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Social Revolution  

Sambandh celebrates International Mental Health Week.
Bhopal:MMNN: 08 October 2017

The International Mental Health Awareness Week (October 4-10) culminates on the International Mental Health Day on October 10, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about and highlight their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
During this week, Sambandh Health Foundation has been and is organising Workshops and Plays, Games, Other Activities, and Talks. This year, these are planned around the recently passed Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
A play presented by Sambandh team at the psychiatry OPD of the Civil Hospital in Gurugram, it focused on the unheard voice of people living with severe mental illness- their struggle and triumphs. There was a sensitisation workshop with the medical staff of Alpha Healthcare clinic in Basai village. The workshop focused on the perceptions, issues, stigma and early warning signs of Mental Illness. This session looked at prospective active engagement of community in recovery of people living with mental illness. A workshop was organised at Ayush Educational Institute in Amar Colony, Gurugram. The sessions were held for the para medical staff and students of the institute, where various aspects of mental illness were covered through interactive games and discussions. Sambandh Health Foundation is a charitable trust doing pioneering work in the area of mental health, which is a major problem in India. Some 10% of the population suffers from mental illness, and 3% with severe mental illness which means there are 40 million persons with severe mental illness in India! Sambandh works its their unique recovery model, and advocate with and provide programs and services for people with mental disorders, their families and caregivers, and to enhance and promote the mental health of individuals and communities. Beginning with the mentally ill and their families, it encourages them to realise the condition, overcome the perceived stigma and encourages them to seek medical (psychiatric) help. In this process, Sambandh works with families, the mentally ill and society to assist with care and recovery, helping the persons with mental illness come out of their self-imposed worlds and become integrated with the community and society. This is done through them regaining their self-esteem, interacting, relationships, recreation and tasks. Further, Sambandh has been running a village mental health programme, and now a home for community living and jobs to completely assimilate the persons back into society. Throughout this, there is constant interaction with psychiatrists in the area. In all this, it works will a well-known Canadian professional, Nancy Beck, who is an advisor to Sambandh. Sambandh addresses mental illness, promotes mental health and enables those affected to lead a fuller life.

Report by a team of concerned citizens following a visit to the areas under submergence of Narmada in Dhar and Barwani.
Bhopal:MMNN: 7 Aug 2017

