Vandana Gopikumar

Vandana Gopikumar.JPG

Mending minds, constructing care

The recent news about the alleged torture and killing of a resident in a Mental Health Centre in Peroorkada, Thiruvananthpuram, has yet again shocked the nation. From time immemorial, mental hospitals seem to be places that perpetuate atrocities and violate human rights instead of heal minds. In the 14th century, the first mental hospital, Bedlam, was set up in London in the absence of any scientific method of caring. What began as a refuge or asylum ended up being associated more with cruelty and ill-treatment of the mentally ill — a tradition one finds hard to break away from even today.

Why I will not make it to Parliament

The buzz around prospective candidates for the post of the President of India has caught everyone’s attention. A while ago there was a flutter over actor Rekha’s brief appearance in the Rajya Sabha as a member of Parliament.

What makes an inclusive society?

We Indians pride ourselves on being evolved, spiritual and cultured. And yet, when the rights and dignity of Jeeja Ghosh and Anjalee Sharma are violated, we remain mute spectators. We fail them, repeatedly, as a state and as a society. The humiliation, rejection and emotional turmoil that people with disabilities are routinely subjected to cannot ever be compensated suitably. The sooner we recognise that, the faster we will change for the better.
It’s Jeeja today, who has deplaned from a SpiceJet flight; it was Rajeev Rajan not so long ago, who wasn’t even allowed to board a flight because of his disability.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.