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Lunatic Asylum, Hyderabad

It is said that one fine morning in the early 1860s a Parsi philanthropist Sir Cowasjee Jehangir saw a lunatic being stoned by youths. He intervened and saved him, but the incident moved him so deeply that he decided there and then to find a permanent solution to the problem. He purchased land and started construction work of the lunatic asylum at the present site, the very next day. Established in March 1865, with a capacity of 496 patients, the S.C.J. Institute of Psychiatry was modeled after the one at Patna, Pune and Allahabad.

With the establishment of a center for mental ailments the woes of the local populace decreased considerably. In the absence of such an option for mental health care the poor or uneducated masses used to rely on hakeems, quacks or Pirs while the upper class managed to travel to Pune, Patna or the Allahabad lunatic asylums.

I went to the ward of aggressive patients. Like the other wards, this too was being managed by a patient lying on the floor just in front of the entrance.

[Source: Hyderabad Revisited by Momin Bullo]

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