Cancer Expert Search

Cancer ExpertCancer Expert: Search
Enter your question and submit. Use a complete English sentence for better results.
Cancer Expert, © 2012-2013, ctSearch - Context Search Engine.

Monday, November 30, 2009

AASRA workshop-Understanding human Psychology

Aasra conducted a series of workshops of 2 hrs duration each for it's voluntees and well-wishers on 'Basic understanding of human psychology'. Appended below are the photographs...

Irom Sharmila's story- from Tehelka mag-Please read!

This is the bravest person in India today! There can be no other...


Irom And The Iron In India’s Soul

Extraordinaire Sharmila says it’s her “bounden duty” to protest in the most peaceful way

SOMETIMES, TO accentuate the intransigence of the present, one must revisit the past. So first, a flashback.

The year is 2006. An ordinary November evening in Delhi. A slow, halting voice breaks into your consciousness. “How shall I explain? It is not a punishment, but my bounden duty…” A haunting phrase in a haunting voice, made slow with pain yet magnetic in its moral force. “My bounden duty.” What could be “bounden duty” in an India bursting with the excitements of its economic boom?

You are tempted to walk away. You are busy and the voice is not violent in its beckoning. But then an image starts to take shape. A frail, fair woman on a hospital bed. A tousled head of jet black curls. A plastic tube thrust into the nose. Slim, clean hands. Intent, almond eyes. And the halting, haunting voice. Speaking of bounden duty.

That’s when the enormous story of Irom Sharmila first begins to seep in. You are in the presence of someone historic. Someone absolutely unparalleled in the history of political protest anywhere in the world, ever. Yet you have been oblivious of her. A hundred TV channels. An unprecedented age of media. Yet you have been oblivious of her.

In 2006, Irom Sharmila had not eaten anything, or drunk a single drop of water for six years. She was being forcibly kept alive by a drip thrust down her nose by the Indian State. For six years, nothing solid had entered her body; not a drop of water had touched her lips. She had stopped combing her hair. She cleaned her teeth with dry cotton and her lips with dry spirit so she would not sully her fast. Her body was wasted inside. Her menstrual cycles had stopped. Yet she was resolute. Whenever she could, she removed the tube from her nose. It was her bounden duty, she said, to make her voice heard in “the most reasonable and peaceful way”.

Yet both Indian citizens and the Indian State were oblivious to her.
The humbling power of Sharmila’s story lies in her untutored beginnings. There is no rhetoric, no cliched heat of heroism

That was three years ago. On November 5 this year, Irom Sharmila entered the tenth year of her superhuman fast — protesting the indefensible Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that has been imposed in Manipur and most of the Northeast since 1980. The Act allows the army to use force, arrest or shoot anyone on the mere suspicion that someone has committed or was about to commit a cognisable offence. The Act further prohibits any legal or judicial proceedings against army personnel without the sanction of the Central Government.

Draconian in letter, the Act has been even more draconian in spirit. Since it was imposed, by official admission, thousands of people have been killed by State forces in Manipur. (In just 2009, the officially admitted number stands at 265. Human rights activists say it is above 300, which averages out at one or two extrajudicial killings every day.) Rather than curb insurgent groups, the Act has engendered a seething resentment across the land, and fostered new militancies. When the Act came into force in 1980, there were only four insurgent groups in Manipur. Today, there are 40. And Manipur has become a macabre society, a mess of corruptions: insurgents, cops and politicians all hand in glove, and innocent citizens in between.
True Gandhian For ten years, nothing solid nor a drop of water has entered Sharmila’s body

A FEW YEARs ago, an unedited CD began doing the rounds in civil society circles. It showed footage of humiliating army brutality and public rage. Images of young children, students, working-class mothers and grandmothers taking to the streets, being teargassed and shot at. Images of men made to lie down while the army shot at the ground inches above their heads. With each passing day, the stories gathered fury. Disappeared boys, raped women. Human life stripped of its most essential commodity: dignity.

For young Irom Sharmila, things came to a head on November 2, 2000. A day earlier, an insurgent group had bombed an Assam Rifles column. The enraged battalion retaliated by gunning down 10 innocent civilians at a bus-stand in Malom. The local papers published brutal pictures of the bodies the next day, including one of a 62-year old woman, Leisangbam Ibetomi, and 18-year old Sinam Chandramani, a 1988 National Child Bravery Award winner. Extraordinarily stirred, on November 4, Sharmila, then only 28, began her fast.

