A chance conversation with his school friend, Radha Ramaswamy, introduced Ravi Ramakantan to Theatre of the Oppressed.
Trained as a Radiologist, Ravi worked as a medical teacher and Consultant Radiologist at the GS Medical College and KEM Hospital in Mumbai, India for over 30 years. He is at present attached to the Kolikaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Bombay.
In a career spanning over three decades at a large public hospital catering mainly to the underprivileged segment of society in Mumbai, it was natural for Ravi to be moved by the havoc poverty and disease wreaked in the lives of patients and their families - something which he intuitively related to as a form of “oppression”. At the same time, he was acutely aware of his role as a medical teacher and the possibility of training medical students in tune with the teaching of the famous physician William Osler "do not just see the disease that the patient has but also the patient who has the disease".
Theatre of the Oppressed appealed to Ravi as one of the techniques that could help in fostering a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Ravi found potential in techniques such as Image Theatre and Rainbow of Desire to promote greater understanding in doctors about themselves - not only as healers but also as human beings. Forum and Invisible Theatre could help in addressing issues related to medical education, the student-teacher relationship as well as the role of doctors in community health.
Ravi aims to facilitate the induction of Theatre of the Oppressed workshops as a part of Medical Humanities courses in India and to research the long term benefits of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques in enriching the field of Medical Humanities. Following Ravi's efforts, hundreds of medical students and doctors including medical teachers have participated in and benefited from CCDC's TO workshops.