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Noshir Hormusjee Wadia

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 09 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2613
  1. Jeetha D’Silva
  1. Mumbai
  1. j.dsilva{at}

Pioneer in Indian neurology

Noshir Hormusjee Wadia, one of the founding fathers of neurology in India, was at the vanguard of the development of neurological sciences in the country.

Born in 1925 to a Parsi family of modest means, Wadia eschewed the family’s timber business and became a doctor. In 1950 he graduated from Mumbai’s Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Hospital with a degree in general medicine.

Neurology and Independence

As a graduate student, Wadia was keenly interested in neurology, but the scope for specialisation in the subject did not exist in India at the time. So when he travelled to England to sit the examination for membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), Wadia was determined to make the most of it. In London he signed up for a three month course on neurology. “My first real flavour of neurology came from the world famous National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Queen Square,” he wrote in an unpublished memoir. “Neurology is a specialty in which a skilled teacher can demonstrate the nuances of the subject to a whole class of students, and I was overawed by the demonstrations of neurological cases.”

After obtaining his MRCP, Wadia decided to undergo further training in neurology. He joined the department of neurosurgery at Newcastle General Hospital, after which he was appointed regional medical officer at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Maida Vale, London, in 1953. The hospital was then a leading postgraduate training institute in neurology and opened up a whole new world of experiences for the young doctor. It gave him the opportunity to work with some of the finest neurologists in the UK—including Russell Brain. Wadia demonstrated exemplary medical acumen there and was soon appointed registrar to Brain.

After four years in the UK, Wadia returned to India at …

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