Origin myth

This is the website owned and supported by Bapu Trust for Research on Mind & Discourse, Pune

Myth of origin:

  “Bapu” is the personal name of a Tamil woman, who was born of a culturally and materially elite family in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She heard voices, saw visions, wrote religious verses in Tamil and Sanskrit, and believed herself to be in deep connection with god. She was labeled with “schizophrenia” and ended up wandering on the streets. She was deserted by her family, and struggled for daily survival on the streets, even though she came from a very wealthy background and had a huge property and a large family in Chennai. She lived many years of her adult life, wandering and alone, in some healing temples of Kerala. She wrote poetry, sang bhajans, wore the dress of a monk and shaved her head. She drew and painted her visions, sometimes with great flourish and bursts of colour. She was “caught” by the police many times and forcibly brought back to a hostile family environment. She was subjected to many invasive treatments and psychiatric abuse, including lock up, solitary confinement, insulin coma, several dozens of shock treatment, repeated and forced institutionalizations, and many disabling anti-psychotic medications, on a trial and error basis. She suffered severe and debilitating side effects of the treatments, including severe tardive dyskinesia, Parkinson’s disease and muscular dysfunction. Various traditional methods were also tried out on her, such as dhara, exorcism, etc. She passed on in the autumn of the year 1996, on Ganesh Chathurti day, struck by stroke and coma. One of “Bapu’s” two children, Bhargavi Davar, founded the trust in her memory and with her legacy.

Some saw “Bapu” as “mad” and “bad”, others saw her as spiritual, creative, intuitive and gifted. Bapu Trust for Research on Mind & Discourse, like “Bapu”, journeys the grey areas between madness and creativity, insanity and spirituality.

Bapu Trust does not have any affiliations or connections to political parties of any sort. We do enjoy the resonances of the name, Bapu with the national icon of ahimsa, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.This is a happy co-incidence. We strongly believe in peace and compassion for all beings.


Mental health is least priority among donor agencies and it has always been difficult to raise support for mental health. So we value every penny that is offered by various individuals and agencies for our work, and we take care that it is spent very carefully.  We try to see that 75% of the money we receive goes to programs and to people. We don’t believe in accumulating wealth. We believe in culturing psychologically sustainable communities, where there will be no ‘helpers’. We regularly publish our work, again with a view towards leaving an intellectual and spiritual legacy, rather than material wealth.

The Trust is a non-profit, and legally compliant (filing of FC3, PT, TDS, income tax, BPTA compliances) every year. BT has so far maintained a healthy balance between domestic versus foreign funding, private donations versus project grants. The Trust receives funds from social science grants, development or human rights grants. We maintain a diversity of donor support, and have hitherto been supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Action Aid International, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Sir Ratan Tata Trust, the Indian Council for Social Science Research, Mac Arthur Foundation, the International Disability Alliance, the British Academy Small Grant. Some philanthropists also regularly support our work locally. The Trust has been open to support from corporate companies through their CSR activities. The Trust receives private donations and from sales of products on non-profit basis. The fiscal relationship of Trustees (loans, donations, etc.) with the Trust is bound by resolutions passed by the Board of Trustees and is transparent. The Trust has not obtained funds from pharmaceutical companies or from psychiatric foundations. The Trust is not at present dependent on funding from the government for any of its programs and may look for certification / licensing vis a viz the disability department, in the future.

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