(New: SCC website reveiwed by Dr Tom Weidig. Sanjib's complaint. Another Father complains.)
TISA has interviewed Sanjib Talukder on 19th May 2011, to understand the whole issue, his grievance and the modus operandi of SCC. We leave inference to the readers. Here is the interview:
TISA: Briefly introduce yourself please.
Sanjib : I am an Indian born PWS coming from North Eastern Part of India(ASSAM). By profession I am a telecom engineer and I had worked for a couple of years in manufacturing and telecom field after which I joined my family business particularly working with my uncle in his construction firm .Currently I am enrolled in the MBA program at School Of Management, Asian Institute Of Technology, Thailand (www.som.ait.ac.th)
TISA: When did your stammering begin?
Sanjib: I remember I first started to stammer when I was 8 or 9 years old and I remember I used to imitate my mother’s uncle who actually was not a stammerer but had speech disability problem because of old age. My mother used to say that I developed stammering problem because of the imitation however as I grew old I have realized that stammering actually is caused by a rare neuro-physiological disorder of the speech nerves in the brain.
TISA: When did you go to Partho Bagchi first time - and why? what attracted you to his SCC?
Sanjib: I remember I went there in 2001-2002 when I was in the second year of engineering and I went to meet my cousin who was studying at Bangalore. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper regarding his centre, gave a call to him and met him along with my mother. The words ‘STAMMERING CURE ‘ as coined by him made me believe that stammering is hundred percent curable. On meeting him, somewhat I felt that stammering is 100 % curable, that I will be able to speak as a non stammerer.
TISA: Please tell us briefly what happened after that? did you benefit? did you go again to him? How much money did you pay for every therapy session, plus for the Home study course...How useful were these? How much total money and time have you spent following "his therapy"? and what has been the outcome?
Sanjib: After I met him, I decided to take correspondence course as I had to go back home. He showed me the techniques how to practice, I was charged Rs 4000 and he said that if I take the regular course later, Rs 4000 (correspondence fee) would be adjusted with the regular course fee. He had given me two CDs where he had demonstrated his techniques and two books-one containing the speech therapy materials/exercises and other “STAMMERING A SURE CURE”( a complete practical book for stammers). After coming back I practiced for 5-6 months, I really did not improve. I stopped practicing because I thought my techniques were not correct and it would be better if I could practice full 14 days under him. In 2007, I went to visit him when I was working as a telecom engineer and had taken a leave from office. I informed him about the correspondence fee but he charged me the full amount of Rs 8000. At this moment of time, I was actually fooled by the SELF PROCLAIMED promises and expert advice mentioned in the website www.stammeringcurecentre.com (see introduction). I was fooled to believe in such well crafted and meticulously planned statements like-
“We only make it possible to cure stammering in India” (http://stammeringcurecentre.com/).
“ Stammering cure in two weeks”.
“Take a firm decision to join either ‘REGULAR CRASH COURSE' or ‘CORRESPONDENCE COURSE”.
I completed the course. What I realized is that according to Mr Bagchi, fluency can be achieved by medium lengthening style of speaking, simply speaking- “slow speaking”. After coming back, I practiced dedicatedly for 8 months as he had said, however it was very difficult for me to speak slowly all the time and the moment my speech rate increases I fumble. To be noted, I speak very well in English (though of course, across certain words I fumble or repeat the words or there is blockage). But in Hindi or Assamese there was no improvement at all (still today there is distortion of face while speaking in my regional language). However I was so desperate to find a cure that I again called him and he asked me to come to his centre again.
