Stop Hating the Different: The Life of person with Disability in India

Christopher Reeve said – “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

We call them by many politically correct names, “Disabled, Specially abled, differentially abled, and divyang,” but do we ever try to understand their struggle?? The Indian society, in particular, considers disability as a consequence for actions of earlier births and people with disabilities are more likely to be treated like an outcast. We live in a toxic culture where we take everything in our lives for granted, resist change, and hate everything we perceive as different. More than 2.1 % of the Indian population comprises people with visual disabilities, locomotor disabilities, cognitive disability, dwarfism, intellectual disability, mental illness, cerebral palsy, and more. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and Government schemes if implemented appropriately are enough to improve their standard of living, but what about invoking equality in our society; what about changing the mind-set; we need a cultural shift that empathizes with all.

Where to begin?

Most of the buildings in India are not disabled friendly; as a result, the people with disability are always seen asking for help to enter premises and for stairs. Imagine the effect on their mental health; their helplessness adds to the unfair life they are subjected to. What PWDs need is not our sympathy or pity but our acceptance and empathy. To achieve such a feat in society, we must begin with the children. They need our guidance to understand that although disabled people may seem different than us, they are the same human beings as us; they laugh, cry, and feel everything like us. Tell them to be friends with specially-abled kids in their school, and help them whenever possible. Such teachings can boost the confidence of children with disabilities and empower them to lead happy lives.

Poverty is a sin in this world.

Data suggests that more than 69% of the disabled population resides in the rural areas in India. Disability is either by birth or acquired due to accident, diseases, or unforeseen circumstances. Financially poor and rural households don’t have access to good healthcare or even basic healthcare knowledge for pregnant women. Lack of facilities at home, nutritional food, adequate care, and a positive environment affects pregnant women and the baby negatively. These factors are rooted in poverty, and can be prevented with effort from the society and the government.

What can we do?

A nation cannot flourish without the active vigilance of its citizens. We need to stop reflecting our pain onto others, accept our flaws, and forgive them. That’s how a harmonious society is built. Furthermore, we can do the following for disabled people –
1. Spread knowledge on the Unique Disability ID ( to enrol them for the benefits of government schemes.
2. Empower specially-abled people by teaching them skills to earn and live a respectable life.
3. Improve the knowledge in rural areas on the healthcare of expecting women through NGOs.
4. Be vigilant against the harassment of disabled people.
5. Make them aware about their legal rights.

Life is tough for us all. Regardless of our circumstances, we forget that the key to happiness is to spread joy and serve humanity irrespective of people’s caste, creed, colour, and even their disabilities.

Swaraj Bhatia

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