Sprawled in an icy white hospital corridor that cold November evening in Delhi three years ago, Singhajit, Sharmila’s 48-year-old elder brother, had said half-laughing, “How we reach here?” In the echo chamber of that plangent question had lain the incredible story of Sharmila and her journey. Much of that story needed to be intuited. Its tensile strength, its intense, almost preternatural act of imagination were not on easy display. The faraway hut in Imphal where it began. The capital city now and the might of the State ranged against them. The sister jailed inside her tiny hospital room, the brother outside with nothing but the clothes on his back, neither versed in English or Hindi. The posse of policemen at the door.

“Menghaobi”, the people of Manipur call her, “The Fair One”. Youngest daughter of an illiterate Grade IV worker in a veterinary hospital in Imphal, Sharmila was always a solitary child, the backbencher, the listener. Eight siblings had come before her. By the time she was born, her mother Irom Shakhi, 44, was dry. When dusk fell, and Manipur lay in darkness, Sharmila used to start to cry. The mother Shakhi had to tend to their tiny provision store, so Singhajit would cradle his baby sister in his arms and take her to any mother he could find to suckle her. “She has always had extraordinary will. Maybe that is what made her different,” Singhajit says. “Maybe this is her service to all her mothers.”

There was something achingly poignant about this wise, rugged man on the sidelines – loyal co-warrior who gives the fight invisible breath, middle-aged brother who gave up his job to “look after his sister outside the door”, family man who relies on the Rs 120 a day his wife makes from weaving so he can stand steadfast by his sister.
Ten years on, her fast is unparalleled in the history of political protest. If this will not make us pause, nothing will

It was a month and a half since Singhajit had managed to smuggle Sharmila out of Manipur with the help of two activist friends, Babloo Loitangbam and Kangleipal. For six years, Sharmila had been under arrest, isolated in a single room in JN Hospital in Imphal. Each time she was released, she would yank the tube out of her nose and continue her fast. Three days later, on the verge of death, she would be arrested again for “attempt to commit suicide”. And the cycle would begin again. But six years of jail and fasting and forced nasal feeds had yielded little in Manipur. The war needed to be shifted to Delhi.

ARRIVING IN DELHI on October 3, 2006, brother and sister camped in Jantar Mantar for three days – that hopeful altar of Indian democracy. Typically, the media responded with cynical disinterest. Then the State swooped down in a midnight raid and arrested her for attempting suicide and whisked her off to AIIMS. She wrote three passionate letters to the Prime Minister, President, and Home Minister. She got no answer. If she had hijacked a plane, perhaps the State would have responded with quicker concession.
Tehelka expose The killing of Sanjit in a fake encounter by commandos, caught on camera

“We are in the middle of the battle now,” Singhajit had said in that hospital corridor. “We have to face trouble, we have to fight to the end even if it means my sister’s death. But if she had told me before she began, I would never have let her start on this fast. I would never have let her do this to her body. We had to learn so much first. How to talk; how to negotiate — we knew nothing. We were just poor people.”

But, in a sense, the humbling power of Sharmila’s story lies in her untutored beginnings. She is not a front for any large, coordinated political movement. And if you were looking for charismatic rhetoric or the clichéd heat of heroism, you would have been disappointed by the quiet woman in Room 57 in the New Private Ward of AIIMS in New Delhi. That 34-yearold’s satyagraha was not an intellectual construct. It was a deep human response to the cycle of death and violence she saw around her — almost a spiritual intuition. “I was shocked by the dead bodies of Malom on the front page,” Sharmila had said in her clear, halting voice. “I was on my way to a peace rally but I realised there was no means to stop further violations by the armed forces. So I decided to fast.”

On November 4, 2000, Sharmila had sought her mother, Irom Shakhi’s blessing. “You will win your goal,” Shakhi had said, then stoically turned away. Since then, though Sharmila has been incarcerated in Imphal within walking distance of her mother, the two have never met.

