It was started by the Maharajah of Cochin in 1941 and in 1968 was taken over by The Corporation of Cochin ,
it was a place to hold vagrants ,beggars,the mentally subnormal and abnormal wandering individuals but it also was a sort of old age home with many of its long term inmates reasonably normal .
homeless wanderers would be brought by the police and housed here ,
unlike a jail this was run more like an orphanage .
Many have gone back to their homes after they are housed here for months or even years with good food and sometimes treatment for their medical and psychiatric treatments, they become more saner and give whereabouts of their families ,their relatives on hearing through media would come to pick them back
many were taken back in batches by the administrators themselves .
housed in two big dormitories one for females and other for males with reasonably good food , there were centers of vocational rehabilitation in it and the inmates were supported to exhibit their creative talents .
the center is run more transparently and with much dedication after the day to day affairs have been managed for a long time by the Peoples council of social justice a law related social organisation with eminent lawyers and honorable judges and other notaries as its members .notable among them was Advocate Ms Bitty .
Dr Rangamani retired civil surgeon has been donning the role of Project coordinator with commitment for a long time ,her rich academic experience and professional expertise as a doctor has gone a long way in its running well .
Both Premila and myself as already being involved in our charitable institution Shilpa society in the same area were also requested to join as Assistant project coordinators and we did so for a few years ,
we would go there weekly three to four days by turns and take medical rounds on the inmates and also run the clinic for medical problems of the inmates ,
Dr S.D Singh was the consultant psychiatrist who looked after the mental health problems with aid of two qualified psychologists and it also had round the clock trained nurses and attendants to manage the inmates
We knew many of the inmates by name
I still remember a few of them ,
he was around 80 years and had been left there by his family for ever
most of the time Pai would sleep under another bed on the floor as he preferred that coolness !
he was very meticulous of his complaints which he would list methodically and would only be happy if the stethoscope was held on his chest ,
Pai was loved by most of the inmates specially there was a sort of father son relationship between one young man and pai strangely this young man had come from somewhere up north and did not know Konkani which was Pais language but his attachment to him was stunning ,he would rush to Pais side when we came to see him and dutifully help him sit up and allow us to examine him he would recount all Pais problem very seriously and the days Pai was sick he would almost cry !
there was one jolly old singer who would sing classical numbers slightly off tune ,he actually hailed from a very good family who were quite prosperous and housed nearby but had left him in this center but
he was still cheerful expect on occasions he would be glum and gaze into the horizon with his thoughts .
Shaji was the smart all round Attender who would bathe the inmates serve them their food take them to hospitals if needed with help of other attendants he was very sincere and cheerful too .
in the female side too there were some notables including a reasonably young lady who was very voluble and loved to preen herself there were mothers left here or wandered away from thier homes which was lost to their memories there were grandmothers who would walk with crutches and many were on medications for their mental problems and would get into attacks of aggression at intervals when they would be shifted to mental hospitals which they hated and would sheepishly return after a few days
some would be delighted to see their families coming to pick them up bringing goodies for all inmates
talkative loud garish quite silent crazy pious rocking all types were there
a microcosm of world outside
One suprise I had was when I went to the male bathing area once
This was an open concreted area where a hose was used to get the water
I once saw the local Councillor in a folded dhoti shirtless washing the inmates one by one using soap lather with so much dedication
he laughed at my surprise and said
hey Doctor all of us politicians are not so bad right ?
yes I said
I salute you sir
PRS is a great memory of love and service for us .