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Muralidhar Joshi

Director, Pain Management Centre, Kamineni Hospitals

“Greatest relief one can provide to mankind is pain relief” thus goes a saying. The Pain
Speciality is growing by leaps and bounds with each passing decade. The reason is simple – pain
is universal and relief has to be cosmopolitan.

We are from India, a developing country in the fore front of movement in providing pain relief
measures to needy. In last one and half decade the momentum has picked up in geometric
proportion, thanks to some of the great leaders in pain management field. Of the leaders one
name stands out i.e. Dr Muralidhar Joshi from Hyderabad, India. He is an icon amongst the
stalwarts in the field of Pain Management in India.

Dr. Muralidhar joshi MD, DNB, is the Director of Pain Management Centre, Kamineni Hospitals
at Hyderabad, encompassing a multidisciplinary pain programme. He is considered as the one of
the pioneers practicing Pain management in India.

Born in a remote and last village of Andhra Pradesh before Karnataka border starts; he knew the
exact pains of daily life of a commoner in the street. Going by his initial observations of the
moans and groans of suffering people around him; he was motivated to take up the cause for
‘Pain Management’ which was further reinforced when his mother was affected with ‘Post-
Herpetic Neuralgia’. He has been working on Pain Management relentlessly for last two decades.

He graduated from Government Medical College Bellary, Gulburga University in Karnataka,

India. He completed his post-graduation in Anaesthesiology from Post-Graduate Institute of
Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India. He was awarded a medal in the
MD examination. He went onto finish the Diplomate of National Board in Anaesthesiology from
National Board of Examination, New Delhi.

He started working on pain management discipline during his stay at the premier institute
(PGIMER) of Chandigarh, India. He kept on expanding his academic interests in pain
management, not only the scientific aspects, but also practices management aspects. The
following are his exceptional and fabulous accomplishments:

1. An innovative training tool of ‘E Learning’ incorporated with contact programme in Pain

Management of one week was started for the First time in India by him in the year 2000 in
association with Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad. This has been of great help for people in updating
their knowledge and honing skills without having to leave their work place especially from
peripheral parts of India.

2. Started an innovative website in 2004, www.jipindia.org where in patients have an interactive

page for free consultation online along with public awareness about pain syndromes and
management and e learning for professionals.

3. Published First ‘Textbook of Pain Management’ in India in the year 2005. The Second edition
of same was published in 2009. This book has become a standard textbook for all clinicians
working not only in India but also in other countries.

4. Started First ‘Fellowship in Pain Management’ course in India in 2005, in collaboration with
Kamineni-Wockhardt hospital in India in the standards as mentioned by International
Association for Study of Pain which is sought after fellowship programme in India.

5. Published First ‘E Textbook on Pain Management’ in from India in 2008, for tech savvy

6. ‘First Epiduroscopy’ of South India was performed by him in 2008.

7. In the year 2008, he was elected as executive council member of national body of ISSP. He
was made the Member of the Apex Academic Body of Indian Society for Study of Pain (ISSP) in
devising the training programme for Pain Management. Following this in 2009, he was the
Coordinator of the Indian Society for Study of Pain (ISSP) training programme committee-2009
in formulating guidelines for starting both short term and long term training programme and also
guidelines for Standard Pain Management Training Centres in the country

8. Initiated an International Programme ‘Overseas Doctors Training Programme in Pain

Management’ at Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad for Oman Anaesthesia Residents in 2010.

9. In 2010, he was the Coordinator of the Indian Society for Study of Pain -Task Force 2010 in
formulating the Core Curriculum for Undergraduates & Postgraduates in Pain Management.
After going through the draft Medical Council of India came out in October 2010 with gazette
notification of starting Post Doctoral Certificate Course in Pain Management across the country
for the first time. It was a phenomenal effort from all involved and our dream of starting Medical
Council of India accredited course came true.

10. He was in forefront of the narcotics availability movement in 2010; in making ‘morphine’
freely available in all parts of India for cancer patients. They had serial meetings and repeated
dialogues with officials concerned in implementing the policy. The consultations are still on.
11. His skills involving professionals of all societies made him to be selected as Coordinator for
Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists (ISA) & World Federation of Societies of
Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) – Task Force on Pain Management Training.

12. To help novices to start pain clinics he published a hand book titled ‘Pain Clinics’ (First
Edition) in 2011 where in he discussed how to start and establish pain clinics, problems and
solutions for them.

13. To help professionals on the move, he launched an ‘e-Learning Series in Interventional Pain
Management’ in 2012. This is an android application which can be accessed from mobile phone,
i-pads or any computer. In this series he has presented lectures and videos on various
interventional pain management techniques. Along with this he has collaborated with other
organizations to conduct ‘Webinars on Pain Management’ which is quite new to Indian
conditions www.medicovibes.com

14. Apart from these, he is a regular faculty at any national or international conferences in the
country. His oratory skills are exceptional and his interventional skills are exemplary. He has
conducted the silver jubilee national conference of ISSP in 2009 at Hyderabad with grandeur,
which received compliments all over. He conducts CME’s and live and cadaver workshops for
benefit of professionals.