On Aug 4, 5 and 6, 2017 a team of concerned citizens visited some villages in Madhya Pradeshthat have been affected by theraising of the height of SardarSarovar dam in Gujarat.The villages include those coming under submergence and those identified by various agencies to rehabilitate the PAF (Project affected families). Salha village in Dharampuri tehsil that witnessed frenetic construction activity with tin shades being erected to settle project displaced persons has at present a small percentage of people meant to be relocated to the site. The present status of activity shows basic amenities like regular water supply, drainage, electricity supply, toilets etc would need quite some time to reach the colony - a major disincentive for the PAF to shift to the new location. In Salha and another village Nimola some PAF have accepted the proposal to reallocate but they are still not prepared to give up claims on their original property till basic infrastructure like roads and sewage disposal facilities are ready.A plot allotted to a Muslim woman (Divorced for the last 8 to 10 years) with 2 young children has Adivasi burial ground on it. Almost all areas, earmarked/allotted are much below the road level, and need a lot filling before taking up construction. This is besides the extra road for foundation in the black cotton soil. Submergence would turn a large area into an island with no approach bridge. In a couple of other villages near Dharampurithe area identified for resettlement is a large stretch of unlevelled slushy land unfit for immediate construction activity. The black cotton soil that runs deep in the area discourages construction activity at a cost envisaged by the government. A house built on the black cotton soil will cost 50 per cent more than the normal. A visit to the original abodes of the PAF reveals the reasons for the hostility to governments haphazard rehabilitation norms. A three-month compensation package of Rs 20000 + 60000 = 80000 has been fixed, irrespective of the size, need (medicine, medical treatment etc.) of the families who opt not to avail of temporary three-month shelters. Even a temporary shelter of the same size cannot be accepted irrespective of the size of the family. Ekalwara in Manawar Tehsil has different flood level marks drawn to bring some houses under submergence and exclude others arbitrarily. For a haweliowned a large undivided family of JagdishSingh Mandloi the government has quoted Rs 12000 as compensation, a pittance by any standards. Some much smaller houses are also being offered the same compensation. Compensation for land lost can never be the same, irrespective of the size. Another example of flawed planning is seen at the rehabilitation site of Nisarpur. 30 families originally located in the area have been rendered landless to make room for the prospective arrivals from five other villages. These families are now running from pillar to post to get compensation through land or finance. A large percentage of the proposed resettlement sites in this area are without regular water supply despite years of existence. Nisarpur, a large village of 10 thousand people claimed to be the model of rehabilitation activity by the government shows that the work in progress will need months to finish. The ensuing process of rehabilitation could take years. An alert for hazardous consequences of locating some families in the tin shades came from Nisarpur where 3 persons were electrocuted while working on electricity supply line. All it would need is a minor exposure of live wire against tin to cause numerous causalities. ChhotaBarda in Anjar Tehsil is said to have been mostly evacuated if one were to go by the governments version. Though the villagers live in tension but the evacuation is only marginally completed. The administration tried to shift a school to a new rehabilitation site. It retraced its steps on realising that the facilities were abysmally low at the new site. The level and the volume of discrepancies clearly reflect a long-time neglect and therefore it will now need several months to intensive effort to complete the rehabilitation process, including the revival and enlargement of the role of GRA for quicker grievance reddresal. A wing either independent or under the GRA, for field verification and reporting needs to be created urgently to connect with the GRA and the other agencies involved. The project affected families say they were being coerced to sign papers (VachanPatra) to forsake claim on their original property even before their rehabilitation. There appears to be a total mismatch between the NBA and the government officers, whereas both swear by truth. Only a third party, legally equipped, can help resolve the issues involved. The government's claims on preparedness for resettlement are supported by a large set of photographs of various community projects like schools, PHCs, Community centres, water tanks and houses. They are obviously picked up selectively from diverse locations not related to the areas where relocation is due. But there has been glaring mismatch in the government's claim regarding the work at rehabilitation sites and the teams observations. The team comprised Shri S C Behar, former Chief Secretary to Government of Madhya Pradesh, ShriArunGurtoo, former Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh, Shri L S Hardenia, Senior Journalist Columnist and author and ShriChandrakant Naidu, Former Regional Editor, Hindustan Times, Indian Express and former Executive Editor Free Press Journal.

