From Mark Moodie, AgroHomeopathy Expert
Once again I must write about a pivotal agrohomeopath in the past tense. Dr Waris died in October. It seems that even agrohomeopaths are not immune to the dangers of cigarettes. Who knew?
When Dr Waris came to the first international gathering of Agrohomeopaths in the Forest of Dean in October 2011 I introduced him to Kaviraj. They somehow blagged a landlady to allow them to smoke in Dr Waris’ room and they sat happily in their fug arguing passionately about materia medica, difficult cases, and the agricutural application of their overwhelming mutual interest.
If I think back to that meeting it was perhaps iconic in that I think Kaviraj was jewish, and Dr Waris was certainly a muslim. All such inessential ephemera were not even a debating point. Two passionate and free internationalists were challenging each other to strive higher, and sparring like feisty boys. Great stuff.
I first came across Dr Waris when I was googling to see if anyone else was working with plants and homeopathy. I was skeptical at the extravagance of claims ascribed to Dr Waris’ in an article in the Pakistan Daily Times, whose first line suggested he was 80 years off the news. (“For the first time in the history of agricultural research, homeopathic pesticides/insecticides have been introduced as a potent tool for plant protection.”)
But I was also intrigued at the specific claims which suggested he might also be some years ahead of the field. “The efficacy of this Homoeopathic insecticide or pesticide is 99.9 percent.” I emailed Dr Waris a couple of times, but didn’t hear from him for the better part of a decade. Strangely the silence was broken whilst I was at a test match (international cricket) watching England play Pakistan. Above the noise of the crowd, poor mobile reception and finding my way into the Pakistani accent, we managed to arrange to meet. The next day, at the damp country railway station down the road from my house, I picked up Dr Waris. He was a vision unlike anything else that Lydney station can have seen before or since. Dr Waris has a lovely open smile and a genuine twinkle in his eye and it was clear that we could be friends right away. However, the second impression was provoked by his white pin-stripe suit, the large stones on his many rings, the cigarette on the long white cigarette holder, all borne through the Forest of Dean on spotless white patent-leather shoes.
Such artifacts, as much urban as of the subcontinent, are of zero lasting importance however striking, and they soon faded into the background as I drove him home to meet my family and discuss our area of interest. As my daughters took his nephew, Faried, down to the corner shop to get some Red Bull, Dr Waris and the oncologist who was travelling with him sat at our kitchen table on a cool summer day and shared tea. There he presented me with a small dossier about his most recent research concerning mealy bug on cotton with a mixture of remedies he called Ventage. It struck me as being a mark in the sand for our emerging discipline: good controls, independent testing and statistical analysis, and astounding success. Could this be the definitive ‘proof of concept’ for which I had been seeking?
If I had known more about Dr Iftikar Hussain Waris Shah’s background he should have been accorded more deference than I gave him on that first meeting. The Shah part of his name indicates that he is of the bloodline of The Prophet Mohammed – may blessings be upon him. However, since I work in a culture where dynasty and the ‘great man’ are not current concepts, I treated him as any other person who has made an effort to come to meet me. That friendly assumption of equality was well received and we have continued in such a casual vein ever since.
However, cultural differences have occasionally emerged in our times together. As part of the deference he inspires he often has people with him for whom it is an honour to assist him with simple tasks. Once, in a London hotel he was being dressed in one of his beautiful suits by Fawad. Whilst I straightened his collar and told him that now he was beautiful, I could joke that in my house we can dress ourselves when only 5 years old. Sometimes it was not so easy to bridge the cultural differences. At the first international meeting his style rubbed some other delegates up the wrong way. I had found my way through his occasional lapse into addressing people so I could meet the individual within, but others were not always willing to make that effort. I knew that he would have to spend much of his time as something like a teacher to devoted students because of his lineage, and am delighted that he never required that of me. I like to think he delighted in the relative anonymity.
A third time that the gulf in our circumstances comes to mind was when he returned to my house, this time driven in a car full of young acolytes. None of them would come into the house whilst Dr Waris and I talked despite my bidding. Instead these darkly-dressed twenty somethings prowled restlessly outside in their dark glasses, their hands busy with mobile phones and cigarettes. It felt like a movie set with a bodyguard on medium alert. That would also have been a rare site in my middle-class anglo-saxon country village.
Dr Waris was unstintingly generous to me. He sang to my children whom he called the Fairies, and brought lovely cottons as gifts. He listened and spoke with real attention and from a wealth of knowledge. No subject was out of bounds including international tensions, domestic Pakistani politics and politicians, biodynamics, homeopathy, and Ash die-back. We discussed Islamic mysticism, interfaith tolerance, the treatment of women in our cultures, but above all we talked homeopathy and agriculture. He gave his time most freely.
As Dr Waris succumbed to his lungs I should have been his guest in Lahore. We had planned to go over previous columns of the Plant Doctor and fill in the reasons for his prescriptions which he had given freely and reliably, if perfunctorily. As it is I have several hours of AV in which he discussed his rationale and essential approach. I will discuss with Dr Ahsan Waris and Dr Khalid Miraj how best to pass on this legacy.
My life is much the richer for having had Dr Waris as a fleeting companion and I regret only that I did not make more of the chances he gave me. Perhaps I can address that by passing one of the wishes that remain unrealized. It was at his prompting that the first international agrohomeopaths’ meeting was convened but he hoped that an association would gather around that work so that we could address the many common issues that must be addressed for it to prove itself worthy and permitted to address our ecological issues.
From Alan Schmukler, Chief Editor, Homeopathy for Everyone
Our much esteemed Plant Doctor, Dr. Iftikhar Waris passed away in Oct. 2014. He was a homeopath (Gold Medalist) and the only homeopath who had medical emergency outdoor and indoor facilities. He had been practicing and teaching for over 20 years in Lahore, Pakistan. He had served as principal for various homeopathy colleges and was most recently Principal and Chairman of Waris Shah Homeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Lahore. Dr. Waris was a member of the National Council for Homeopathy (Govt. of Pakistan). He was also Managing Director of W.S. Homeopathic Pharmacy and Research Centre, Lahore and Manager of the Research Centre of Agriculture (homoeopathic insect control, fertilizers etc.) He served as Medical Director of an addiction treatment centre and hospital in Lahore, a research centre for incurable diseases, a research centre for Hepatitis “B” & “C” and the Parapsychology Institute. Dr. Waris was consultant to the National Bank of Pakistan, the Punjab Seed Corp of Pakistan, P.C.S.I.R Laboratories and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. He was a member of the British Homeopathy Association and The Homeopathy Association of Sri Lanka.
For Hpathy, he very generously gave his time and attention to readers’ questions, tapping into his vast experience and intuitive knowledge of plant life and homeopathy. He was a close friend and mentor of Mark Moodie, a devotee of Agrohomeopathy who took over our column when V.D. Kaviraj passed away. Like Kaviraj, Dr. Waris was a person with a rare set of skills who was always giving to others. Such souls are to be treasured.