When 19-year-old Pratishtha Deveshwar entered on the stage with her wheelchair, she shattered many stereotypes. Through her powerful session, she broke several myths about disability at #YKASummit2018 on September 2.
Recalling the traumatic accident that changed her life, Pratishtha shared that she hardly remembers the accident in 2013 except the part where she woke up a hospital ICU and realised that her legs are paralyzed, and she won’t be able to walk ever. Shattered by the harsh reality, she did not give up and handled herself with much courage and bravery.
She asserted that adversities should always be dealt with courage and resolve, and dismissed the idea of suicide as a solution to any problem. Pratishtha shared that after she realised about her disability, she made a list of her abilities and acted upon them. She urged the people not to treat persons with disabilities according to your pre-conceived idea of disability. She said that persons with disabilities are not aliens but have an extra edge, and that does not exclude them from the society. She marked that the stereotypes victimise the persons with disability.
During her session, she rejected the myths like disabled persons are a burden, and that their lives are gloomy and dull. She emphasised that disability is not a burden, and people with disability lead a normal life. Just like everyone else, they too sing, dance, and go out for clubbing and shopping.
Citing one of her experiences of people’s narrow views on disability, she said that during an interview she was asked to remove her lipstick for a photograph because she didn’t look like a disabled person with the lipstick. She pointed out that conventional thinking associate disability with sadness. She strongly opposed the outlook that assumes disability to be associated with hopelessness and sadness.
In her closing notes, she urged the people to stop assuming that people with disability are sad or gloomy. They need empathy, acceptance and co-operation.