Every year 3rd December is promoted as International Day of People with Disability (IDPD) by United Nations, however, very few of us are aware of about it in our country. The Day essentially aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
Before writing any further I would say that the term Disabled in itself is quite disappointing, instead, I and many others will prefer to call them differently abled. In many developed countries of the world, these people are given due consideration and their comfort is a priority. There are exclusive parking areas for them, every place a has an exclusive washroom for them, the public places and other shopping areas are designed in a manner that gives them ease of access, not only this, the public transport such as buses and trains are designed to suit their needs.
On the contrary, in India, these facilities are almost non-existent till now. These people are generally are helpless many times because of the unfriendly infrastructural design. They have to face a lot of inconvenience and discomfort every now and then. Therefore, the need of the hour is to think in this direction and do something fruitful.
In recent times we have seen so many differently abled people who have done wonders which even we have been incapable of. The life story of Deepa Malik, an Indian athlete, wife of an Army Officer and mother of two adult daughters has been exemplary. She is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic Games and won a Silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in the shot put. She is associated with Himalayan Motorsports Association (H.M.A.) and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (F.M.S.C.I.). She has undertaken an 8-day, 1700-km drive in sub-zero temperatures which included a climb to 18000 feet.
Theatre personality Divya Arora, who has been living with cerebral palsy since birth likes to glorify her wheelchair by calling it her throne. She is an eminent theatre figure who has trained actor Hrithik Roshan for movie Guzaarish (2010) and worked with Anurag Basu for Barfi (2012). Now she is ready to give Bollywood the world’s first ever film written and directed by a ‘differently abled’ filmmaker.
Arunima Sinha is the first Indian amputee to climb Mount Everest. She is also the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. She was a national level volleyball player who was pushed from a running train by some robbers in 2011 while she was resisting them. As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee without anaesthesia. Her aim was to climb all the continent’s highest peaks and hoist the national flag of India. She has already done six peaks: Everest in Asia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Kosciuszko in Australia, Aconcaguain Argentina and Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) in Indonesia.
These are few of those differently abled Indians who have not just been a role model and highly motivating force for me but also for thousands of people in our country and abroad. They had the grit and willpower to rise against all odds and infrastructural limitations. They have been capable of doing what even we fail to do in life. They have motivated us beyond the words could say. Time has come when our country, its government and also its people should reciprocate and do something worthwhile for these mighty souls. With this wish I conclude and hope that soon a noticeable progress will be made in the direction.