“What’s the use? I’m weak-hearted. If I see her, I will cry,” Shakhi says in a film on Sharmila made by Delhi-based filmmaker Kavita Joshi, tears streaming down her face. “I have decided that until her wish is fulfilled, I won’t meet her because that will weaken her resolve… If we don’t get food, how we toss and turn in bed, unable to sleep. With the little fluid they inject into her, how hard must her days and nights be… If this Act could just be removed even for five days, I would feed her rice water spoon by spoon. After that, even if she dies, we will be content, for my Sharmila will have fulfilled her wish.”

This brave, illiterate woman is the closest Sharmila comes to an intimation of god. It is the shrine from which she draws strength. Ask her how hard it is for her not to meet her mother and she says, “Not very hard,” and pauses. “Because, how shall I explain it, we all come here with a task to do. And we come here alone.”

For the rest, she practices four to five hours of yoga a day — self-taught — “to help maintain the balance between my body and mind”. Doctors will tell you Sharmila’s fast is a medical miracle. It is humbling to even approximate her condition. But Sharmila never concedes any bodily discomfort. “I am normal. I am normal,” she smiles. “I am not inflicting anything on my body. It is not a punishment. It is my bounden duty. I don’t know what lies in my future; that is God’s will. I have only learnt from my experience that punctuality, discipline and great enthusiasm can make you achieve a lot.” The words — easy to dismiss as uninspiring clichés — take on a heroic charge when she utters them.

For three long years later, nothing has changed. The trip to Delhi yielded nothing. As Sharmila enters the tenth year of her fast, she still lies incarcerated like some petty criminal in a filthy room in an Imphal hospital. The State allows her no casual visitors, except occasionally, her brother — even though there is no legal rationale for this. (Even Mahasweta Devi was not allowed to see her a few weeks ago.) She craves company and books – the biographies of Gandhi and Mandela; the illusion of a brotherhood. Yet, her great — almost inhuman — hope and optimism continues undiminished.

But the brother’s frustration is as potent. The failure of the nation to recognise Irom Sharmila’s historic satyagraha is a symptom of every lethargy that is eroding the Northeast. She had already been fasting against AFSPA for four years when the Assam Rifles arrested Thangjam Manorama Devi, a 32-year-old woman, allegedly a member of the banned People’s Liberation Army. Her body was found dumped in Imphal a day later, marked with terrible signs of torture and rape. Manipur came to a spontaneous boil. Five days later, on July 15, 2004, pushing the boundaries of human expression, 30 ordinary women demonstrated naked in front of the Assam Rifles headquarters at Kangla Fort. Ordinary mothers and grandmothers eking out a hard life. “Indian Army, rape us too”, they screamed. The State responded by jailing all of them for three months.

Every commission set up by the government since then has added to these injuries. The report of the Justice Upendra Commission, instituted after the Manorama killing, was never made public. In November 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee to review the AFSPA. Its recommendations came in a dangerously forked tongue. While it suggested the repeal of the AFSPA, it also suggested transfering its most draconian powers to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Every official response is marked with this determination to be uncreative. The then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the withdrawal or significant dilution of the Act on the grounds that “it is not possible for the armed forces to function” in “disturbed areas” without such powers.
Manorama mothers Manipuri women pushed to the brink after the horrific rape of Manorama Devi

Curiously, it took Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi to raise proportionate heat on Irom Sharmila, on a trip to India in 2006. “If Sharmila dies, Parliament is directly responsible,” she thundered at a gathering of journalists. “If she dies, courts and judiciary are responsible, the military is responsible… If she dies, the executive, the PM and President are responsible for doing nothing… If she dies, each one of you journalists is responsible because you did not do your duty…”

Yet, three years later, nothing has changed. After the boundless, despairing anger of the ‘Manorama Mothers’, the government did roll back the AFSPA from some districts of Imphal city. But the viral has transmitted itself elsewhere. Today, the Manipur police commandoes have taken off where the army left off: the brutal provisions of AFSPA have become accepted State culture. There is a phrase for it: “the culture of impunity”. On July 23 this year, Sanjit, a young former insurgent was shot dead by the police in a crowded market, in broad daylight, in one of Imphal’s busiest markets. An innocent by-stander Rabina Devi, five months pregnant, caught a bullet in her head and fell down dead as well. Her two-year old son, Russell was with her. Several others were wounded.

