one of a kind: Dr Sanjay Deshpande with Dr Mahindar Watsa
Today, we have lost our mentor.
Dr Mahinder Watsa was a great human being. He helped and guided most of us (doctors) working in field of human sexuality. My association with him was more than three decades old. He was like a father figure for me and many contemporary sexologists in the world. I enjoyed special affection and mentorship of Dr Watsa.
For me, he was next to God in the field of sexology. In 1997, he motivated me to join this field and encouraged me to keep working in it. I still remember the hospitality I enjoyed in his spacious villa in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park whenever I used to visit. I consider the time spent with him, listening to his wisdom, and learning from him as the best days of my life as a lifetime student of human sexuality.
Apart from being an excellent doctor, Dr Watsa had great organizational skills. He pioneered global institution like a Council of Sex Education and Parenthood International (CSEPI). He motivated me to work for this organization of which I am the present chairperson. Dr Watsa was our founder and president and with his demise, we will dissolve this post forever now.
He was a great ambassador of India’s sexual progressiveness and wisdom. Once, he asked me to organize a sex education and parenthood conference in Khajuraho. We all know that carvings on the inner and outer walls of Khajurao temples depict lessons in sex education. But, with the conference held in 2011, doctors from many countries in the world also came to know about India’s heritage. The conference was a great success.
In a country where discussing sex openly is still a taboo for many, Dr Watsa, son of a military doctor, enjoyed a fan following that makes him a true legend. We must keep in mind that when Dr Watsa chose to became the ‘Vatsyayana’ of modern India, the Internet did not exist and access to sex education was very limited.
Dr Watsa came to Nagpur on three occasions. He attended the National Conference of Sexology twice in Nagpur — in 2007 and 2016. I was the organizing secretary for both. Apart from medical conferences, once he came as a chief guest on Doctors’ Day in 2008 when I was secretary of IMA Nagpur. I last met him on February 26 this year at his Mumbai home.
Dr Watsa will be remembered as a great doctor, an honest man, a witty writer, and a Guru for entire generation of sexologists. His laughs, clarity, love, will keep inspiring us for ages to come.
(Dr Sanjay Deshpande is a senior sexologist in Maharashtra and chairperson of CSEPI, the organization founded by Dr Watsa)