Can India’s mental healthcare system address Islamophobia? ( IDR Online )


In his lecture ‘The Mental Pain of Minorities’, Indian-origin American psychoanalyst Dr Salman Akhtar mentions that a minority community is not just a statistical measure, but it is also people who face economic deprivation, a certain social reality of exclusion, and lack of political representation. This is true for minorities across national borders—be it Hindus in Pakistan, Muslims in India, Jews in Nazi Germany, Palestinians in present-day Gaza, or those marginalised by sexuality, gender, and caste anywhere in the world. He further highlights that a person from a minority community is either stared at or not seen at all; their presence is not ‘normal’.

One can look at the example of a Muslim Indian who carries the double identity of being an Indian and a Muslim wherever they go. Sometime ago, I was thinking of moving out of my family home due to space constraints; however, the only houses that I was shown by real estate agents were in Muslim-dominated societies or were very dingy, unkempt flats, where the owners were too focused on finding a tenant to care about identities. There was a clear refusal on all the well-ventilated and better-located societies and flats because I am a Muslim. Mine is just one of the many narratives of house-hunting failures that are frequently shared on social media.

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