Bhopal:MMNN: JULY. 31, 2017

I happened to visit an old age home in my city, for attending the birthday celebration of my friends son. Though the celebrations went well and we thoroughly enjoyed the company of all the oldies here, but I felt something missing, leaving some unanswered questions in my mind, which I thought of penning down. A smile on their wrinkled faces and their lively charisma could hardly conceal the eternal pain in their last stages of life, despite the availability of materialistic comforts. They were still missing the company of their beloved children and loved ones, whom they loved from the bottom of their hearts and sacrificed a lot for their happiness. Some resided in the Apna Ghar, a home for the elderly by choice, while some were abandoned by their children, giving them no choice but to choose an old age home. Some came here out of despair while for some; circumstances played a vital role in bringing them here. It is rightly said that Parents are the bones on which Children cut their teeth. A lot has been talked about how tough parenting is and how much it demands, still the parent always selflessly contribute for their children. Parents consider them as their own piece of heart, and care so much for them, love them, caress them, cater to their needs and ensure their transformation to as a better human being and in this long process they eventually become old. Our life as a human being is marked by successive changes beginning from gestation and culminating into the death bed travelling through a life cycle phases like infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and senescence. In this stage we gradually begin losing our vital mental physical capacities, which is the onset of ageing with time. Unlike earlier generations, when joint family culture was a mandate of the society, it has now become the relics of the past. Now, old and elderly are considered as a liability, which is possibly one of the biggest disadvantages of so called progressive modern society. Many questions strike our mind when we think upon it as a human being, Have we really become so mean and selfish Have we become so busy and self centered that we cannot invest even small portion of our time, love and money for those who had given their entire life, affection and money for us. Are we not abandoning our own creators During the visit, I took this opportunity to dig in to the lives of a few people there, and I was in a way happy that they chose to reside in the old age homes, rather than being subjected to the torture given by their own children.
When fate takes a call:
In the case of Blossom Singh Verma, fate played an important role. Her life turned topsy turvy after her husband was cheated in business and suffered huge loss. Marriage was never in my mind. I always wished to serve my parents who were ailing and wanted to be with them. Then my husband came with a proposal that even my parents can stay along with us so on the insistence of my family, I agreed to get married to him. I have a son and a daughter. Everything was running fine, we were well off and my husband had his business. Unfortunately, after we moved to Bhopal, my husband suffered a major loss in business. In that depression he just left us. I then suffered a paralytic stroke and my daughter became the leading lady of our house. She used to take care of her job and look after me and also bear the expenses of her younger brother, Blossom said. Then, she got an opportunity to work in Pune, which she was planning to resist because of my illness. My son is still pursuing his studies and I did not want to burden him more. So we decided that I move into an old-age home so that my children can first achieve their heights and then we will move in again together, she added.
Losing their loved ones:
A poet, a violinist and a lawyer a member of the family who didnt wish to be named, hailed from a wealthy peasants family from Hoshangabad. He completed his studies from Itarsi and came to Bhopal to practice law. Talking about his story he says, I am a man of my words. I went to Nagpur University to do law and also learnt short hand typing. My love for music, bought me to All India Radio where I worked for several years. I have four children, two sons and two daughters. After I left my job, post an argument with the IAS in charge, I practised criminal law, he said. All was good till my sons got married. Both my daughter-in-laws started demanding my property being transferred in the names of my sons. However, I opined that it be evenly distributed among all my children including my daughters. A few years after this argument began, my wife fell ill and eventually passed away three years ago. On the very same day when we concluded her last rites, I was utterly shocked when my sons came and asked me to be live my own life separately. But I had no other option. This is how, I came here. I loved my wife, more than I loved myself. With my sons leaving me, and my wife leaving abode, I feel as though, my life had no meaning and I began questioning my existence. I was so appalled that I immersed all my trophies, medals and certificates in the holy Narmada river along with the ashes of my wife and here I am waiting for death. These experiences have shaken me deeply and has questioned : Does humanity still exists or it is slowly dying its death & a day will come when there will be no room for elders? There is a serious need for the society to have a relook into this issue from humanity perspective and it is the moral duty of everyone make the elders feel good in the last stages of their life, when they need us the most.


Dr. Smita Gupta is MBA ,Phd (Management)Dr .Gupta served an Director at management Institute.Her interests include working for child Sexual Abuse,Bachpan Bachao Andolan.She is also active member of the Think-Tank Forward india Forum.

Metro Mirror - Forward India Forum and Deeshanjali celebrated Valentine's Day at ApnaGhar
Bhopal:MMNN: Feb. 15, 2017

Metro Mirror, Forward India Forum & Deeshanjali members celebrated Valentine's Day at the ApnaGhar oldage Home. On this occassion the inmates cut the cake and Biscuit packets were distributed.

Mrs. Madhuri Mishra who founded and managing the ApnaGhar introduced the inmates and some of the inmates recited poems and done Acting to propose the elder Woman. The inmates include the Judge and a doctor abandoned by their family.

Mrs. Mishra told to MetroMirror, "we enjoy the company of elderly people and live as a big family. My husband, daughter and Bahu all help me to manage the ApnaGhar".
Dr. Anoop Swarup and Mr. Shiv Harsh Suhalka presented a shawl to Mrs. Mishra as a token of respect to her efforts to keep the inmates hapy and healthy.
On this occasion Deeshanjali founder Mr. Vijay Patidar, Mr. Vikas Saxena and the Volunteers were present.