Manic Scale" and "Depressive Anxiety Scale". These are quite frequently employed even today and find place in clinical psychiatric practice. But his enduring legacy stems from his efforts at linking "Indian Philosophy" with "Modern Psychology" and establishing common grounds between the two.  

The H.N.Murthy oration sponsored by the Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology is in honour of
Dr H.Narayan Murthy
Dr H.N.Murthy. His students include Dr M.S.Thimmappa 
(ex-Vice Chancellor, Bangalore University), Dr Padma Murthy (Musician, psychologist) among others.     Dr M.S.Thimmappa has penned a tribute to his mentor on his passing and the full text can be found here (Thimmappa's blog). 

H.N.Murthy remained an ardent devotee of the Ramakrishna Mutt and kept close acquaintance with swami Siddheswarananda Ji and swami Ranganathanandaji (former president) till the end. 

Dr H. Narayan Murthy breathed his last on 22nd of August, 2011 aged 87 years. His vast collection of books numbering in excess of 10,000 find refuge in a private collection at Mysore. 

He is featured this month on Dr S.Srikanta Sastri's official website with a brief biographical sketch with few of the photographs shown here. To read the same, click here.   

No comments:

Post a Comment