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  • Writer's picturePoonam Dutta (Satyamshakti)

Why India doesn't have psychologists anymore?

Does the title surprise you? Do you feel like throwing facts & figures at me? Tell me that every hospital worth its chambers & beds has psychologists in-house or on the panel? That there are institutes & universities all around us that teach the subject & thousands pass out every year? And begin practicing as psychologists. 

The various workshops and conferences held on topics related to psychology where people present papers and dissertations lull us into a false sense of comfort that all is well with the world and we have a crowd of psychologists waiting at every nook and corner ready to take care of people who might be having mental health issues.

And yes, what about so many people pursuing and completing doctoral studies and acquiring Doctorates every year? But the question that we need to ask is: What are the new findings and discoveries that have been shared by such worthies? What research have they done that has made a difference in people’s lives even as the number of Indians suffering from mental health issues grows every year?

The fact is that nothing pathbreaking has come out of the community for several years now. We are repeating the lessons taught to us by Western researchers and merely recycling that knowledge. It’s a whole lot of “old wine in new bottles.” 

The community is guilty of developing newer versions of “you scratch my back, I scratch yours.” A Mutual admiration society that keeps growing by the day and is excelling at encouraging mediocrity.

The reason I say that India has no psychologists anymore is that our institutions do not encourage original thinking. Our ancient scriptures have been declared a no-go land whereas we know that they contain knowledge that must be explored.

Let’s take a look at the tomes that constitute our Itihaas. We all know that three young people went into “vanvaas” for 14 years. How were they counseled? Who did do? Who took care of Dashrath as he lay grieving and died, in the end? 

Also, what about the mental strength of the two young people left behind? On what basis were the roles divided between Bharat and Shatrughan? For a full fourteen years? What about the two young children of Ram and Sita? We make a lot of noise about single parenting today, but what about those two young boys?

Has anyone explored the Bhagwad Geeta on the role of a counselor and a psychologist that Bhagwan Shri Krishna took on when Arjun expressed reluctance at going into battle? Has anyone even thought of doing so? 

The fact is that the role Krishna took on wasn’t easy. There was an ace performer, a hero who was backing off from the work he truly excelled at. 

The reason lies in the fact that we have been brainwashed at seeing Ramayan, Ramcharitmanas, Mahabharat & Bhagwad Geeta as books of “religion.” What is this reluctance that leads us into compartmentalizing everything, restricting them to silos whereas life is not like that, at all?

It is because of such thinking that streams like Yoga & Ayurveda are reduced to being “Hindu” practices and hence untouchable, even reprehensible by a vast section of the global population including those from India. The scientific advancements of our ancient sages are mocked at, dismissed often as mumbo-jumbo, and the so-called “Western scientific thinking” given preference. 

The fact is that as long as we keep confining ourselves to such thinking we will not advance intellectually. The rot in the system is such that we can’t claim to have produced a thinker like Chanakaya and it’s been several centuries since he lived. Meanwhile, “Tsunzu’s Art of War” wins applause all over including India.

So, do you now know why I say that India has stopped producing psychologists? 

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