In 2009 I went there for the last time; today I laugh at myself -why I was so immature that I went there again! The same thing happened, he charged me Rs 8500 ( gave me a discount actually of Rs 500 only, Rs. 9000 is the actual course fee ). I came back and practiced hard and in a nutshell after following his techniques, I still stammer which is fine with me now. I asked him in my last visit why I stammered more in Assamese and Hindi, he told me that it was because his course materials /exercises are in English and that he will be translating the exercises/techniques so that people can practice in their regional language. As of present, even if I speak slowly I stammer in Assamese and Hindi but as I said English is quite ok with me. I think I have wasted near to a lakh of Rupees considering all expenses (staying in Hotels/travelling by flight and so on). My final conclusion: slowing down the rate of speech to speak in the medium lengthening style is nothing but an act of controlling the speech. As far as I can understand 100 % cure is not possible and there is no known cure for this problem.
TISA: Why do you think you could not benefit from his therapy? Do you know of anyone who has been "cured" of stammering after his therapy?
Sanjib: Well I think the cause of stammering is not known, so a definite cure cannot be found out. Even my interaction with speech therapists showed that in some cases, some stutterers recover completely but they still have a chance of relapse; they also informed me that techniques which might work for one person might not work for the other. Some people claim that they have totally recovered after attending Mr Bagchi’s course, I am happy for them, but I would be more happy if they can come out in open and give their testimonials to an organization like TISA about 100 % recovery instead of throwing their views in blogs or social networking sites like ORKUT. Personally I do not know anyone who has been "cured" of stammering after his therapy. On the contrary I know some people who still say they have not recovered.
TISA: If people do not benefit by his therapy, why does no one demand refund? or object?
Sanjib: That’s a question really to analyze. Some might ‘consider’ themselves to recover fully whereas others just let it go, just as I did, till the moment I decided to open my mouth .My only intention is to arrive at the truth-“IS STAMMERING REALLY CURABLE AFTER ATTENDING SCC?”
TISA: What is your opinion of Mr Partho Bagchi's speech? Is he CURED himself?
Sanjib: I have observed that Mr. Bagchi still fumbles on certain words while speaking, there is visible blockage and facial distortion, but then he controls (note the word control) and then moves forward with his speech. How can he say then he has cured himself?
TISA: What are his formal or informal qualifications, which help him to help/treat stammerers?
Sanjib: Mr. Bagchi does not hold any professional qualification in speech therapy recognized/accredited by a professional body. He is simply offering a therapy based on his own experience where I think the techniques have been developed from the techniques used by qualified speech therapist and YOGA. The practice which are included in Mr. Bagchi’s course like meditation, deep breathing exercise, vocal exercise, voice modulation and slow reading practice (elongation/prolongation) are nothing new. My interaction with a local SPEECH pathologist revealed that deep breathing, vocal exercise ( prolongation/elongation of the starting sound of each word), slow reading practice are basics which are taught in a speech therapy session and that too the therapy is offered at a price/cost which is far below than what Mr. Bagchi charges.
TISA: How often have you browsed his website? Do you think it misleads young stammerers? Do you find anything questionable or objectionable on his website?
Sanjib: No longer have I browsed his website. Used to see it previously; after a long time I opened his site today. Yes I fell into his trap and I feel that it misleads young stammerers. Some of the lines from his website are as follows (which can attract any stammerer to join his course):
- STAMMERING IS NOT A DISEASE, A PSYCHOLOGICAL & BAD HABITUAL PROBLEM
- “Walk in with trust Walk out with a new life at STAMMERING CURE CENTER”
- Once you join the course, there is no power on the earth to stop you from speaking fluently and confidently within a short time. PARTHA BAGCHI an Ex-Stammerer (used to stammer severely for 26 years), pioneer in stammering cure in India, Winner of Six ‘National Awards' and author of twelve exclusive motivational and inspiring books.
- An unique achievement by an Indian in the world of stammering cure. Unbelievable but true. It's not a claim only, I have been regularly curing stammering in two weeks. During 20 years, over 19000 people have already been cured at the centre from all parts of India and several foreign countries. Don't delay. Don't neglect or postpone. Your first priority in life is stammering cure before you lose many golden opportunities.
