It is not rare that someone around us would perform an act which would seem irrational and so unreasonable that we wonder, ‘what was going on their mind when they did that!?’ And it is also not rare that , often, we would label those irrational and unreasonable acts as signs of madness, lunacy, insanity (whatever word you prefer). But all these terms are also often used for people with mental illness.
Do you really think that anything and everything can come under the purview of mental illness? Do you think that when people work against humanity, and kill in the name of religion and caste, the sole reason for that could be mental illness? Even in our need to find simple answers for complex problems, can everything be linked with mental health problems of people in this country or the world?
If someone does not even want to recognise the other as a human being worthy of respect and rights, then do you really think that the problem lies with some chemical imbalance in that person’s brain? When illogical/mythical and fake news is spread and people seem to believe firmly in those (to the point of seeming delusional), do you really think that the diagnosis of schizophrenia would be the correct way to understand the solution?
NO! In fact, when you apply such assumptions and labels of madness to those who work against humanity, you are only making things difficult for people with mental illness. You are, in fact, further propagating the myth that people with mental illness are unpredictable, violent and always irrational. By doing this, you are promoting exclusion and stigma associated with people with mental illness.
I urge you to differentiate between
Group 1: people with mental illness who are in fact persons with disability (as per India’s law) and need access to entitlements, rights and services like any other person.
Group 2: people who become violent , unreasonable and work with the objective of harming others who may be different from them (they are not mad!); people who are so fixed on building one nation without respective diversity (don’t call them delusional or with OCD!); people who believe so much in their opinions that they don’t want to see the evidence against their opinions.
The Group 2 is not a homogenous group just as Group 1 is not. But I think that Group 2 probably enjoys a lot more space and protection in our country (and probably across the world) as compared with Group 1.
And as I said before, those who burn things & attack children, who support hatred, who spread the myth of love jihad, who kill in name of caste & religion- the reason that these people do such things is not related to mental illness (although some of them might have because anyone can have mental illness). Please don’t use the terms ‘madness, lunacy, insanity’ loosely so that you don’t promote stigma that people with mental illness already face. You need to understand a lot more about complex problems and not simplify everything to a diagnosis.