Indian Society of Hypertension (InSH)
Dr. Shailendra Vajpeyee, Hapur,
Dr. Samar Banerjee, Kolkata
Dr. VV Muthusamy, Madurai
Immediate Past President
Dr. Shashank R.Joshi, Mumbai
Dr. Banshi Saboo, Ahmedabad
Dr. Narsingh Verma, Lucknow
Dr. Anuj Maheshwari, Lucknow
Joint- Secretaries | Global Convener
Dr. Lily Rodrigues, Hyderabad
Dr. J. L. Agrawal,
Dr. C. Venkat S Ram, Hyderabad
Editor in Chief Hypertension Journal
- Dr. A Muruganathan, Tiruppur
- Dr. Arvind Gupta, Jaipur
- Dr Jothydev Kesvadev, Kochi
- Dr. Neeta Deshpande, Pune
- Dr. Jyotideb Mukhopadhaya, Kolkata
- Dr. Tiny Nair, Trivandrum
- Dr. SN Narasingan, Chennai
- Dr. R R Singh, Jhansi
- Dr. Vasanth Kumar, Hyderabad
- Dr. Sunita Tewari, Lucknow
When I look back at the history the Indian Society of Hypertension I find it full of twists and turmoils. But for the unwavering help and support of a good number of friends and colleagues, I can say it for sure that the society might not have seen the light of the day and it would not have been what it is today The experience has been like surfing on the waves in a turbulent ocean sailing through the troughs and peaks of tides and thankfully emerging out virtually unscathed. That’s why the title of this write-up.
Having completed 24 years of its existence, the Society is entering the 25th year marking the beginning of the Silver Jubilee celebrations and rightfully so. The actual journey of this society started in 1984 almost eight years prior to its formal establishment during the inaugural conference at Surat from 28th to 30th November 1992. The main focus of attention of this conference was the Indo-French Symposium on Hypertension for one full day on 29th November with five French and five Indian speakers. The symposium was organized jointly with the Ministry of Science of the Govt. of France as a result of great efforts put in by Prof. Raymond J. Wegmann. The Scientific Attaché of the Embassy of France Mr. Michel Brunet was himself present during the inaugural ceremony of the conference as a testimony for vital cooperation. This laid the foundation of Indo-French collaboration epitomized by participation of Prof. Wegmann, an ardent India lover and proponent of an unfinished HINDI (Hypertension India Detection Initiative) project, at many subsequent conferences of the society. The occasion was graced by the presence of late Professor Austin E. Doyle, past president and official representative of the International Society of Hypertension deputizing for the then president Professor John C. Chalmers. The American Society of Hypertension was also represented by Prof. C. Venkat S. Ram while Dr. Shigehiro Katayama came from Japan.
The story of coming in to being of the Indian Society of Hypertension was printed in the Souvenir cum Abstract book of the first conference as Surat which was reprinted as it was, in the News Bulletin of the International Society of Hypertension issue No. 2 of year 1993. The same is reproduced with this article for the benefit of those who might have some interest in the history of the society.
Meanwhile, the 15th Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension was scheduled at Melbourne (Australia) from 19th to 26th March 1994 and we thought it proper to grab the opportunity by hosting a satellite symposium of the same in India expecting that some of the participants from Western countries may choose to stop over in India on their way to Melbourne. Discussions were held with Prof. Doyle, who was also the treasurer of the organizing committee and he agreed to take up the matter with the committee after returning to Australia. Fortunately, our proposal received a positive response from the chairman of Melbourne meeting Prof. Colin Johnston and Prof. John Chalmers, president. Late Dr. K. G. Nair expressed his willingness to host the satellite at Mumbai (then Bombay) and our society decided to do it on March 14 and 15 1994 in association with the Indian Chapter of the International Society for Heart Research and the International College of Nutrition. This also incorporated the second annual conference of the Indian Society of Hypertension. I myself, Dr. O. N. Tripathi and Dr. R. B. Singh worked as joint organizing secretaries on behalf of the respective organizations. The programme got a resounding success with more than 400 delegates and 41 international faculties. Many of the members of our society also participated at Melbourne but the most tragic event was the death of Prof. Austin Doyle at Hong Kong airport while travelling for the work related to Melbourne meeting. Our society felt it necessary to partially repay the contribution of Prof. Doyle by establishing an oration in his name during annual conferences and it continues ever since.