But for an anonymous photographer who captured the sequence of Sanjit’s murder, both these deaths would have become just another statistic: two of the 265 killed this year. But the photographs – published in TEHELKA – offered damning proof. Manipur came to a boil again.

Four months later, people’s anger refuses to subside. With typical ham-handedness, Chief Minister Ibobi Singh first tried to brazen his way through. On the day of Sanjit’s murder, he claimed in the Assembly that his cops had shot an insurgent in a cross-fire. Later, confronted by TEHELKA’S story, he admitted he had been misled by his officers and was forced to set up a judicial enquiry. However, both he and Manipur DGP Joy Kumar continue to claim that TEHELKA’s story is a fabrication.

Still, hope sputters in small measure. Over the past few months, as protests have raged across the state, dozens of civil rights activ ists have been frivolously arrested under the draconian National Security Act. Among these was a reputed environmental activist, Jiten Yumnam. On November 23, an independent Citizens’ Fact Finding Team released a report called Democracy ‘Encountered’: Rights’ Violations in Manipur and made a presentation to the Central Home Ministry. A day later, Home Secretary Gopal Pillai informed KS Subramanian, a former IPS officer and a member of the fact-finding team, that the ministry had revoked detention under the NSA for ten people, including Jiten. In another tenuously hopeful sign, Home Minister P Chidambaram has said on record in another TEHELKA interview that he has recommended several amendments in AFSPA to make it more humane and accountable. These amendments are waiting Cabinet approval.

IN A COMPLEX world, often the solution to a problem lies in an inspired, unilateral act of leadership. An act that intuits the moral heart of a question and proceeds to do what is right — without precondition. Sharmila Irom’s epic fast is such an act. It reaffirms the idea of a just and civilized society. It refuses to be brutalized in the face of grave and relentless brutality. Her plea is simple: repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. It is unworthy of the idea of the Indian State the founding fathers bequeathed us. It is anti-human.

It is true Manipur is a fractured and violent society today. But the solution to that can only lie in another inspired, unilateral act of leadership: this time on the part of the State. Eschew pragmatism, embrace the moral act: repeal AFSPA. There will be space beyond to untangle the rest.

But unfortunately, even as the entire country laces up to mark the first anniversary of Mumbai 26/11 – a horrific act of extreme violence and retaliation, we continue to be oblivious of the young woman who responded to extreme violence with extreme peace.

It is a parable for our times. If the story of Irom Sharmila does not make us pause, nothing will. It is a story of extraordinariness. Extraordinary will. Extraordinary simplicity. Extraordinary hope. It is impossible to get yourself heard in our busy age of information overload. But if the story of Irom Sharmila will not make us pause, nothing will.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

10 myths about Suicide compiled by Carolyn Friedman

My name is Carolyn Friedman and I write on the

10 Common Myths About Suicide

Suicide remains a serious epidemic that transcends socioeconomic, age, racial, religious, mental health, and gender/sexual identity boundaries. While studies do show that some groups stand at a higher risk of suicide than others – usually those already prone to social marginalization – the sad reality is that this mindset holds the potential to strike anyone, anywhere, at any point in life. Due to the mixed messages flailing about regarding the condition, it becomes progressively more difficult to objectively discuss the delineation between fact and fiction. So many misconceptions abound that the suicidal truly needing an intervention in order to survive may very well not receive the help they need to recover.

As with all issues regarding mental health, suicide especially has become the target of wrongful stigmatization. Because so many view it as a taboo or scary subject, the tragic desperation of suicide becomes pushed aside, wrongfully dismissed as histrionics or other self-serving actions. For those not working in the psychological field, explicit education in the complexities and psychological phenomena that lead individuals down the dangerous path towards suicide makes for the absolute best solution to preventing further tragedy. To learn about how it operates is to understand; to understand is to learn how to properly stop someone from succumbing to a cycle of absolute pain. Treatment is never an easy process, but it stands as the only reliable safeguard against suicide available. Individuals making the effort to personally empathize with this sad plight comprise the front lines of prevention – their compassionate efforts are what save lives and guide others to emulate their actions.

