They are not mad!: Those who burn things & attack children, who support hatred, who spread the myth of love jihad, who kill in name of caste & religion ….


karni sena protest
One of the recent protests in India (Image          



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.

You can try to challenge your assumptions related to mental illness by reading here or here.

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.


It is a journey, which completes us in many ways….

Socks don't match!
Dear Son,
May your laughter remain full of life, honesty, and fun always..
May your smile remain as giving and charming as it is today…
May the sparkle in your eyes be there everyday….
May you always have reasons to express joy…
May you see your family around everyday…
May you always find something to do…
May you always find ways to express your thoughts and expectations…
May you never run out of people who can be trusted and those who can help you when needed….
May you always manage to balance your urge to be independent and the need to seek help …
May you always find courage to tell people when you feel tired and lonely…
May your cautious but determined journey continues towards everything you want…
May you always find your destination or your way back whenever you wander off…
May you always find your way back to hope…
May you discover millions of other things….
May you embrace your challenges and limitations with the same ease as you embrace us…..
May you inspire others to be like you just as you learn from them…
May we always have you…..
May you always remember that there were times you thought of us as ‘funny’…
May you always remember that you are loved…
I hope for all this even though I know
That as you grow…things will change.
We may seem boring and unavailable.
We may confuse you with our expectations.
We may not find time to smile at you or be with you.
You may want us to leave you alone at times.
We may not understand your decisions.
We may not be able to explain everything.
And yet I hope, may we always find ways to love, value, and understand each other.
It is a journey, which completes us in many ways.
And may all of us grow together.

Choose to contribute! Participate in Giving!



As a social work professional, it is not surprising when someone calls up or contacts me to ask about different organisations working in different fields. Sometimes, it is about donating money, sometimes about donating surplus from home and sometimes it is about volunteering, and sometimes it is about seeking help from specific organziations.

Let me focus on those who want to contribute money or/and volunteer their time or skills. Concerns about ‘whether my money/resources would be used properly’ is among the top ones I think. So, here is an opportunity for you  (although not the first or the last one!). Check out various organisations who are associated with fundraising event Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017 . Choose which ones would you like to support and do the needful. You will find the list of participating organisations here.

Basically, I am trying to encourage you to take another step and read up about the organizations who are doing good work. Of course, there are many more out there (who are not participating in this event) and you would hopefully get to know them too.

I would suggest- Don’t wait for your special days or birthdays to plan your contribution. You can do your bit anytime..starting now. Give! and Give back to society!

I  support AADI and Child Heart Foundation. 

You too…have a look and get to know more!

Thank you!




50 years of Department of Social Work, JMI (India)

This Short film has been created by the Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia as part of its Golden Jubilee Year celebrations. In 2017, The Department turned 50! Along with sharings by H.Y. Siddiqui Sir, Sajid Sir, Anjali Gandhi Mam, Kohli Sir, Gandhi Sir, Manoj Jha Sir, and other present and past faculty members of the Department, look out for MSW Batch 2002 rural camp photo at 08:20!

In an un-ideal world…

Source: humanrights

We hope to be understood and not to be often caught in misperceptions of the world.

We hope to be respected and not be abused, exploited, and seen with suspicion.

We hope to be loved and not hated.

We hope to be cared for and not treated in an inhuman way.

We hope to have at least our basic needs met and not struggle to provide for shelter, education, nutrition and health to ourselves and our loved ones.

We hope to hear what is good around us and not always what’s wrong with the world and us.

We hope to be accepted with our diversities and not be stigmatized and excluded.

We hope that people would laugh with us and not laugh at us.

We hope that even when people don’t like us, they don’t tell us about it (because then we would wonder why?).

We hope that when people live with assumptions, judgments, misperceptions about us, sometimes they would try to understand us more.

We hope that when we feel unsafe, we would know who would really stand with us.

We hope that people would not leave us all alone at times when we actually needed to be with someone.

We hope we are guided when we really need guidance.

We hope someone would guide those who seem to have lost their way.

We hope to have at least a few supportive relationships …

… few people who would come around when needed

…. few people that we could go to when we need a break

…..few who would ask how we are.

We hope people don’t get so busy that they don’t have time to sit with us.

We hope that as we get busy with our everyday routine and struggles, people would understand why we can’t be there for them every time.

We hope that life and people would be fairer to everyone and themselves.

We hope.

We fight for what we think is right because we hope that things can change.

Let us not give up hope in this un-ideal world.

Source: Kite Festival

Of everyday surprises and evolving capacities : My son :)

Yesterday, my son showed me how he could stand for few seconds without holding on to anything. While he has been standing and walking by holding furniture around him, he is yet practicing that art of standing straight from the sitting position.

Everyday, when I see him work hard towards the next milestones, I realise how probably all of us were wirewp_20170228_025d with the ability to work hard, practice everyday inspite of failures and challenges, and enjoy a sense of achievement even for the small wins! And then, something happens on the way while we are growing up as adults! We learn to give up, we become afraid of failures and we sometimes want to avoid the challenging routes to success (in whatever way we define success).

My son challenges many of my assumptions about his capacities, about all that he can do and adapt with. He was born with radial clubhand. While there were several milestones that I hoped he would achieve (and he has been achieving them!), I was also worried about various limitations that he may face due to his hand.

I wondered, ‘will he be able to clap?’. He would watch us clap and try to do the same but that would be without any sound. But soon he figured out the art of clapping! And there is sound too. Then I worried, ‘will he be able to sit without the fully functional right arm?’. And surely, when the time came, he did sit on his own. He practiced a lot and figured out his way.  Then I wondered, ‘ will he be able to crawl?‘. He had starting standing with support by then. And then I watched him practice the art of crawling slowly and steadily. First on the bed and then on the floor. And now, he crawls with speed!! He is 1 year old now. In the last few months, I also wondered, ‘how would he pick up things or throw things?’ And of course, he is doing all that. He does not hold his sipper on his own and drink water from it. But I hope he will figure out a way for that too. I am sure we will also need to figure out what all needs to be modified around him for his functionality.

But as of now, our son is adapting. He is using his left arm for most things as he has figured out that it does more things. So, all the ‘bye byes’ are with the left hand.He would reach out generally with the left arm to take things out from the drawers. But he generally uses both arms, especially when he needs to stand while holding on to things.

I am waiting to see how things evolve, how he finds his way around things and how he adapts! How he would ride his bicycle and how would he apply brakes.

It is lovely to watch him practice and achieve his goals! Last three-four weeks, he was practicing the method of bringing himself to the sitting position from a sanding one. I watched him throw himself on the floor (that is what I call it but he was actually trying to sit) at least 50 times a day!! But he never gave up. He would get up and again try to sit! And 28th Feb morning, he stood up and then sat quietly on the floor. He had reached his goal. He did not practice for it again. He knew he had achieved what he was trying to do. I have seen the same pattern with some of his other activities as well. As soon as he realises that he ‘has done it!’, he ends the practice time. That happened when he managed to use the comb one day in the ‘right’ way. He did not try to comb his hair again after that, not too often at least. Obviously, when he achieves one goal, he moves on to something else!…Something that would be his next goal and would require hours of practice time!

He practices the words ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ and ‘oobuu’ and ‘ooguu’ [and other words that I can’t spell!! 🙂 ] these days but not sure if some of these words apply to the two human beings around him! I am waiting to see his reaction on the day when he realises that! 🙂

The joy of small things!!