Two note-worthy developments at Melbourne were that the concerted efforts of our society for several years, borne fruits. Firstly, a symposium devoted to hypertension in developing countries was held for the first time and a special poster session exclusively for papers submitted from economically hard-pressed countries, was part of the scientific programme, keeping in view the difficulties faced by presenters from such countries to compete with the papers from the developed world. Our society had also been pursuing for representation of national societies/associations for quite some time. This was accepted at the previous meeting of the International Society of Hypertension at Madrid (Spain) in 1992. An International Consultative forum was launched and it met at Melbourne where representatives from several national societies/associations participated including our own society. It was during this meeting of the forum where a proposal from our society to organize the First Asia-Pacific Congress on Hypertension was tabled by myself and it got the nod of the forum. Eventually this congress was subsequently organized at Surat from November 29 to December 3, 1997. Following the success of the Bombay satellite, two more orations were initiated by the society in the names of Dr. K. G. Nair and Prof. R. J. Wegmann while Dr. S. Vajpeyee award was instituted for best paper presentation during our annual conferences.
In the intervening period the third, fourth and fifth annual conferences of the society were held under the leadership of Dr. V. Shantaram (Hyderabad, 1994), late Dr. S. S. Rastogi and Dr. S. V. Madhu (New Delhi, 1995) and Dr. S. B. Khurana and Dr. G. S. Wander (Ludhiana, 1996). The society was growing from strength to strength due to the efforts of these members while still in its infancy. An award in the name of Dr. V. Shantaram was started for best published paper related to hypertension. Dr. R. K. Goyal played a pivotal role by serving as the second secretary general and more importantly getting the society registered in 1996.
The idea of Asia-Pacific conference was inspired from the biennial European and Pan-American meetings on hypertension in between the meetings of the International Society. More so from Prof. Alberto Zanchetti, who had been holding the European Meetings on Hypertension every time at Milan University regularly for several years before it was done alternately at Milan and some other venue in Europe. A comprehensive thumb-nail sketch of the proposal for the Asia-Pacific congress was prepared even before the Melbourne meeting on 26th December 1993 and it was planned on the particular dates as India was to celebrate 50th year of her independence in the year 1997. Perhaps it was the first programme related to the Golden Jubilee of the nation planned at that stage. It was well publicized at important meetings on related topics viz. Asia-Pacific Congress of Cardiology at Bali (Indonesia) in 1995, European Meeting on Hypertension at Milan (Italy) 1997, International Conference on Preventive Cardiology at Montreal (Canada) 1997 and many others besides some prominent web calendars. The response in the form of enquiries and interest for participation was quite encouraging from individuals from across the countries of the region. Unfortunately the Australian Council for Blood Pressure Research and Japanese Society of Hypertension, two major countries in the region, did not support our initiative citing the reason of already existing conference of Pacific Rim countries. Still our efforts did not go in vain as a similar Asia-Pacific conference was started by these same countries in the same year (1997) but at a different place in Pacific region. This has now become a regular feature and our society has been supporting these meetings all throughout as also becoming an official member of and having representation at the Asia-Pacific Society of Hypertension, an offshoot of these meetings.
Anyhow, the conference at Surat went ahead well with substantial national and international participation. The president of the International Society of Hypertension Prof. Peter A. von Zwieten from the Netherlands attended the conference and wrote a report in the news letter of the society. A panel of speakers from the International Academy of cardiovascular Sciences led by Prof. Naranjan S. Dhalla from Winnipeg (Canada) and another contingent of speakers and delegates numbering thirty three, from National Association of Ambulatory Cardiology of Italy led by its president Dr. Pasquale Palmiero, were part of the main highlights.