1. Suicide is just a ploy for attention. Ignoring the threats means they go away.
One of the most cruel myths regarding suicide involves perceptions that victims are using their emotions as leverage – a tool for manipulation. By acknowledging their comments, family and friends only stoke their desire for attention and validation. Not only is this misconception highly inaccurate, it also results in a higher risk of suicide attempts and fatalities. All suicide threats must go addressed, and all potential victims must not be treated as if self-serving and attention-starved. Ignoring comments and threats that so much as hint towards suicide makes for one of the most dangerous reactions on the part of family and friends. It sends a message of apathy, of not taking the victim’s pain seriously enough to discuss objectively. This only serves to further their sense of desperation; in some ways it actively encourages them to go through with plans to die.

At the conclusion of this article, there is a listing of hotlines to call when the urge to commit suicide hits an individual or someone he or she very much loves. Rather than writing off self-destructive threats as merely the last resort of a melodramatic diva to gain an emotional upper hand, please call or encourage a loved one to call one of the numbers. The operators have been trained to handle their feelings in a professional, compassionate manner that will help guide them towards seeking the therapy they need for a fulfilling life.

2. All suicidal people suffer from some kind of character weakness or psychosis.

At the core of every suicide, completed or thwarted, there lay a sense of overwhelming. While studies do in fact show a correlation between depression, addiction, and other common mental illnesses and suicide, not every victim suffers from one or a combination of these conditions. Psychotic patients only comprise a fraction of suicides, but not the majority. Truthfully, all persons of any age, mental state, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic bracket hold within them the capacity to kill themselves. It remains only a matter of how far they become pushed to their limits, how desperate the sense of mental, emotional, and/or physical pain eventually swells. Suicide is not a weakness. Victims frequently see it as their only escape route from overwhelming torment – a way to finally end their all-encompassing agony once and for all.

Society labels suicides as inherently psychotic or weak as a means of demonizing their behavior. In some warped way, these myths are perceived as a deterrent for those contemplating killing themselves – after all, who wants to go down perceived not as a hero, but as weak or crazy? Wrongfully classifying genuine suffering as a sign of frailty or psychosis acts as a projection of society onto the victim. The only true weakness here lay in peoples’ inability or unwillingness to address the true gravity of suicide and constant spread of outright lies about the condition. Strength only factors in when an individual is willing to admit that they, too, have a threshold whereby they may become so desperate as to consider suicide a viable option. By acknowledging this one tragic but universal kernel of humanity, they may go on to help preserve the lives of others who may find themselves struggling with the urge to escape pain through death.

3. Those who survive suicide attempts won’t try it again.

Suicide is not a plea for attention. It expresses an extreme desire to slough off overwhelming stress and anxiety, and the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that for every death by suicide, another 12-25 survive their attempts. Many believe that living through a potentially fatal self-injury automatically inspires victims to seize life and never try to hurt themselves again. Reality says otherwise. Survivors run a very high risk of repeating their actions later on in life, and professionals agree that one of the highest indicators of a potential fatality is a record of prior attempts. Those who live through suicidal acts must seek psychological assistance immediately upon recovery. Cognitive therapy has been shown to reduce further suicide attempts by 50% within a year following the initial incident. Instead of perceiving survival as a wake-up call for the fleeting preciousness of life, family and friends of the victim need to think of it as an indicator of future risk and respond accordingly The only responsible reaction encourages therapy as the most viable solution to prevent further incidents.

4. Talking to someone who is suicidal about suicide just makes the urge even worse.

When a friend or family member begins opening up and admitting suicidal thoughts, ignoring their comments or changing the subject actually pushes them further towards going through with these actions. Talking about suicide with a loved one openly and objectively serves as a safeguard until the victim receives professional help. If confronted with a potentially suicidal situation, the best reaction is to call an emergency number (such as 911 in the United States or 999 in some countries in Europe and Asia or a suicide hotline so the individual connects with people trained to handle their situation. Never leave the victim unattended, and be sure to clear the room of any firearms or other potentially deadly devices. By acknowledging their status as suicidal, friends and family may actually stave off fatal behavior. Victims want help, they want someone to intervene and assist them in combating the swarming demons of overwhelming desperation they face daily. Talking to them may not always reduce the urge, but it never actively encourages them to follow through with suicide, either. A proper reaction that proactively guides victims into valuable therapy shows the compassion, love, and care that they need to try and make themselves healthier. Only ignoring or making little effort to understand the issue stimulates the urge to commit suicide.

