Designatory Letters: 
DM Madras 1957, FRCP Edin 1985


Born on 15 February 1933, in Calicut (now Kozhikode), Kerala, Professor Krishnamoorthy Srinivas had his early education in Japan, where his father was the Trade Commissioner of India, and later at the prestigious Doon School, Dehradun. He completed his Intermediate course at Loyola College, Madras, after which he entered the hallowed portals of Madras Medical College. On graduation, he was appointed house surgeon at Safdarjung Hospital New Delhi.

In 1959, Prof Srinivas left for the West to undergo training in Canada and later in the UK. Starting in Saskatoon, his training encompassed the gamut of neurological specialties, each apprenticeship being with an expert. Notable among his mentors were Professor Donald Baxter at the Montreal Neurological Institute (to become Director later and visit Chennai as TS Srinivasan Orator) and Professor John Walton (later to become Lord Walton of Detchant in Northumberland, UK; President of the World Federation of Neurology). Between Canada, UK and a short stint at the famous Salpetriere in Paris, Prof Srinivas received training in Neuroanesthesia, Paediatric Neurology, Muscle & Nerve Disease, Neuroimaging (both ultrasound and CT scan with the co-discoverer of CT, Sir James Ambrose) and Neurosurgery. Indeed, he mastered the art of carrying out direct carotid punctures, a skill he would subsequently employ with aplomb at the Institute of Neurology, Madras.

Back in India in early 1965 after seven years abroad, with two MRCPs and a wealth of learning, Prof Srinivas joined the Institute of Neurology, Government General Hospital, Madras, founded and directed by Professor B Ramamurthi, as Honorary Assistant Professor of Neurology. His passion for teaching, new learning on the job and desire for need-based innovation (in his own country – a developing nation and in the tropical belt), spurred him on to establish two community neurology departments, one at the Voluntary Health Services, founded by his own teacher, Professor KS Sanjivi and the second at Public Health Centre, founded by the Gandhian, MC Subrahmaniam. He pioneered multidisciplinary care in both these institutions. It was in the early days of developing these two Neurology Centres of Excellence that he began the tradition of inviting experts to India to teach and lecture to students and professionals, in an era where ‘online learning’ was a pipe dream. Thus began the TS Srinivasan Endowment Orations with the support of the TVS family, a tradition that Prof Srinivas finely honed over 35 years.

The departments Prof Srinivas founded attracted generous support and funding from several industrial houses and individual philanthropists. The Endowment orations brought the best neuroscientific brains from all over the world to Chennai. With Lord Hamlyn’s visit in 1993, and establishment of the Paul Hamlyn Fellowship, several doctors and allied health specialists of the two departments trained at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London.

Well-deserved honours and awards came to him from all quarters. Notable among these were the Fellowships of all three Royal Colleges of Physicians (London, Glasgow and Edinburgh), the youngest Indian neurologist to achieve this at the time; Fellowship of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, India; Honorary Fellowships of the American Academy of Neurology & American Neurological Association (another India first at the time); DSc (honoris causa) of the TN Dr. MGR Medical University. He was associated with the world leaders both in neurology and in public life; passionately served his alma mater (Doon School) as Board Member of the Indian Public School Society. An astute clinician and a thorough gentleman he remained to the end meticulous in his clinical approach, yet flexible as an administrator; straight-talking yet compassionate; altruistic yet pragmatic; an anglophile with respect for his own heritage; with his array of pens, polished Oxford brogues, button down shirts, spontaneous witticisms, love of music – in short, the quintessential gentleman from a bygone era.

Dr Subbulakshmi Natarajan FRCP Edin