Interview Of The Week: Dr. J Hareendran Nair - Selfless Work, Topmost Honor
Dr. J Hareendran Nair says being honored with the Padma Shri has cemented his desire to dedicate the rest of his life to Ayurveda and social service | By Mukesh Venu
On Feb 06, 2012




It is Nishkama Karma or selfless hardwork, without expecting anything in return, that usually brings in the greatest of rewards. This theory has certainly held true for Dr. J Hareendran Nair, Founder and Managing Director of Pankajakasthuri Herbals India Ltd., who has still not completely shaken off the 'shock' of winning the Padma Shri award.

“It happened last Wednesday noon, sharp at one o' clock,” he recollects with a broad smile. “I was walking with some of my friends when the shift-siren rang out and my mobile phone started ringing, all at the same time. I picked up the call. It was from the Home Ministry telling me I was being conferred with the Padma Shri and asking me if I was willing to accept it. After the first few moments of shock I just ran to my room where I wept for sometime. Even during the following days, when I woke up in the morning, everything would feel surreal to me.”

In a world where heroes are often those who have travelled the world and learnt from the 'best', which always happens to be on some land beyond the seas, Dr. J Hareendran stands apart with a humble smile. He had his primary education from Kandala Government U P School, did his Pre-degree from the Christian College, Kattakada and graduated in Ayurveda Medicine from the Government Ayurveda College, Trivandrum. He joined the Poojapura Regional Research Institute as a Research Assistant in  1986 and in 1988 started the Ayurveda Medicine Manufacturing Unit at Poovachal.

The local boy belonging to the small township of Kattakada is now the Managing Director of Pankajakasthruri Herbals India Pvt. Ltd., Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College, Pankajakasthuri Engineering College and the numerous Pankajakasthuri Pancha Karma centres, all of which combined provide employment to more than 600 people.

“My only agenda is the popularisation of Ayurveda as an effective and economic mode of treatment among people,” Dr. J Hareendran explains his motive behind the success. “Although Ayurvedic treatment is 100% free of side effects, it is still being used only by a minority. I want to change this minority into a majority.”

Even though the Ayurvedic form of treatment has been gaining acceptance among the masses, Dr. Hareendran is still far from being pleased and has a reason to point out why the results achieved over the years are yet to be satisfactory.

“Many modern doctors are still reluctant to accept Ayurveda as a conventional mode of treatment and they share this feeling with the patients as well. And the mindset of the society is already set in such a way that for every disease, common or uncommon, the first preference is always given to Allopathic medicines.”

Even while saying that, the doctor makes it clear that he holds no grudge against the Allopathic form of treatment.

“I am not saying that people should turn their backs on Allopathy, but just that they need to give the same kind of acceptance to Ayurveda as well. In the instance of a medical condition, they should have a choice on the kind of treatment that's available. What I am trying for is a holistic approach of various treatment methods that would serve humanity better.”


And service is another field in which Dr. J Hareendran is deeply involved.

At the Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College, 1000 free meals are served everyday for lunch and you do not need to be below poverty line to have a meal.

“Food for the hungry is all I aim by providing free meals. Whether you are poor or rich makes no difference when it comes to hunger.”

About one hundred and twenty children have their educational expenses fully covered by the company. The Ayurveda Medical College provides 50 free beds to patients from economically backward families. The visiting patients are given free 'kashayam', 'thailam' and 'choornam'. The Pankajakasthuri Group holds a medical camp on every second Saturday of the month at various places within the district.



“Next one is at Balaramapuram,” adds Dr Hareendran.

As a person who received the prestigious Padma Shri award at a comparatively young age of fifty, Dr. J Hareendran takes utmost pride in the honour and yet accepts it in the humblest manner.

In his own words: “If I have been chosen for this award, then it should be because of the work I have done to popularise Ayurveda and the other humanitarian works that I have carried out along with it. Being bestowed with such an honor has made me resolve to dedicate the rest of my life for this service. Of course, I would need to take care of my family and my profession; that accounts for half of it, the other half is meant for Ayurveda and social work.”

Dr. J Hareendranath is someone who made it big from humble beginnings and has been helping and serving the people belonging to the place where he was born and broughtup. He is one who truly deserves the honour that has come his way and Team Yentha takes this occasion to specially congratulate Dr. J Hareendran Nair for having been selected for this year's Padma Shri Award.  

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