ANTARA – the Genesis
The Seventies was a period of turbulence in the history of Calcutta city. The war between India and Pakistan, the Bangladesh freedom struggle, the influx of refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan, the tension created by political movements, all these together made life quite a tormenting experience for many people in this city. A number of them lost their balance of mind and many could be found roaming on the streets.
It was in response to this alarming situation that Mother Teresa, Dr.Satrujit DasGupta, Mr. P.M. John, Fr. Andrew, Dr.R.B. Davis, and a few others got together and founded Antara Society, with the primary objective of providing care, treatment and rehabilitation to the destitute and very poor persons suffering from mental disorders including drug addiction and alcoholism.
As the first step towards achieving the objectives of Antara, psychiatric Outpatient Clinic was started at the Janata Medical Service at Mar Thoma Church Centre, Kolkata as a Joint venture . This Psychiatric Clinic still functions on Tuesdays & Fridays catering to the needs of the poor psychiatric patients in the city.
Soon there was the need to accommodate and treat some of the patients particularly the destitute ones. A building was rented at Picnic Garden and residential treatment and care was started. This was a joint project with Missionaries of Charity. Hand-in-hand with the Medical team of Antara, Missionaries of Charity Brothers took loving care of the inmates. This Home continued to operate at Picnic Garden till 1982.
On 17th Dec., 1979, a 2 Acre plot of land was purchased at Hariharpur Village on the Calcutta- Port Canning Road. Mother Teresa laid the Foundation Stone for ‘ANTARAGRAM’ Project on 4th May, 1980. The patients were shifted from Picnic Gardens Home to the new centre at Antaragram on 26th June, 1982.