5. Suicide occurs without warning; there are no ways to prevent it.

Individuals with the following traits run a higher risk of committing suicide: depression or anxiety disorders, substance abuse, prior attempts, victim of sexual or physical abuse, family or friend of a suicide victim, incarceration, gun ownership, and social marginalization. Obviously, potential suicides do not always carry one or more of these traits, nor do they inherently indicate suicidal behavior. However, educating oneself on what sort of factors to look out for and who suffers the biggest risk makes for the best method of prevention possible. Putting forth the effort to understand and look out for the warning signs may mean the difference between life and death.

If a friend of family member begins displaying some early signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior, their loved ones are partially responsible for intervening and preventing attempts. Social withdrawal, a preoccupation with death, the intensification of depressive behavior, apathy, engaging in risky behaviors, attempting to tie up loose ends, and – in extreme cases – writing up a will, saying goodbye to people, and outright discussing wanting to die all stand out as signifiers of a potential suicide. Also look out for a major shift from extreme depression to an overall sense of calm. This indicates that the victim may have found peace and comfort in a decision to kill him- or herself and needs to be dealt with before following through with it. While variables always inevitably creep in, the aforementioned red flags generally point towards disconcerting behavior that must be addressed before it becomes too late.

6. Suicidal people just want to die, and it’s impossible to talk them down.

The decision to commit suicide is not static. If an individual begins opening up about desiring death, it is possible for them to step down from their choice. While the understanding and support from family and friends remains the first line of defense, therapy remains the only viable long-term solution to prevent suicide. Even if a victim gives up on his or her decision to die due to the assistance of a loved one with all the right ideas and preparations, regular sessions with a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist reduces the risk of suicide by half after one year – something that love and compassion from friends and family alone cannot achieve. If an individual suffers from an immediate risk of suicide, then dialing an emergency number will provide access to professionals far better equipped to handle the direness of the situation. Never, under any circumstances, leave them unattended for any period of time until help arrives.

7. An improvement in emotional state means the risk of suicide is lowered.

Frequently, the opposite of this statement is the truism. One of the biggest warning signs that an individual may follow through with plans to commit suicide is a rapid shift between despair and overarching calm, even happiness. Even if the victim currently attends therapy sessions, rarely do moods alter so dramatically from negative to positive. Signs of peace after a severe and prolonged bout of hopelessness or depression may signal the decision to commit suicide as a permanent solution to overwhelming problems. Be sure to keep a sharp eye out for the other indicators mentioned earlier if the victim’s mood rapidly improves without provocation.

8. Unsuccessful suicide attempts means the victim never cared to die in the first place.

Individuals survive suicide attempts for any number of reasons. Happenstance or the timely intervention of a loved one usually accounts for a victim not fully succumbing to death. Depending on the method, victims may even end up critically injured or in a coma. A number of different factors make up the difference between a fatality and a survival, but just because an individual lives through a suicide attempt does not mean they were never serious about dying in the first place. Actually, the fact that they even tried to commit suicide in the first place ought to explicitly tip off friends and family that the victim honestly wants to end his or her life. In fact, suicide survivors run a higher risk of future attempts, so it is integral that they seek professional help immediately in order to prevent further incidents.

9. Telling the suicidal to cheer up will help.

Much like clinical depression – a mental illness which comprises almost 90% of suicide cases each year – victims do not turn around simply by being told to cheer up and remain positive. A considerable amount of overwhelming mental, emotional, and/or physical pain factors into suicidal thoughts and actions, and while support and compassion can certainly help bring a victim back down from the brink it is unfortunately not enough to solve all of the underlining issues. Only professional therapy through a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can really dissect a patients’ problems and help nurture the mindsets and skills necessary for practicing healthy coping mechanisms in the long run. It is not a matter of merely cheering up. It is a matter of confronting the torment that leads them to perceive death as the only viable option to escape the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.

