For the second-largest populated country in the world, India is surprisingly squeamish when it comes to talking about sex. Famous sexologist Dr Mahinder Watsa, who passed away today, stood out for being someone who spoke about it openly, humorously and empathetically. He was 96.
Born in Kolkata in 1924, Watsa grew up all across India courtesy of his father, a medical researcher in the British army who was posted in places across the country. Watsa chose to follow his father’s footsteps and earned his medical degree with a specialisation in obstetrics and gynaecology. While practicing, he also worked as a columnist, dishing out medical advice and authoring health columns in women’s magazines such as Femina, Flair and Trend. In the course of his work, as a doctor and columnist, he realised how woefully unaware a multitude of Indians were about sex. In 1974, Watsa proposed that the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) introduce a sexual counselling and education program, which led to them starting India’s first sex education, counselling and therapy centre.
In 2005, at the age of 80, Watsa took on the mantle as a columnist for Mumbai Mirror’s Ask the Sexpert, which easily became one of the best things about the daily. Watsa’s witty, irreverent and forthright replies earned him fans across the country, as he painstakingly doled out advice on a gamut of issues ranging from erectile dysfunction to birth control, masturbation to myths surrounding virginity and more. His agony uncle column on all things sex made him so popular that filmmaker Vaishali Sinha made him the topic of her documentary, Ask the Sexpert, which debuted at the Mumbai Film Festival in 2017.
From 2005 to December 19, 2020, when the Mirror published its final daily print, Watsa wrote his daily column without a break! So delightfully cheeky yet educational was he, that some of his best advice has been compiled by many publications and fans.
Image courtesy: Dr Mahinder Watsa’s official Facebook page