These events not only helped the society to sustain itself but also helped in boosting its expansion in terms of geographical representation as also embracing all related disciplines of clinical as well as basic medical sciences. Members from other related fields such as nutrition, epidemiology, pharmaceutical sciences, etc. also joined in. Thus our society acquired a unique distinction of providing a common platform to diverse areas concerned with hypertension. Another feature has been the uninterrupted organization of national conferences every year at different places around the country over the years and each conference has been doing better than the previous ones. The credit must go to the organizing teams at respective places. Surat has done it four times while Mumbai, Varanasi and Lucknow have done thrice each. Delhi has hosted the conference on two occasions and Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Moradabad, Madurai, Annamalainagar (Chidambaram) and Ahmedabad did once each. During the course of time another award in joint names of Dr. R. B. Singh, Dr. S. P. Verma and late Dr. S. S. Rastogi for best presentation during poster session at the annual conferences and Dr. V. V. Muthusamy oration has also been added. The society felt it necessary to recognize the contributions and services of eminent individuals from amongst its members as well as from outside, towards evolving ways and means to prevent and control hypertension and its related hazards. After due deliberations extending over years and several meetings of the executive committee, fellowships of the society (FISH) are now being inducted since 2010.
The weaker link of the society has been a good quality official organ coming out with regularity. After a long wait the first publication of the Indian Journal of Hypertension commenced from Varanasi with tremendous hard work put in by Dr. N. K. Singh and his team followed by Dr. M. E. Yeolekar from Mumbai. Then there was a long interruption till Dr. V. V. Muthusamy from Madurai picked up the thread from where it was left and carried forward the publication of the journal. Recently, this activity got a big impetus with the commendable efforts of Dr. C. V. S. Ram who has succeeded in realizing our long cherished dream of having a world class journal by putting in place an arrangement with the World Hypertension League as an associate partner and the expertise of a reputed publisher. This indeed, has been a single most important landmark development in the annals of our society. This is bound to meet with the long standing expectation of the members of the society as also enhance the status of the society itself.
On the front of national and international collaborations, the society has performed remarkably well. From time to time joint programmes have been arranged along with many organizations at national, regional and local levels. Some pharma corporate houses are coming forward to join hands with our society to impart hypertension related knowledge among medical fraternity and creating awareness among the target population. Efforts are going on to conduct surveillance programmes to have genuine indigenous database of hypertension. We are now regularly represented at the International Consultative Forum of the International Society of Hypertension. Our society is not only an official member of the World Hypertension League but is also represented on its governing board with the crucial support of Dr. Arun Chockalingam (Canada and USA), the past secretary general. Similar is the case with the Asia-Pacific Society of Hypertension with official membership and representation at its executive council. Both these honours go to Dr. Muthusamy. The World Hypertension Day for enhancing awareness about hypertension among masses has now become a regular feature of our society’s annual calendar. We have been interacting with the National Hypertension Association, Inc., New York with the active involvement of Dr. William M. Manger, myself being on their international advisory board. The Asian-Pacific Society of Atherosclerosis and Vascular Diseases has worked with our society as a result of keen interest exhibited by Prof. Edward D. Janus (Hong Kong and Australia), Prof. A. Yamamoto (Japan) and Prof. Suphachai Chethirappan (Thailand). Lately two new collaborations are developing with the Canada-India group led by Dr. Arun Garg (Canada) and with the Japanese Salt-Study group initiated by Prof. Yukio Yamori (Japan) in association with Dr. N. Chidambaram. Dr. R. B. Singh has been a constant link between our society and several international groups and organizations.
There is lot more to be written about the journey of the Indian Society of Hypertension and the active role played by many other individuals. My apologies to all those whose deep involvement towards taking the society forward and making it stronger has been exemplary, for not being able to catalogue their part mainly due to time constraint. My appeal to the members of the society to bear with me for the shortcomings left in preparing this account but a promise here as well to write further sequels to this memoir on suitable occasions, possibly the silver jubilee conclusion programme at Hyderabad next year. May I beg a favour from the past office bearers, executive committee members, organizing secretaries and members of the society to kindly provide me inputs in form of any information, records, photographs, etc. which may be relevant for archiving the history of our society, to enable me to fill the gaps when I document the next part of this series. Before concluding, a golden advice to the office bearers and executive committee members to please communicate more frequently within the committee and with the members of the society. One news letter just after the annual meeting with the highlights of conference and minutes of meeting, one in the mid year and one at least two months before the next annual meeting containing the upcoming agenda, will do a lot good for the health of the society and maintain the involvement of members.
“ Down with Hypertension; Long Live Indian Society of Hypertension ”