• Excerpts from Interview in "Kiran" programme (A ray of hope) on DD1 (Door Darshan) telecasted on 18th August 2001 at 12:20 PM.

    After having been worked for more than 8 yrs, as a Clinical Psychologist in King George's Medical College, Lucknow, Dr. Krishna Dutt felt that as such there is no training facility for those who have dull normal intelligence. In fact, while counseling the parents of such children, he usually wondered what to say to them?

  • A few parents aptly remarked, "your counseling has put us in trouble as now we have come to know that putting such children in normal school is making them prone to develop personality complexes as they grow and if allowed to study with Retarded children, they may regress in their behavior by imitating the behavioral pattern of Retarded children". This kind of dilemma of these parents made Dr. Dutt to start a service centre 'Asmita': A centre for slow learners & mental health care. The name Asmita, itself connotes 'identity' for this group of children, are hardly recognized and usually they are blamed for their poor performance particularly in studies as a result of which they are being pressurized by teachers as well as by parents. As a matter of fact they are not able to get through, despite making best efforts owing to their low functioning intelligence not befitting to normal conventional schooling system.

    When asked about the inspiration, Dr. Dutt remarked that his father has said while leaving the hometown for further studies "If you are going to earn your bread need not go, we have enough land to do agriculture. If you are going to do something more meaningful, please do go!" This was the source of inspiration for Dr. Dutt's dream.

    Kiran: How you are getting on with the problems of the centre as you are not receiving any aid/fund from the Government.

    Dr. Dutt told that a share of his income along with the contribution of the parents of slow learners and of course assistance of like minded people i.e. friend circle is somehow sufficient to serve fifty slow learners. He further expressed in a painful tone that the ambitious projects for the rehabilitation of around 400 awaited slow learners and comprehensive training centre comprising all essential facilities are pending, for it is not possible without substantial support either by the government or by the society at large. However, Dr. Dutt seems contended with the kind of positive change he and his co-workers have been able to brought in the slow learners resulting as a pleasurable experience for their parents.

    Kiran: You are running a full fledged centre since 1994, at your home. Do you face any difficulty?

    Dr. Dutt smilingly remarked that without family's support such activities are not possible. Truly speaking my wife Smt. Madhuri has become almost foster mother to these children. Even these slow learners call her 'Ma'. She performs every activity, which a mother ought to do. In other words, she has owned the complete centre and we are helping her in this endeavor.

    Kiran: What are the Salient features of your centre?

    • We have a panel of technical experts as well as consultants whose services are availed as & when required.
    • Centre is equipped with advanced computer system (donated by State Bank of India) to promote the specific education of slow learners.
    • For conveyance of slow learners, we have a vehicle- Mahindra Marshall ( again donated by State Bank of India).
    • Centre has five trained teachers, 1 helper, 1 driver and 1 computer trainer.
    • In addition to publish the material to educate the people, we have also carried out 6 (six) small research projects to understand the problems & complexities related to mental subnormality. Further more, a pilot survey has been carried to indicate the magnitude of the problem.
    • We have a team of 5 qualified persons for counseling & promoting Positive mental health in general.

    Kiran: What has been your special experience while working with slow learners?

    In brief they need personalized attention and intensive training. To some extent, the methodology & principles, which we employ while educating these children, also apply to all other children e.g. teacher- student ratio i.e. small class & more practical training than theorizing. The other remarkable thing is their innocent deep emotional bond with those who work for them, which is seldom seen in any other set up.

    Kiran: What is your concluding remark?

    We are indeed grateful to media for featuring our work in National Papers, recognition by Mayor of the city and also transmitting our activities through Door-Darshan (the official channel of India). We are also thankful to our well wishers who helped us at times, through their Donations as we are registered under 80 G of Income Tax. Asmita is also registered under FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulation Act).

    Relatives & friends deserve thanks for their moral support given time to time, which serves as a backbone for any such innovative work. Last but not the least, SBI (State Bank of India) people deserve special mention for their generous and kind hearted attitude in coming forward and helping us in crisis.

I Have Thanked The Trees That Have Made My Life Fruitful But Have Failes To Remember The Grass That Has Ever Kept It Green -"TAGORE"