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17 November 2008
by Satyarth Prakash Nayak
New Delhi, India

EXIT LINES: Urdu poet Mahmood Hashmi... EXIT LINES: Urdu poet Mahmood Hashmi fears he will lose all his memory.
Urdu poet Mahmood Hashmi’s poems have become sad and he says his new verses are the last of his life.

Hasmhi, 68, suffers from epilepsy, a disease that affects 10 million Indians of all ages. Life was good and healthy for Hasmhi but suddenly in April he developed epilepsy.

He has suffered three epileptic attacks and is on intensive medication, which leaves him weak and sedated. He fears he is nearing dementia.

“I have forgotten many things because of this disease,” says Hashmi.

Hashmi’s wife, Suraiya, lives in a constant state of tension. “I avoid going out, as I always fear that he may have a seizure anytime,” she says.

According to doctors, people aged 65 and above are more likely to get epilepsy and there are about 130 victims in a population of 1 lakh. Medication is the best form of treatment, they say.

With the disease still subject to many myths and misconceptions, doctors say proper awareness is crucial.

“Epilepsy is a fully treatable disease. Eighty per cent of patients respond to medicines,” says Dr Manjari Tripathi, a neurologist at New Delhi”s All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

As life expectancy increases in India, number of people afflicted with epilepsy post the age of 60 is going to increase.

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