With all the love, hope, laughter and struggles, we gracefully manage to head towards another year. People with all enthusiasm were posting about their year-ender memories, netizens were proudly mentioning all the great achievements India managed to witness this year.
Of course, India’s achievement at the Tokyo Olympics was the greatest attraction of the year. People were proudly mentioning Neeraj Chopra and his historic gold win. But what strikes me odd was the kind of rush and enthusiasm we see around the Olympic winners is not the same when we compare to the Paralympics.
It is heart-wrenching to acknowledge that we are headed towards a new year with the same thought and discrimination that has prevailed in society for ages. Records were shattered at the games and lifetime dreams were achieved. With a total of 19 medals, including five gold medals, eight silver and six bronze, para-athletes managed to scale up the position of India in the Olympic scoreboard at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Still, are they not worthy of equal praise? Or even worth mentioning in the list of achievements recorded in 2021?
Why are Indians and the Indian media not as excited in front of the Paralympics star Avani Lekhara, who created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics as they are in front of Neeraj Chopra? Who is at fault for this?
First time in Indian sports history, our medal haul crossed the double-digit mark in a single edition of the Paralympics, yet, people forgot to mention the name of the achiever in their year-ending wrap-up post. Discrimination against Disability has been prevalent in society for ages. Disability issues are the least covered by Indian media and now, the Paralympics got negligible coverage as compared to the Olympics.
After the win at the Tokyo Olympics, many brands approached the stars for their ads. Why didn’t they approach the achievers at Paralympics to endorse their products? These stars also embody courage and if this attribute does not resonate with the brands, then what will? There are many areas in our life where Indians think it’s appropriate to discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or colour. But discrimination against the disabled tops the scoreboard.
Since our childhood, we have been taught to discriminate against the disabled by sending them to special schools. Why cannot they be in the same school as the non-disabled kids? This attitude makes people forget that the disabled are a part of our society and deserve the same applause for their achievements as any other human being.
Is it fair to move forward with the same old discriminating thought for the new year? Don’t you think just like we fought against many discriminating thoughts in our history, even this type of discrimination needs to be fought against? Why are the Paralympics not given the same status as the Olympics in India? Don’t you think it’s time to be more vocal against the discrimination faced by para-athletes?