Dr. Tania Saili Bakshi
In 1688, Johannes Hofer, a Swiss doctor, for the first time mentioned in his medical dissertation a syndrome of severe homesickness, which he expounded as “the sad mood originating from the desire to return to one’s native land”. He coined the phrase ‘Nostalgia.’ Those inflicted by the ‘disease’ were mostly students from the Republic of Berne studying in Basel; Swiss natives working in Germany and France, and Swiss soldiers fighting overseas. The obvious symptoms of this illness brought about a loss of interest in the present and included: acquiring a sudden listless attitude, hallucinating and even a confused mingling of the past with the present. Patients suffered from bouts of depression and gloom often leading to weaknesses and in some cases, even death, “a cerebral disease of essentially demonic cause”1 as Hofer summarized it.