Are we aware that disables as a category do not appear in the Indian population construct? Indeed, this is what was revealed in the latest episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ where the focus this time around was on the disabled people in the country. Indeed, India has been denying there existence by not introducing a category in the census to assuage what the real percentage is of disabled persons in the country. As a matter of fact the number of disabled in the country as a percentage of population is just 3% as per the official figures, but the reality is different.
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To classify the persons who have been physically challenged in one form or the other in fact is a misnomer. These people are differently abled and their requirements and aspirations need to be viewed from that perspective. As Aamir Khan showed in the show, the body builder Joginder, who is physically challenged from below his waist, outperformed Aamir Khan in doing pushups while putting 40 kg of weight on his shoulders. It is a clear pointer to the fact that one needs to change the mindset.
In fact the mindset ought to change from the school levels itself. There are hardly any schools which allow differently able children to study with normal children. The reason propped was that the parents do not like their normal children to mix with differently abled children. Well, this could be the outlook of the parents, but the school administration has to draw the line and emphasize that the differently abled children have equal rights.
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I was reminded of a friend while seeing the show who was our classmate in school, he had polio, but he was studying along with us and he was one of the finest flute players I had ever come across. As the participants echoed on the show, those who are physically challenged in one form or the other are compensated by the god in some way through additional faculty endowed in area of music.
I have also seen how my hostel room mate who met with an accident and lost his limb had to pay through his nose to get artificial foot. Indeed, this was also brought out in stark reality on the show that the artificial devices that could facilitate a differently abled person to lead a normal life are taxed by the government. It indeed is apathetic. On the one hand the government does not provide them an incentive in the form of reservations in job, and on the other also taxes their efforts to lead a normal life.
One interesting point that was raised by one of the participants during the course of the program was the depiction of the differently abled persons in Hindi cinema or cinema per se. The participants advised Aamir Khan to set the house which he represented in order as well. Let’s hope that henceforth at least world of cinema would start projecting them in a proper manner and that the feeling of bonhomie would spread for the differently abled persons. After all, when Aamir Khan as a representative from the industry, who has taken cudgels to challenge the problems in different aspects of life has to be catalyst in setting the own house in order as well.