Of Hrithik Roshan and Black Holes

Avishek Sahu
March 18, 2016

There is a problem, serious problem with categorising social issues as mental health issues. No, really, I have an abiding reason for saying that. You see, it came in the news recently that Hrithik has accused someone of suffering from Asperges Syndrome(AS). That wouldn’t be much of problem unless of course you realise that casting a social issue as a mental issue here is with an obvious intent to cause more harm than otherwise. Now the pretext here is that since the accused here is known to have shown excessive and compulsive interest in one particular topic—in this case Hrithik—he or she could be slotted as suffering from AS. Now really, how is being obsessed with Hrithik psychologically different from being obsessed with Black Holes. Yes, they are different, very different, but the point is, that the difference could be social rather than psychological. Otherwise, a researched having spent years of the better part of his life researching and obsessing over black holes could also be accused as suffering from AS. Yes, I agree, that stalking Hrithik is probably not acceptable, but why is that shown as a psychological issue? It is because society finds researching and obsessing over black holes acceptable but stalking someone not. Which is how it should be—agreed. But where is the justification in slotting a social illness as a mental illness? Is it because you are unable to treat the social illness socially with your myriad laws and establishments? There is actually a graver concern here, and the concern is that given that there is no standard definition in the rule book of psychiatrists about ‘Ideal Brain Configuration,’ any action that deviates from being socially acceptable could be subjectively slotted as a mental issue. I am not siding with the accused here nor am I saying that it is okay to stalk; all I am saying is that what is regarded as ‘socially awkward’ manifested in actions very different from stalking could be of immense value for creating a context for social change. After all, there can be no change in society without social disruption; and social disruption has to come with something that deviates from what the extant social pretexts regard as socially conventional: JNU issue is a case in point. The only ones who would find social disruption unacceptable are the ones who think that society is perfectly all right the way it is now and any attempts to cause change must be prevented, if needed by slotting the awkwardness as a mental issue! Jesus!