10. Suicidal thoughts need to be kept secret so as not to embarrass or upset anyone.

Because suicide comes yoked with so many misunderstandings labeling the victims as weak, psychotic, or desperate for attention, it has sadly become a shameful, demonized subject too taboo to discuss objectively. Those feeling the tug of wanting to die are led to believe that they must simply choke back and fight the urge. They fear broaching such a hefty, weighty subject with loved ones because of how society unfairly paints their plight, believing that honesty may result in ostracizing of further marginalization. Truthfully, any time suicidal thoughts crop up they must be expressed to someone trustworthy – a family member, a friend, a hotline number, or a therapist. No matter what, there is always somebody out there willing to offer an ear and advice on finding a professional who will help quell the suffering in the long term. While friends and family will never react positively to news of suicidal thoughts, they would much rather address the issue as it arises instead of bury a loved one. Never be ashamed to the point of suppressing suicidal feelings. Openness and honesty between the victim and trusted peers means the difference between life and death.

Only by making an effort to truly understand the realities behind suicide can humanity honestly hope to prevent it. The previous ten myths only sadly skim the surface of an overarching social issue. Far too many frown more upon the persons feeling suicidal rather than the act itself, further pushing them towards a desperate act. Fortunately, concerned friends, family, and mental health professionals with the right intentions and ideas towards approaching the subject have a number of extremely valuable resources at their disposal.

If a loved one appears to be in immediate danger, dial 911, 999, or other emergency number and do not leave their side until professional help arrives. Remove any and all weaponry, toxins, and other hazards from the vicinity. Those considering suicide in the United States may call 1-800-SUICIDE for Hopeline and 1-800-273-TALK for Suicide Prevention Lifeline. SPL also offers a deaf hotline at 1-800-779-4TTY. Individual states and cities may also provide phone numbers to dial in the event of suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well. Befrienders Worldwide lists hotlines from a large number of nations for those needing help outside the US. Remember that while these phone numbers play an integral roll in pulling victims back from their suicidal inclinations, they are intended only as a stepping stone towards a long-term solution rather than the solution in and of itself. Only professional therapy addresses the core issues that lead to suicide, and anyone considering it as an option to escape the overwhelming pain must find a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist to get the help they need in order to live a healthy life away from their demons.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Trusteeship Institute

CSR: The Trusteeship Institute - Creating Common Good Corporations

About Trusteeship Institute

The Trusteeship Institute, Inc. (TI) was founded in 1973 by Terry
Mollner for the purpose of furthering economic development based on
Mohandas Gandhi’s theory of “trusteeship.” From the beginning the
mission of TI has been to further this worldview both with innovative
projects of its own and by participating in and supporting the
projects of others.


Gandhi believed that the universe is one indivisible whole. He also
recognized that we are each alive for only a short period of time.
Therefore, he concluded that we are each the “trustees” of our wealth
and talents not the “owners” of them. As trustees we would naturally
mature to where we would give highest priority to the good of us all,
the one indivisible universe.

He didn’t speak to it in terms of “layers of maturity,” but this is
what Terry Mollner believed was implicit in his view of human

Gandhi also believed that individual freedom must be honored: it was
only through the exercise of individual freedom that one would
discover the greater joy of being a trustee rather than being an

Therefore, he believed that each person must choose how much wealth to
keep for one’s self and how much to allocate to the common good. If
force was used the natural and healthy reaction would be to give
priority to regaining freedom before attention could be turned back to
maturation. Gandhi was confident from his own experience and what he
had observed in others that as people matured they would freely choose
to give highest priority to the common good and only keep for
themselves what was necessary.

When Terry Mollner was in India in 1979 he had the privilege to travel
the entire country and interview the people still alive who had worked
closely with Mahatma Gandhi. An old man told him this story. He was
never able to collaborate it as true. So the old man may have been
making it up to make his point.

He said Gandhi had an exchange with Mao Zedong, the founder of
Communist China. He wrote Mao and said that his system would not work.
Mao wrote back and said, “What do you mean? I am giving priority to
the good of all the people.”

Gandhi wrote back and said, “Yes, it is very good that you are giving
priority to the good of all the people. However you are having one
group decide what is best for all the people. The next stage of human
development will build on individual freedom, not take it away.”

Terry Mollner believes that this will eventually take the form of
people freely choosing to set up corporations in the private sector
where the highest priority is the common good instead of the interests
of a few, usually called “the shareholders.” Besides being a socially
responsible company in all of its activities, it will also have a cap
on the return to equity investors based on what is necessary to
acquire the needed equity. The excess each year will be permanently
set aside and managed by the company from that point forward for the
common good. This will mainly take the form of investment in “common
good investment funds” that will solely purchase successful companies
and convert them to “common good corporations” so this movement can

As this movement expands for the first time in the history of the
planet there will be many investment funds that all have the exact
same highest priority: the common good. They will associate together
and do joint ventures to buy multinational corporations.

