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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 334-335  

Prof. Surindar Mohan Marwah

Prof. Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication17-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dandu Chandra Sekhar Reddy
Prof. Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Reddy DC, Gupta V M. Prof. Surindar Mohan Marwah. Indian J Public Health 2015;59:334-5

How to cite this URL:
Reddy DC, Gupta V M. Prof. Surindar Mohan Marwah. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Jan 30];59:334-5. Available from:

Prof. Surindar Mohan Marwah, a distinguished medical educationist, public health specialist, and founder professor and head of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM) (currently known as Community Medicine) in the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), passed away on May 10, 2015 at his residence in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Prof. Marwah was born in Amritsar, Punjab, India on September 30, 1921, obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from King Edward Medical College (1946) and Diplomas in Public Health (1953) and Industrial Health (1954) from the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. He was among the earliest to obtain Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Social Medicine and Public Health in 1958 from King George Medical College, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Prof. Marwah's inherent passion for public health became evident when he joined Govt. of India Medical Mission to extend Medical relief to refugees in Kurukhetra and Jammu & Kashmir in post partition period. In his entire service period, Prof. Marwah also served in the Indian Army and Uttar Pradesh Public Health Services. He was invited by King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia to provide a direction to public health education in that country as well. Prof. Marwah brought a paradigm shift in teaching public health. He effectively translated the tenet, "learn public health by doing" by creating community-based centers for public health practice such as Chiraigaon and Sundarpur Health Training Centre, which captured the attention of the Medical Council of India (MCI), culminating in the formulation of new MCI guidelines and establishment of similar facilities in many institutions in the country. By virtue of his innovative approaches, he attracted international collaborations with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Free University of Amsterdam.

As researcher, teamed with his microbiology colleagues, Prof. Marwah demonstrated that cattle and birds harbor cholera organism. His dream operations research project was on promotion of the use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), launched in 1980, with the support of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, London, England. He demonstrated in this project the feasibility and safety of providing OCPs through village-level workers. The high acceptance level resulted in lowering the birth rate by 2 points during the study period and led to policy change; this stands as a path-breaking contribution of Prof. Marwah to the national cause.

Prof. Marwah had over 200 publications in national and international peer-reviewed journals.Apart from this, he published several monographs and edited the 12 th , 13 th , and 14 th editions of Bedi's textbook on hygiene and public health. He founded and edited the Indian Journal of Preventive and Social Medicine and was the editor of the "Journal of Nutrition and Health," published from England. He was also a member of the editorial board and reviewer of several other Indian journals such as the "Indian Journal of Medical Research" and "Indian Journal of Public Health."

Prof. Marwah was a member of several scientific committees of the Indian Council of Medical Research, a temporary advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the areas of medical education and primary health care and a WHO Fellow for studies in organization of medical education in the USA, Denmark, and Yugoslavia. He participated in international conferences and workshops on epidemiology and medical education at Tehran, Bangkok, Puerto Rico, the UK, Saudi Arabia, etc. He visited the USSR under the Indo-Soviet cultural exchange program in 1973.

Prof. Marwah was a Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM), Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Society of Communicable Diseases, and a member of the faculty of Community Medicine (currently known as faculty of Public Health), UK. He was awarded the Dr. BC Dasgupta Memorial Oration Award of IPHA and Dhanwantari Oration of IAPSM. In recognition of his contributions to public health and medical education, the Medical Council of India honored him with the "Hari Om Ashram Alembic National Research Award for Applied Research at Field Level" in 1977.

Prof Marwah actively contributed to the growth of Indian Public Health Association. He founded and presided over the Varanasi Branch of IPHA. He organized annual conference of IPHA at Varanasi and served as its president. In recognition of his services to the discipline and the association, he was honoured with IC Tiwari Life time Achievement Award of IPHA in 2013.

Prof. Marwah was a widely respected as teacher and mentor. His accomplished students were Prof. IC Tiwari, Dr. Saroj Pachauri ,etc. who served in important positions in national and international organizations, apart from many others who served as members of the faculties of medical institutions in the UK and headed medical colleges and Community Medicine departments across India to carry forward his vision.

Although Prof. Marwah did not keep himself professionally active following retirement, when one of these authors went to see him during a visit to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India it was noted that that he evinced keen interest in public health issues and his memory and critical mind were nearly as sharp as ever.

In his demise, India has lost a great visionary and superb guide in the field of public health. May his soul rest in peace.


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