It’s true that “Future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, poke at it, question it, and turn it inside out.” And how best to do it but engage in healthy discussions with experts in seminars? Indeed, seminars not only expand one’s knowledge base but also ensure constructive criticism and opinions to pour out of logical minds. It is through this medium also, that prejudices and misconceptions crack under pressure.
Recently, a seminar titled “Tabooed” brought to the forefront a highly contentious issue – that of rising rape-culture around the world, and the “taboo of the madhouse”. Chaired by Vasu Primlani (a professional comedian and corporate trainer), and Dr. Alok Sarin, (a practising clinical psychiatrist in New Delhi), the session fore-grounded the prejudices existing about rape, molestation, and child abuse. A wide topic, but nonetheless expanded upon beautifully by the Speakers. While the latter spoke about ‘madhouses’ from around the world, the former gave vivid details pertaining to child abuse, rape in prison, and the rising rape culture in general.
Recalling the issues discussed in the two-hour session, it is surprising how little society has changed with respect to mental institutions, even with two centuries of research work and medical experiments underway to support the mentally challenged. Regarded as the ‘scum of society’, differently-abled patients find it impossible to see a new day without being subjected to emotional, mental, and physical torture, even now. Between over-crowded rooms and unsympathetic hospital staff to unhygienic sanitation facilities, rape cases, and occasional physical abuse, the patients seem to be leading a doubly traumatic life. With mental institutions situated outside Delhi’s borders in 1800s – signifying perhaps, the need to create a barrier between ‘normal’ people and ‘abnormal’ people – to a handful of hospitals aimed at providing support to mentally ill patients but failing to do so miserably, it is absolutely shameful as to how medical sensitization is so late in coming. After all, ill health is not a matter of personal choice; it can happen to anybody, at any point in life, and the urgency for a more sensitive and dignified approach to this remains a top-most concern.
Not surprisingly, therefore, the issue of rape, too, stands unchallenged by concerned authorities, and stringent actions against the attacker remain feeble. However, Vasu Primlani advised a different route to tackle the matter – having had a close encounter with rape and prison; she considered it more useful to sensitize the attacker towards the crime committed through a series of psycho-analytical sessions, instead of him/her harbouring a sense of vengeance and hatred for the complainant, as seems to be the case lately.
Why They Are Important
Needless to say, the information given out through this seminar was an eye-opener. It not only provoked the audience to wrack their minds over certain problems, but allowed them to talk out their doubts and counter-arguments in a detailed fashion. What seminars provide is undoubtedly an unparalleled experience – one where curious minds get together to discuss and debate on pertinent topics related to anything and everything.
And as to why seminars ought to be on the to-do list of college-goers like us, is self-explanatory in itself now.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.