The multinational community has discovered that it is best to be
number one or two in market share in each product sector. It is then
easy to coordinate their activities to dominate that market without
ever having to speak to each other. They can also buy any new
successful products or copy them before they are able to gain
significant market share. For instance, Coca Cola and Pepsi control
more than 75% of the soft drink market and Odwalla and Honest Tea had
little choice but to be bought by them to survive.

This has been leading to there being fewer and fewer multinationals in
each sector: duopolies, triploids, etc. which is legal whereas
monopolies are not legal. Thus, when one of these is bought it will be
in the best interests of the shareholders of each remaining company to
not be the last company bought by the common good investment funds.
Through a natural free market process all the multinationals will
eventually become common good corporations or have extremely stiff
competition as customer, employee and government preference turns
toward the common good corporation.

Terry Mollner also believes that this will be fueled by the
investments of individuals and institutions. Financial planners around
the world tell their clients that they will try to achieve an 8 to 11%
return for them each year. If the mature common good corporations are
able to provide a consistent 12% return, much of this capital will
prefer the safety of common good corporations for portions of their
investment portfolios. In addition, foundations can provide endowment
programs where the capital will only be invested in common good
corporations, creating a more positive future for human society and
the planet. In these and other ways capital will continue to flow into
supporting the development of the common good corporate sector.

Finally, while the common good corporations will compete in the free
market and welcome its discipline, their priority is cooperation for
the common good. Therefore, they will overtly cooperate to identify
best practices, synergies, greater efficiencies through common
designs, etc. Their association will become the equivalent of a nation
by agreement rather than by geography. They will also see all the
citizens of the planet and the planet itself as part of their
responsibility in operating for the common good. Thus, through this
private sector activity many of the problems on Earth will be able to
be solved through cooperation with governments, non-profits, and all
other organizations.

Their chosen "nation by agreement" will become more important to many
than their "nation by geography."

Just as we are currently members of many governments, i.e. town,
county, state, nation, etc., many will continue to be members of those
governments but give priority to their membership in the “nations by
agreement” that will emerge where the common good of all is the
highest priority. Of course, other nations by agreement will also
emerge and operate on a more mature form of democracy also pioneered
by Mohandas Gandhi in the last years of his life (consensus building
democracy through cooperation rather than competition at the ballot
boxes). Anyone on the planet will be free to join them. The common
good corporations will work with them for the common good. Eventually
taxation could also not be necessary because the excess profits of the
common good corporations would be donated to the “consensus building
nations by agreement.”

You will be able to learn more about all of the above in a book by
Terry Mollner soon to be published entitled The Love Skill: It
Determines How We Experience Everything Else…Welcome to the
Relationship Age. Also, under Articles by Terry Mollner [ABOUT TI
Menu], you will find articles about some of the issues mentioned
Terry Mollner, Founder and President

To further this in economics, business, and finance, Terry Mollner was
one of the earliest pioneers in the field of socially responsible
investing. In the mid-1970s, Robert Swann and he founded the Institute
for Community Economics, Inc. that created the first modern think tank
on socially responsible investing. Terry led a group of fifteen
leaders from around the country in writing the social screens which
are one of the basis for all progressive social screens to this day
and which also led to the creation of the Calvert Family of Social
Investment Funds of which Terry was also one of the founders and is
still a board member.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tackling depression without medication

We wish to inform all Karmayog and AASRA members about our free talk at HELP

HELP ( Health Education Library for People ) is organizing a free talk on* *
*"**Depression without Medicines**" *by* **Dr.Dhananjay Gambhire* on* 16th
Nov 2009* at *3.00 pm* at HELP ( Health Education Library for People )
206, National Insurance Building, Dr.D.N.Road, Wallace Street, Mumbai 400
001.To register call: 65952393/ 94, 22061101, 22031133

The HELP Team.
Health Education Library for People,
National Insurance Building, Gr Floor,
206, Dr.D.N.Road,
Mumbai - 400 001.
Tel Nos.65952393/ 65952394/22061101