Johns K. Mangalam dead
He reminded the world that alcoholism was a disease
Johns K. Mangalam, former head of the Department of Philosophy at Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, and managing trustee of Punarjani, a de-addiction centre at Poomala, died at a private hospital on Wednesday. He was 59. He was undergoing treatment for liver disease.
Punarjani, which is more than a de-addiction centre, has brought back hundreds of alcoholics to life. Dr. Johns, who was an alcoholic for over 20 years, reminded the world that alcoholism is a disease and alcoholics need care and treatment.
His autobiography Kudiyante Kumbasaram (Confession of an alcoholic), which graphically portrays the inner world of an alcoholic, was an eye-opener for many.
Dr. Johns tasted liquor at the age of 12. By the time he entered college he was an alcoholic. He dropped out from studies for a year due to his drinking habit. However, he managed to pass BA and MA with first rank.
He did odd jobs, even became a coolie, to earn money for his drinks. He earned a PhD in Gandhian philosophy and a law degree between the binges and odd jobs.
He quit a two-decade-long habit with willpower, support of the family, and treatment on realising that alcoholism is a disease.
The Punarjani de-addiction centre, which he founded, never locks up alcoholics. He told the world about the pain, sorrow, guilt and agony that each alcoholic goes through.
The phoenix sculpture, the bird that raises from its own ashes, which stands tall in front of the Punarjani, speaks all about the resurrection of Dr. Johns.