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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Learning to Live Again: Translator's note

By Sumedha Raiker-Mhatre
It was a rewarding experience to bring the Muktangan story in English, orginally written in Marathi. Muktangan is a recognised de-addiction center which has done pioneering work in the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addicts.
It is a path-breaking experiment that was initiated by Dr Sunanda and Anil Awachat 25 years ago in the city of Pune. While Dr Sunanda is no more, Muktangan continues with its de-addiction experiments. This book is a tribute to the difficult journey of a de-addiction center.
It details the forces that pulled it apart at times; it also zeroes in on the positive energy that stopped it from closing down. It is also an inspiring guidebook for any rehabilitaiton center or grassroots organistion that thrives on community participation.
It is a book, written by none else but the founder of the institution, Anil Awachat, who remains at the core of the activity to this day. His daughter Mukta Puntambekar leads the organisation from the front.
Muktangan is a brand in itself, ISO-certified, professionally run by doctors and community workers alike. It is a formula that presupposes the co-operation of the addict and the addict's family, thereby placing the human being at the center of the five-week medical treatment. 

The book mirrors an organisation that took on the establishment. It is a record of a struggle against an apathetic state government, the uncaring drug manufacturers, the pushy liquor lobby, the indifferent social set up, the corrupt bureaucracy and the unresponsive funding agencies.
Despite all the travails and tribulations, the book is celebratory in spirit. It is a free exchange of experiences that make or break rehabilitation set ups in India. In a country where such rehab centers have a poor death rate, the Muktangan story is uplifting. It underlines the power of one.
For an organisation that started with a donation by Marathi litterateur P L Deshpande, Muktangan has grown in all directions. It has diversified its energies in many sectors, including Internet Deaddiction. It has 23 counseling centers in and around Pune. There is a separate cell catering to women addicts.

But the translation of this book is not rewarding just because of its popular success. In fact, Dr Awachat's Afterword states that he is not proud of the achievements. “We do not boast of these diversifications, as a corporate firm would have bragged about its rising growth graph.”
Muktangan works towards a drug-free society, which would necessitate the conversion of Muktangan rehabilitation center into a cultural center. That is what makes the book special. The experience of presenting it for a wider audience is therefore even more exciting. 

The mention of Dr Anil Awachat's co-operation in the translation is imperative. He was available 24/7 during the translation process, checking every page, every detail meticulously, No wonder the translation got over in less than three months.
See below for extract from the book

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