08 Helping others is bliss

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:56 AM ]
Indian Magsaysay 2018 winner, Bharat Vatwani, makes a difference to the world.

Santosh's family believed he was dead. Three months after the 25-year-old mentally ill man disappeared, in Nanded city of India's Maharashtra state, a garlanded picture of him hung on the front of their home.

So, when he suddenly arrived, there was quite a commotion.

His elderly parents cried with joy, and Santosh's 20-year-old wife prayed loudly to give thanks.

Mumbai psychiatrist Bharat Vatwani, a winner of the Magsaysay Award 2018, recalls that the young woman changed from the white dress of a widow into a colourful sari and applied a 'bindi', worn by married women, to her forehead.

A police patrol team found Santosh, not his real name, wandering on a Mumbai street, and took him to Vatwani's 'Shraddha Rehabilitation Foundation' in Karjat, on the outskirts of the city.

He is one of the more than 7,000 mentally-ill people from the streets that Vatwani, his psychiatrist wife Smitha, and their team have reunited with families, or cared for, across the nation during the past three decades.