Gopi Warrier is best known as an expert in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. He is also a playwright and poet, with many artistic and business ventures to his name.
Life and Career:
Gopi Warrier is the son of G.P. Warrier, chairman of Indian National Railways and Principal Secretary to the Government of India. His grandfather was M.R. Krishna Warrier, a poet in Kerala. Warrier studied English Literature in India; he then took an MBA at the London Business School, studying also at the French Business School (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales) near Paris, and at the New York University Graduate School.
Gopi Warrier has lived in London for over 40 years .
After graduating from London Business School in 1977 Gopi Warrier set up with Michael Thorpe and David McAlpine the Management Consulting Firm McAlpine Thorpe and Warrier Limited in London specialising in Management Consultancy for developing countries, international organisations, local governments and charities.
Mike Thorpe was an electrical engineer from Nottingham University and spent several years at Smiths Industries before LBS. His son is the well known film and theatre actor Stephen Campbell Moore who is married to Claire Foy the leading actress.
David McAlpine studied at Winchester and East Anglia before he came a banker at Morgan Grenfell . He is from the Sir Robert McAlpine Construction family though his own father was a senior British diplomat.
McAlpine Thorpe and Warrier’s clients include WHO, UNCTAD, European Commission, Commonwealth Secretariat and several charities like Spastics Society, Kings Fund, Maternity Alliance.
The consultancy is still active and has been assisting several local authorities in London.
The West’s first Ayurvedic Hospital:
In 2000, Warrier founded The Ayurvedic Charitable Hospital, with 30 beds, in London. The hospital was initially located on the third floor of the old Royal Masonic Hospital in Chiswick. Audrey Gillan, writing in the Guardian, reports Warrier as “concerned that Ayurveda’s image could become spoiled” at the same time as the “first charitable Ayurvedic hospital outside India and Sri Lanka” was being founded. According to Gillan, Warrier “believes that many are guilty of intellectual pilfering of Ayurvedic principles.”
According to the BBC, despite celebrities such as Cherie Blair, Naomi Campbell and Madonna “reported to be among those undergoing treatment”, Warrier did not see this as the hospital’s purpose. “The hospital’s founder, Gopi Warrier, whose family runs several Ayurvedic hospitals in the Indian state of Kerala, says the new hospital is not for rich celebrities but for ordinary people.” Warrier went on to dismiss any interest in having celebrities at his hospital, replying “The West has a tendency to dilute and distort and commercialise everything, including sacred knowledge”, said Warrier, according to the BBC report. According to Laura Barton, writing in The Guardian, Warrier “looks appalled by the sudden Ayurveda hysteria. He would rather it were not treated as the latest item on the cosmetic counter to be listed in the stockists pages of Vogue and Cosmo, alongside anti-cellulite creams and bio-thermal wraps.”
Similarly, two years later, Jo Revill, writing in The Observer, reports Warrier as criticising the West’s approach: “Ayurveda is being plundered. Its beliefs and practices are being hijacked and the public are being conned.” Warrier continued, Revill reported, “Our remedies are being pilfered – there’s no other word for it – in order for spas and clinics to jump on a New Age bandwagon and con people out of their money”.
In 2004, Warrier, David McAlpine and Lady Sarah Morritt (trustees of the Ayurvedic Charitable Hospital) founded Mayur, the “Ayurvedic University of Europe”, in London; it offers a B.Sc. degree in Ayurveda.
Plays and Poems:
Warrier is the author of seven books of poems, Varaha and Lament of JC. One of the Varaha poems, The Last And Final Call For Flight Meenakshi RR1, was performed on stage and filmed.
Warrier has staged several plays in London and Mumbai: God Sports, The Tenth Incarnation, Genesis of Karma-Three Faces of Evil, Siddhivinayak Saves Mumbai from Terror Attack.