- Take a firm decision to join either ‘REGULAR CRASH COURSE' or ‘CORRESPONDENCE COURSE'.
(in fact take a look at the URL http://www.stammeringcurecentre.com/introduction.html)
Personally I really want to know about the truth of 19,000 people being cured, I am not cured so it should come down to 18,999. How can we know about the truth of this number 19000? Is it that these 19000 people told Mr. Bagchi personally that he/she has been totally cured after attending his center and practicing his techniques? Is there any database from where we can know about the truth of these numbers?
One thing I can say his course fee increases as the number of stutterers he claims has increased ( look at the fees now Rs. 10500 (for children upto 12 years, Rs. 7000) package includes two practice material book, two audio CD's or cassettes and only exclusive book in India, written on Stammering titled "STAMMERING A SURE CURE" - 200 pages. We have a guest house facility for outstation candidates. Standard lodging and food would cost around Rs. 300 per day. Family rooms can be arranged if intimated beforehand http://www.stammeringcurecentre.com/fees.html)
Also in this same webpage you will find a line- In India 3 to 4 crores people are suffering from stammering and my Institute is the only one in India to cure it surely and effectively. You can imagine the excessive rush. So book your seat now to attend the course any day in 2009.
Is it true that he is the only one in India working with stutterers? Hard to believe, in fact not true.
Look at the page http://www.stammeringcurecentre.com/for.html : for foreigners Course Fee – US $ 1000 (to be paid at the time of admission), it includes course material book (bound), two audio cassette or CD's and ‘STAMMERING A SURE CURE' book – a complete practical book. $1000—this cannot be tolerated, it’s a loot. In the same webpage you will find “Standard accommodation and food – ranging from US $ 30 to $ 50 per day.
“We can arrange more luxurious accommodation if required. You can arrange on your own also. Apart from stammering cure, you can make a travel plan to tour India (the most wonderful tourist destination with all varieties of natural beautiful and historical monuments and a rich blending of art and culture at a moderate cost)” ( note the lines marked bold—Too bad , why he needs to say all these? For me it looks unprofessional..)
TISA: Does he give any kind of follow up support/ help / counseling to his old students?
Sanjib: Absolutely not as evident from my email, he did not even reply. If somebody ask me if this course have any financial guarantee or refund policy? The answer is a big “NO”. There is no support for students who fail to overcome their stammering after attending the course.
TISA: Your message to young people who stammer? Your message to Mr Partho Bagchi and other therapists who offer "cure" for money?
Sanjib: My advise to young people who stammer-please do not fall in to traps of those people like Mr Partha Bagchi who falsely claim that there is a CURE for stammering. I think it is better to join a self help group or see a certified speech therapist in Government hospitals. If anybody wants to see a speech therapist, please check whether that person has worked previously with stammerers, how much time he/she can give and what Follow up service or support he/she can provide. I would advise to go for alternate treatments like YOGA and meditation as I have done. Please accept the problem, do not look for a magical cure. The word cure is a misnomer; Rather than desperately seeking a cure, try to control and improve on your communication skills. Finally please do not lose hope and even if you stammer, its fine, do not hide.
I would like to ask one question to Mr Bagchi –whether stammering is really curable and that too in two weeks?? Please come out in the open and discuss this matter with professional doctors or with self help body like The Indian Stammering Association (TISA). I would like to know how he is so sure about the number 19,000—the number of people that he cured. And as he also claims that his techniques have been developed after many years of research, I would like to know what research he is talking about/How the research has been conducted/Is it shared with someone or approved by any professional body? Finally why does he not provide any after service or support to his ex-students, isn’t he sympathetic to the cause of stammereres, as he claims?
Mr Bagchi I want to know about the answers, please have the guts to answer them or simply stop duping stutterers in the name of cure.
TISA: Thanks you Sanjib, for undertaking a tough public task on your shoulders! We wish many more IPWS will open their mouths, so that young IPWS will have better and fair dealings.