Sunday, February 27, 2011

Physical Disability

 It has been a long time since I wrote anything in my blog. It wasn't but for a want of ideas. More so because I had so much to say. Today there are so many grappling issues that I can think of. Yet I am not sure if my writing them here really serves any purpose at all.

  There is the problem of corruption that has formed cobwebs all over the nation. There is not a single person who hasn't been affected by it. It exists at every level only in different degrees. Then there is child abuse, caste, reservation and gender issues, poverty, inflation, the financial and social divide as the rich get richer and poor become poorer, lack of basic amenities for a huge part of the population, the poor standard of education and so on. Actually, anything. Everything. Name it and we have it! But I shall talk of all except one at a later time.

  I am a physically disabled person and don't feel bad about saying it. Whether I was born with it or whether fate changed its course, it isn't my mistake. So I needn't feel ashamed of saying it. I'd rather say it proudly that I have managed pretty well (with the help of people around me, of course). I know for sure that not a soul amongst the people who interact with me everyday are even conscious of the fact that I'm 'different'.

  While I'm at it, let me make myself clear. You can call me physically disabled for ,yes, it is the truth. You could also say that I'm physically challenged because many a times physical effort that is normal for you is a challenge for me. But I protest if one calls me differently-abled. I just hate the terminology. I mean yes, going by the fact that the majority is on the other side of the table does make me 'different'. But just because we live in a country or a world full of corrupt people doesn't make the few clean ones 'different'. Besides, if we don't provide every strata of society with opportunities to lead life 'normally', the disabled might well turn out to be a majority. We must remember that disability is both a cause and consequence of poverty.

  I have been very fortunate not to have faced any major hurdles in my life with regards to my disability. But this is only thanks to the background I came from. I was lucky to be born into an affluent family that could provide for my every need; financial and social towards being considered 'normal'. What about the millions who cannot? On one hand wanting to be accepted and wanting to help their families in contributing to their income. On the other hand, the dark reality that they must first hold themselves from additionally burdening their families. Even seemingly small issues like having a bath, going to the washroom, climbing the stairs, walking a short distance is but a challenge for many. And they don't have an easy way out. Infact, they no way out than to face these trials everyday.

  I don't know how much effort the government as a whole is putting in towards mitigating the problems of physically disabled. The one good thing that I see is that the number of disabled in India today will be known (take or give some) by the end of the 2011 census that has TWO questions on disability. The census officers have been trained well to mark these answers in particular. But they didn't seem to have marked whether the disability is by birth or as a result of natural causes later or by way of accidents. I would have thought that this could be a vital piece of information towards bringing down the number of people with disabilities. But I shall have faith in the people involved in the exercise; it is easy for us to voice our concerns and differing opinions while undermining the study they would have conducted before determining what questions must go into the questionnaire.

  We must first acknowledge that this is a major issue facing India today. Then increase awareness about these issues with regards to reaching out to all people with disabilities, helping them discover that there are many ways to overcome these challenges and providing for a society where they might not feel like outcasts. Yes, such things are happening today thanks to the colossal efforts of a large number of individuals. But an average person still finds it difficult to learn of all the support he can get in achieving a normal life sans difficulties that can easily be overcome if we collectively put in some effort.

  I shall wait until we have the census count and then talk about what we could do about this. Being as lazy as we are, too bad there isn't an easy solution for this problem.

PS: All references made towards disabled only refers to physical-locomotor disability. Visual, mental and others are faced with huge challenges in themselves some of them not unlike what have been indicated above.

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  2. Silence ..... I dont know how I missed this post. Hope you are fine.