Archives at the National Centre for Biological Sciences
Public Lecture Series
27th edition
Monthly talks framed around explorations in and around archives. Discussions by artists, archivists, historians, teachers, journalists, scientists and others.
Of Mind and Matter 
Alok Sarin, Sitaram Bhartia Hospital
Sanjeev Jain, NIMHANS
in conversation with Zehra Mehdi
Friday, Jul 17 2020. 4:00pm.
The Partition of India was a partitioning of minds as much as it was a geographical division. But there has been little discussion on the psychological scars it caused. 
We examine the partitioning of human experience and its impact on social life and psychological health. We track, through various approaches, the breakdown of civic life and society during the cataclysmic event, the collapse of medical services, the violence against citizens and the reflection of these events in writings of that era. The talk will also touch upon the intriguing history of mental health institutions in the country and their records. Our discussion is based on our book, The Psychological Impact of the Partition of India (Sage, 2018).
Above all, we hope to draw attention to the urgent need for a humane understanding of persons with mental illness and psychological distress in the context of their lived history as much as their socio-cultural identities and roots. 
Sanjeev Jain is Professor of Psychiatry, and heads the molecular genetics laboratory at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). He is also an adjunct faculty at the NCBS. He did his graduate studies at the University of Delhi and postgraduate studies at NIMHANS, and was a Commonwealth Fellow at the Cambridge University, UK, where in addition to learning research methods in genetics, he developed an interest in the history of psychiatry. He has been researching the history of mental health services in India, from the colonial period to the contemporary times.
Alok Sarin did his graduate and postgraduate studies at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, specialised in psychiatry and has been in active clinical practice for the last 30 years. He has also been particularly interested in areas of psycho-social rehabilitation and in involving the larger community in public discourses on mental health and disease. Sarin has been a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti House, and was awarded the fellowship for research on the mental health aspects of communal conflict. He has also been actively involved in researching the history of psychiatry in India, with a special interest in the history of the mental hospitals.
Moderator: Zehra Mehdi is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and a doctoral candidate at Columbia University. Her research interests are political psychology, religion and identity politics, Partition literature, violence and trauma, and psychoanalytic anthropology.