India and Disability

On World Disability Day, we present to you highlights of news that focused on the differently abled

The UN International Day for Persons with Disability falls on December 3 each year. We present to you the highlights of the year past to give you an idea of where India stands today in terms of inclusivity and awareness of special needs.

India Wins Four Medals at Rio Paralympics 2016

India shone out at Rio Paralympics this year, securing two golds, a silver and a bronze for various events. Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Singh Bhati won medals in the high jump category, Thangavelu securing a historic gold while Bhati walking away a bronze. Deepa Malik won a silver medal in the women’s shotput F53 event, securing her name in the annals of history by being India’s first woman and the oldest athlete, at 46, ever to win a medal at the Paralympics. India’s only gold medallist at the Paralympics before 2016, Devendra Jhajhariya won the gold medal at javelin throw, breaking his own record in doing so.

Differently Abled Models Walk the Ramp

In a world obsessed with perfection, symmetry and fair skin, 30 differently abled models walked the ramp at the ‘Walk with a Difference’ fashion pageant held in Bengaluru, challenging the idea of beauty in the process. Organised by AIMS Media, the fashion show was also accompanied by the launch of Disabled Mannequins this year, which was dedicated to the finalists of the show last year.

Website for Disabled Travellers

Six months ago this year, India’s first website that catered to the needs of disabled travellers, UMOJA, was launched, dispersing silly ableist thoughts about how the differently abled would rather stay at home and are too poor to afford travelling. UMOJA facilitates accessible travel. They collaborate with hotels, restaurants and taxi providers, trying to convince them in the process that disabled travellers can be great customers too.

Teachers Demand SSC Question Paper in Braille for Deaf-Blind Student

The Helen Keller Institute of the Deaf and Deaf-Blind petitioned the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education to provide SSC question papers in Braille for Sourabh Chougale, a deaf-blind student. Chougale is 100% deaf-blind, and needs the question paper in Braille. The board allows a writer, but this isn’t a suitable option since Chougale needs a person who can understand tactile sign language to communicate with them.

‘Divyang’ instead of ‘Viklang’

India’s Prime Minister suggested a new nomenclature for India’s different abled population. Hitherto referred as viklang (disabled), he suggested the use of the word divyang (divine-bodied). This was met by criticism from the community, who pointed out that what was required was a more enabling environment, not a new name and connotation.