Face To Face With Diwan Harish Chand
NATIONAL JOURNAL OF HOMOEOPATHY 1993 May / Jun Vol II No 3.
Dr Vishpala Parthasarathy.
"A Patient is Not a Post Office"
(Editor: We have started these interviews, so that our readers and young homoeopaths can learn from senior homoeopaths, how they have grown and developed. Leaders in any field are a source of inspiration; it is so especially in homoeopathy. In this interview, Dr. Chand, a senior and reputed homoeopath of Delhi, raises his voice emphatically against polypharmacy, thus giving the young a definite direction towards classical homoeopathy.)
VP: Tell us something about your life and how your
interest in homoeopathy developed?
LEARNING BY OSMOSIS
DHC: My father was the first qualified homoeopath from Northern India. My house was thus a focal point for a lot of discussions on homoeopathy and I was exposed to it from a very young age. By the time I finished with medical school, I had a good knowledge of homoeopathy and pharmacy. I later went to England to do MF in homoeopathy. While in Europe, I also studied Tropical medicine and Hygiene. I studied this, because I was of the opinion that although one may practise homoeopathy yet he should have a thorough knowledge of medicine. My idea was that when I go back to my country, I should be able to do my best for my patients.
VP: You have also been a wonderful teacher. How did you
ONE PICTURE = A 1000 WORDSq
DHC: In 1973-74, I used to give lectures in America. I taught students homoeopathy, with the help of slides which were rare in those days. I believe that a picture seen is equal to a thousand words. I say this from my personal experience. I remember I had seen a picture of a blue sclera diagnosed as having Osteogenesis imperfecta. The image stuck and when I started practising, I had a patient whom I diagnosed immediately without a single question. Even the patient was impressed. I realised that while teaching in a class, there are no patients on which one can demonstrate. I therefore felt that something should be done so that what is taught, sticks in the minds of the students. Hence I opted for the slides. M.L. Tyler was a very successful teacher because of her special emphasis on words as well as the poems she quoted. This style helps to image a personality profile which helps not only in remembering the case but in building up your Materia Medica.
VP: Can you tell us the books that you refer to for the
various personality profiles?
DHC: Tyler, Kent, Allen are all very good reading material. In Allens the symptoms are not very well connected. So, I remember it by marking the symptoms. Thus the text is joined to form a thread which links them together. Kents lectures can be remembered well as there is a lot of repetition by way of comparison. This repetition makes you remember the symptoms which get cemented in your mind. Nash is also very good. In fact it was one of the first books that I had read. Tyler I like the best, as the symptoms are arranged in a chronological order and it also contains quotes from various other books. Wheeler gives a good mental picture. People have lately started reading Catherine Coulter for the mental picture. Vithoulkas has written a very good book. However due to cultural differences, the type of history that one gets in a European patient differs greatly from the type we get.
VP: How do you rate the emotional symptoms given by our
DHC: It is not that we are saints but we hide our faults. Everybody has all the emotions of love, hate, anger, etc. But it is the exaggerated version which is important. What differentiates one person from the other is the degree and varying proportion of these qualities. Thus if somebody says that I get this once in a while, it may not be important unless it is very strong. In that case a strong particular with a modality may rule out a weak general.
VP: Today there is a lot of emphasis on dreams and
delusions. What do you think about it?
DREAM AS A SYMPTOM
DHC: I understand that the trend is there. However, personally I lack in the interpretations. I feel that it is neither necessary nor desirable to stretch the dream and analyse it. When we sit down to interpret a dream, we interpret it in a particular way and someone else interprets it in another way. Thus for the same dream one can have different interpretations. So how can one say which is the right interpretation? During the proving of a remedy, people who never had dreams got a particular dream. This dream was thus considered as a part of the drug. I therefore feel that taking dream as a symptom is not wrong but its interpretation may be wrong. I had a case of a flat chested female patient, who had a persistent dream that she had a false bra on which was falling off. I, however did not analyse the dream. I feel dreams should be taken per se and not analysed. If I say that a robust man staying in a safe locality had fear of thunderstorm, then I take it as important. Some physicians try to put meanings into the dreams. To them I say provings were made not by analysing the dreams. The dreams were simply taken as part of the drug symptomatology. I also do not analyse the history of a person as a child, as I feel I am not a psychiatrist to go into that depth. For example, if one is in an air-conditioned room, why open a window unless there is a history of being locked up in a room which has lead to a fear. Coming back to the case, I gave the lady Nat-sulph indicated by her other complaints and I later heard that she was completely cured.
VP: What do you think is the role of senior homoeopaths
in teaching juniors?
CLINICAL EXPOSURE is the best teacher.
