By Kapil Kumar:
Disability is a personal as well as social experience. It has a profound influence on an individual’s life in both a negative and positive way. For all of the personal and social ramifications of disability, social attitude plays a major role. Deviating from the established norms of society attaches a stigma to an individual which works as a disability. Any individual is labeled as disabled on the basis of either his appearance, behaviour or the capacity to learn, because of which he or she looks ‘different’ from the rest of society.
The day I lost my sight, I started to realise this fact. At a personal level, to my surprise, I found that all my relations whether friends, relatives or siblings, started to change. Earlier, there was an intimacy, a feeling of belongingness. But, with the disability, sympathy took prominence in their attitude. I was no longer understood as an individual with full personhood. Rather, I came to be treated as an object that is in a pitiable condition. This, in turn, affected my social experiences as well.
I am a person with multiple disabilities. Apart from sightlessness, I also don’t have one hand. This was not the case with me till I was 12 years old when I met with an accident. This disability changed my body. Not only this, the way I used to perform my tasks also changed. This difference in my activities was not accepted as a part of diversity, rather it was seen as my deficiency.
Disabled persons need support and understanding from fellow human beings, something that is rarely available. Therefore, social change is the requirement. This involves the question of their human rights and dignity. This backdrop of persistent inherent discrimination against individuals with disabilities in society considerably limits the amount of time that is devoted to a humane understanding of the issues related to those individuals.
In a number of cases, a disabled person is avoided by all of his or her social circles. Despite their willingness in many cases, nobody gives them work which ultimately results in frustration. They don’t live but only exist. As a result, they do not become capable enough of accepting their reality and start living in fantasies.
My potential has been continuously underestimated from the day I became blind. More or less, I have been considered as useless.
While I was still a student, I experienced that my so-called able-bodied classmates, at the time of helping me, used to demonstrate that they were helping me out of sympathy. Perhaps, they believed that disabled people lack knowledge and are also incapable of paying them back equally.
The point here is that each individual, whether disabled or non-disabled, tries to achieve success in his or her life. If in case, in the course of their life, any individual loses any ability, they try to find other ways to overcome the challenges which have emerged out of that impairment. But, the sole motto of every person is to move forward in their lives, despite all odds.