15. He is an editorial member of ‘Indian Journal of Pain’ from 2009 till date and also Indian
Journal of Anaesthesia

16. Public awareness campaign on pain management through lectures, print media and
multimedia are his strengths.

17. The best part is, he is accepted and acknowledged by people of all walks of life.
Professionals from not only Pain Medicine but also from other specialities look up to him as a
role model.

18. In view of his contribution to academics and scientific knowledge propagation, he has been
aptly awarded ‘ISA AWARD FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE for the year 2010’ by National
Body of Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists.

19. In 2012, he has been elected as Treasurer of Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists for a period
of three years. He is able to bridge the gap between specialities to promote single campaign ‘Say
no to Pain’

20. On the humane side, he has written a novel (fiction) in 2012 (accepted for publication) on
‘Hamlet to Hilton’ which covers the inhabitable condition of post independence period of India
to current situation. The novel revolves around industrial disaster of newly liberated India to
conclude ‘my hamlet is recession proof’.
21. Apart from these achievements he has published his articles in various national &
international journals. He has contributed book chapters in medical & scientific publications.

He was awarded the ‘Bhagwan Dhanvantari Sadbhavana Puraskar – 2007 for the meritorious
service rendered social, educational, literary, cultural & humanitarian service to public. This was
awarded by ‘Bharatiya Sanskruthi Nirman Parishad, Hyderabad’.

As all of us have in life, he also had his sweet and bitter moments of life. The one he remembers
most is, when one of the cancer patient who had unbearable pain was pleading ‘doctor please
provide me with pain relief, I am not afraid of death, but I am scared of painful death!’ His pain
was effectively relieved with medical management and he had a pain free life till death. The
family members came back after the death of patient to express their gratitude and thanked the
doctor. While leaving, they handed over ‘Thirumala Ladu’ to the doctor as a token of their
valuable feelings. Dr Joshi remembers this incident to express his views ‘I have treated so many
patients, but this was the first family which greeted me with divine blessings even with a sad
situation in their family’. He feels these are real life situations which move the medical
professionals to strive for well being of their patients.

Faced with real life dilemmas now and then, he looks up to “Bhagawadgeetha” for soul search
and solutions for problems. He is highly influenced by the great epic and the message it sends

His favourite hobbies are reading books and listening to music. Of course during his
free time he pens his books and articles. Himalayas provide him with great inspiration. He
relaxes in the lap of those imposing mountain ranges and finds peace. He feels ‘may be it is
because of the quality time I have spent in that part of the country. It’s just unforgettable
experience.’ Probably if I were not be a doctor I could have been a teacher, while expressing his
eyes twinkle with brightness. By now we all know he has accomplished both as a efficient and
caring doctor and an excellent educationist with teaching skills beyond compare.

Vegetarian diet with regular walk in the morning is his favourites. Mr Narayana Murthy of
INFOSYS is his role model for his humble beginning to the great accomplishment he could do to
world in general and India in particular. His advice to all regarding health tip is ‘keep it simple,
rest will be taken care by nature’. For youngsters who want to be successful doctors his message
is simple ‘love your subject, put yourself in patient’s position; all solutions will open on their
No regrets about any situation he faced or decision he has taken at any point of time. His
favourite book is ‘Freedom at Midnight’ about India’s independence.

He says, he owes a lot to his family for letting him do all these things. ‘It is time for thanking my
parents and in-laws for encouraging me to take up the task of promoting pain management
subject in India. My wife Dr Sharada Joshi, Consultant Radiologist, has been bearing the
maximum brunt of having to cope up with extra load of parenting out young children, while her
husband spends a great deal of time in travelling or writing his books. My special regards for my
sweet little daughters Godavari and Gowri for showing maturity and understanding beyond their
years’. Their affection & confidence in me has been of great stimulus for taking up more difficult

When we asked him about any particular incident in history of India that can be
rectified or reversed; he said ‘I take things the way they come’ after pestering him repeatedly he
said ‘may be I would like to have Sri Vallab Bhai Patel as first prime minister of India; because
at that time and now also agriculture was & is the backbone of our country. With good planning
and implementation we would have achieved green revolution’.

About his dreams he told that ‘I agree Pain Management is not life threatening. But the agony
and misery of people suffering with pain is untold. The quality of life is miserable. Do not forget,
when we got independence our life span was 32-35 years now it has gone up to 67-69 years. The
Indian population has increased by more than three fold in these years. With aging you will have
all these issues like degeneration, arthritis, back pain, surgical pain, cancer pain so on and so
forth. For the magnitude of this problem, we have very limited trained Pain Specialists in our
country. That’s where I am focusing on epidemiological surveys, training programmes, public
awareness, webinars and other things. May be one day we might have institutions which can
accomplish all these things, till that time we have to fight it out’. He continued to say with a
smile ‘journey of thousand miles also starts with first step, never give up’. I was stunned at his
exact assessment of our country scenario.
We have not found a person so reasonable, cool and calm with a strong character. He has donned
so many hats like good clinician, efficient administrator, compassionate organizer, great orator, a
humane of par excellence and exceptional educationist and of course always available for help.
We are looking for these kinds of young, dynamic, selfless pioneers who can guide us, so that
Pain Medicine can become simple, affordable and evidence based for brighter future. You cannot
think or dream of better soul than him.

We end with his one of favourite quotes ‘Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional’.