Debjani Dey is dead. As dead as a doornail. Her father too is dead and gone. Only her brother, Partha Dey is “Officially” alive, tucked away in the Pavlov Mental Hospital.
The media, after flashing gory details of rotting, maggot infested skulls and dwelling at length on angles of sexual perversion have called it a day – moving on to more “pressing” stories. Selfies have been clicked in front of the so called haunted house of Robinson Street, posted and shared. Our initial obsession – of peeping voyeuristically into the lives of the Deys too, have waned. The police, in the headlines for all the wrong reasons too, have had their brush with fame, having “solved” the case.
For all intents and purposes, then, it is over. But is it? Think for a second about the hapless Partha Dey. His father committed suicide. His sister starved herself to death. He is now in Governmental Hospital , labeled as a Schizophrenic/ Psychotic and what not. Legally, he does not know where he stands and in all probability, is condemned to spend the rest of this life doing the rounds of the courts.
And to cap it all, society has already passed its judgment. The media, in search of “stories that sell” have reported all sorts of wild surmises. Storms have been brewed over teacups with total disregard to even the basic dignity as a human being that Partha Dey is entitled to. The stigma has struck. There has been gross violation of Human Rights in every step – forced treatment , making his personal details available to public/ Media , lack of confidentiality, to name a few…
What will happen when he finally becomes a “free man”? Will the society that is in a perpetual search for salted tidbits, let him live in peace? Will, by getting a sane certificate from Pavlov let him overcome the insanity that surrounded the case? Will we, who condemned him for the sake of cheap entertainment, accept him for all that he is worth? Will the society that was at its cruelest best in discovering his schizophrenia or sexual deformities show its compassionate face, leave alone help him with his rehabilitation?
Debjani Dey is dead. So is her father Arabinda Dey. Lucky guys, both. For, Partha Dey has to die a million deaths still. We – the people, the society, the authorities and the media, will ensure that.
We need to rid ourselves of our jaundiced eyes – stop taking judgmentally through the lenses of Psychiatry. Rather we need to recognize and accept the Human Rights of people with psycho-social disability (and also for the ones we label so according to our whims), and must ensure their active participation in the community as citizens after they are “Set free” to resume their so-called normal lives. The change makers must come forward and work on this issue which really is a vital one, especially in these days of sensation mongering!
( Aditi Ganguly is practicing counseling psychologist)