Liver was considered to be an inseparable part of the gut, when the Indian Society of Gastroenterology was formed in 1960 as a breakaway group from the Association of Physicians of India. Possibly the parent association was unable to accommodate the requirement of those who then thought that Gastroenterology had advanced to a level that justified a separate existence. The new Society fulfilled its promise by organizing excellent academic programs year after year. Nearly a decade and half later, during the annual meeting of 1973 in the cool surrounding of Ootacamund, some gastroenterologists led by Dr. SK Sama of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and Dr. DV Datta of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, felt that liver too deserved a separate existence. Two years later, a separate liver study group was formed, along with similar groups representing other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
These groups were allotted 90-minute parallel sessions during the annual meeting.In 1979, Dr. FP Antia led like-minded colleagues to register a society named Liver Study Group of India at Mumbai. The registration document bore the signatures of Dr. Antia, Dr. HG Desai and Dr. RH Kalro. The Liver Study Group of India in 1992 changed its name to the Indian Association for the Study of the Liver, popularly known as INASL, to fall in line with international nomenclature for liver associations, with no basic changes in its constitution, bye laws or other features. The association has grown from strength to strength with contributions from pioneers such as Drs.
Antia, Desai, Madangopalan and others. The Association has also instituted several Awards & Fellowships for young scientists, participated in campaigns for containing the menace of hepatitis B and C, suggesting a vaccination schedule for hepatitis B in the Expanded Program of Immunization for the country and holding consensus meetings on hepatic encephalopathy, hepatitic C virus, hepatocellular carcinoma, etc.
The INASL today is a vibrant body constantly striving to serve the cause of liver diseases, stimulating research work, providing practice guidelines and guiding therapeutic decisions. It holds the Indian Flag aloft in the company of other international liver associations and does it possibly much better than many other national medical associations. One hopes that the desire to excel continues year after year in the new millennium.