From Our Archives

Prof. R. L. Kapur

7 July 1938- 24 November 2006


A respected psychiatrist and thinker, Prof. R. L. Kapur was one of the founding members of NIAS. He received his medical education in Amritsar and his PhD from Edinburgh after winning a Commonwealth scholarship for higher studies - the first such for a psychiatrist. He worked in the UK for some years before returning to India and working to modernise the psychiatry departments he worked at. He was the youngest ever to head a postgraduate department of psychiatry, which he did when he became Head of Psychiatry at NIMHANS.

He also was at the IISc in the Centre for Theoretical Studies, and had a private practice. He is credited with playing an invaluable part in bringing NIMHANS' well-known psychopharmacology department, to life. He was a visiting faculty at Harvard University, and other institutions, and was also a specialist consultant for the World Health Organization (WHO). Amongst his publications, the book Another way to live: A psychiatrist among Indian ascetics,published posthumously, is a well-known and admired work. He was deeply interested in spirituality and Indian philosophy, and was trained in yoga and Hindustani classical music.



Prof Kapur, alongside Dr Raja Ramanna, had a pivotal role in the early years of the Institute. Prof Kapur was the one who organised the first 6-week-long course for Senior Executives (as JRD Tata had envisioned), bringing in speakers from across a wide array of disciplines. An avowed perpetual learner, he put this philosophy to work when creating the courses for NIAS and building its library which houses an exceptional collection of rare books. He served as Professor of Psychiatry from 1988 to 1998, and also took on the mantle of Deputy Director from 1990 to 1996. He completed three major studies in NIAS - on creativity among Indian scientists, a psycho-social study of alienation among Indian youth, and a long term study of Indian sadhus in Himalayas.

Known for his spontaneity, his erudite manner and great conversation, Prof Kapur was an inspiration whose contributions continue to colour the lives of NIAS today.


First recipient of the Marfatia Award (1966), the Bhagwat Award (with Dr. R. Raguram, 1983), the late Dr. D.L.N. Murthy Rao Memorial Oration Award (1994), of the IPS, Eminent Psychiatrist Award from The Karnataka Chapter of IPS (1993) and the Dr. Achar Memorial Oration Award (1998)

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