DHC: Seniors should always welcome fresh homoeopaths. I think a junior should get clinical exposure which unfortunately is lacking in most colleges. They say it is a 25 bedded hospital, but the beds are empty as there are no patients. I confess that when I passed my MBBS, being a novice, lacking in exposure to patients I was not good at prescribing. It is exposure to patients along with experience over the years, that helps one to master the art of homoeopathy. Thus exposure to patients and cases is extremely important.
VP: So, given the conditions as they are in todays
institutions, how should our students come out and practise?
DHC: Thats exactly the reason why the CCH insisted on compulsory internship. The idea is that unless students see cases being treated, they will not get confidence. Clinical training is very essential. It is in serious conditions that they throw up their hands. I had a case of acute intestinal obstruction which I attended at 6 in the morning as there was to be an emergency operation. Plumbum was given and this is not a case where mentals would be important. The patient started improving and passed flatus and stool within 12 hours. So it is only when they see results that they gather confidence. Otherwise students generally fall a prey to advertisements of mixtures of homoeopathic drugs and allopathic practice.
VP: What are your views about polypharmacy?
POLYPHARMACY - A POST OFFICE APPROACH
DHC: It is said that whatever you preach must be practised. One of my articles is titled Galenicals in Homoeopathy. Galen was known for compound remedies. Now, Polypharmacy is absolutely unhomoeopathic. It just does not make sense to practise polypharmacy. Some 30 years ago in Hartford, I proposed in the editors guild that each remedy should be used singly as it is proved. If it is proved as a mixture it is necessary to be used as a mixture. All homoeopathic remedies are not simple remedies. We have Gunpowder, Hekla - lava etc. which are not simple substances. It is not important whether they are found in that state but that they were taken and used as such. If you find that a combination works well, prove it as a combination and then use it as a combination. To stretch ones imagination further, all plant remedies can be called combinations. Although Pulsatilla contains Kali-sulph and Colocynth contains Mag-phos, you cannot substitute one for the other as there are shades of differences. So the idea is to prove them all as one entity and use them as such. But you cannot prove them separately and use them as one. My fathers favourite quote was that "the body is not a post-office" i.e. Nux-v for stomach and Bell for headaches. There are some people who say that Hahnemann has used Bryonia and Rhus-tox together. But the fact is that he has also given details in the Homoeopathician in 1904-1906, where he demonstrates how when a single dose was given, the picture changed and so another drug was given having that picture. But does that mean that you can give it arbitarily morning and afternoon and every time a different medicine? No. Thus in my practice I use absolutely single remedies.
VP: Tell us your experiences with the 50 Millesimal
DHC: I use 50 Millesimal potencies very occasionally, as the process of administration of the potency is rather cumbersome.
VP: What is the role of Seminars, Congresses and
discussions in learning?
DHC: Seminars are more important because one gets to hear speakers who have an indepth study. In Congress there are more speakers.
The quality of interaction is however very important in a Congress. Seminars attract people with the same line of thinking so interaction is less. It is always like an umbrella. In discussions one should not make an observation of his own accord and the idea conveyed should be clear cut. In any Congress there are a lot of participants and very little time per person. So you have to give your substance in the shortest possible time.
VP: What is the role of Organisations?
DHC: Organisations are important for the good of the profession. It also depends on the thrust that an organisation can give. It can make certain policy decisions and demands. The person heading should be for the organisation and not vice versa. I personally like the idea of a Secretary General who administers rather than lays down policies.
VP: What is your message to our young readers?
CLASSICAL HOMOEOPATHY = THE ONLY TRUTH
DHC: My message is - study hard and stick to classical homoeopathy. When I started my practice as a consultant homoeopath, patients were few. One day my father asked me - how are you doing? Sir I said, I need some assurance. He answered - Do not worry. Use this time to study because if you do not there will never be a time to study and you will regret this opportunity. Dr. Schmidt, my teacher said that in the beginning you must familiarize yourself with the repertory. He used to go over each rubric with a pencil, from mind to generalities one by one and then later we got very familiar with the rubrics. Thus we always knew what to ask.
VP: What do you think is the role of journals?
DHC: The role of journals is education and news. We are 300 thousand homoeopaths and 40 journals. Even if there is one journal and it is a quarterly, it should be of a standard such that it can be kept for 50 years. Why do we, with so many people, not produce a quality journal? Some journals are mouthpieces and advertisements of drug houses like Gleanings and Herald were. Others are simply substandard. My father ran a journal for some time and later gave up, because he could not accept substandard work as he had to write most of the articles by himself. The National Journal of Homoeopathy has a very good getup and so are the contents. It should be one of the very good journals. I hope it grows stronger every day and continues to enthuse homoeopaths all over to practice good homoeopathy.