The year was 1988, the year when SGPGI Lucknow was born, Dr. H.K. Agarwal was there in a make-shift OPD tent attending to one of the first patient of that premier institute. That was Dr. H.K. Agarwal’s first assignment as a psychiatrist. Soon thereafter, a research team was formed by SGPGI with Dr. H.K. Agarwal as its nodal officer, and the team was dispatched to Bhopal to do a study on the survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy.
Dr. H.K. Agarwal, during the study realized that a huge number of people were in need of psychiatric help and in contrast limited professional assistance was available. Depression, drug abuse and anxiety were found to be rampant among the survivors. India lacked a dedicated centre for treating drug abuse or addiction.
Based on the report ICMR established three centres in Delhi, Lucknow and Jodhpur for an in-depth study of drug addiction, the types, the causes and the cure, and other psychiatric conditions related to it. The study again revealed startling facts – not only was the menace of drug abuse spreading extremely fast, the people at large were not aware of the seriousness of the problem.
Dr. H.K. Agarwal’s mind was made and soon thereafter he rented a house in Indira Nagar, Lucknow and started his own psychiatric & de-addiction centre. It was a momentous moment for Lucknow, for the city got its fist such private centre to provide such cure and rehabilitation. The year was 1990.
Dr. H.K. Agarwal had a mere Rs 6000/- in his pocket, enough to manage two months rent of the house. Beds, tables and other equipment’s were either donated or provided on rent to the centre. Thus began a 10 year journey at the same address that catapulted the centre to acquire bigger and better premises at Ismailganj on Faizabad road became the new address of Nirvan Hospital and it had grown to provide 50 beds to the patients by the turn of the new century.
Born in a humble family, in a dusty village near Rampur, Dr. H.K. Agarwal is proud of his lineage and his childhood. A jute sack to use it as a sitting mat, a wooden tablet to serve as a writing table and the teaching under a tree. “It has been a wonderful 30 years of journey. It has been full of ups and downs, but the satisfaction of successfully curing the patient still remains a joyous and the most satisfying moment”.