De-colonizing the Indian Mental health system: Building Inclusion

India is said to be a post-colonial state, and a part of the Commonwealth. Indian mental health care system, like Indian Railways, has an indelibly colonial imprint. It left behind a policy environment which is stuck in a time warp of mental health laws and mental asylums. We won freedom decades ago, but are yet to de-colonize our minds and escape the colonial imprints in policy designs and in public consciousness.

Some critical thinkers who experienced colonial forces in Europe, for example, the Martinican revolutionary turned politician, Amie Cesaire , have talked about colonialism as an invasive relationship between individuals, groups and institutions, rather than as a historical epoch which has passed us by and of which we can be free. Modern cities are built on a process of such invasions. Cesaire forewarned of the extraordinary violence, primitiveness and depravity, inherent to modernization... erasure of the indigenous, overwhelming presence of capitalism, mass destruction and desecration of nature, street violence and unparalleled human cruelty. Modernization is infact profoundly colonizing, embedding predatory designs deep into human mentality.

Bapu Trust builds on the flimsy personal memories and history of its founder . But that history spans the entire period of moving from a new nation state until the present: The growth of Indian metropolises, stock markets, flyovers, fast lanes and highways, skyscrapers, slums, IT, movement of peoples, land grabs, agrarian fiascos, credit cards, mortgage, size zero and cosmopolitan cultures. But, as Leonard Cohen sang, "Everybody knows the fight was fixed, the poor stay poor, the rich get rich". The number of mental institutions grew from a few dozens to a few thousands, and the state handed over the constitutional powers, of arresting people with disabilities, to the private sector.

It has required "Happiness economists" to remind us of the simple fact of our essential human nature to be happy. That is how far and how long we have allowed our colonization to go .Bapu Trust exists to remind us of a collective responsibility and the will to de-colonize . Romantic as it may sound, we remind of the need for a new ethic of Inclusion , that may have spiritual overtones .

Our flagship programs:

Seher- To create emotionally sustainable care giving communities. The service program program serves about 30% of Pune low income population through a comprehensive urban mental health program. It is in a phase of speed growth, through replication, partnerships and capacity building. [open]

ABT course: We offer an integrated Arts Based Therapy Course, for Asia nationals. [open]

TCI Asia : "Transforming Communities for Inclusion - Asia" It is an pan Asia platform for people with disabilities to come together, to influence national policies in Asia on Inclusion. The platform advocates for the realization of the Convention on the rights of persons with Disabilities

Bapu Trust foundational videos

Bapu Trust Anthem