If you remember the episode on ‘People with Disabilities‘ on Satyamev Jayate, the one message it screamed out loud was that they have the same zeal and appreciation for life too, and are very confident that they can do anything provided we treat them as one among us.
Today is the birthday of one such great personality, who was blinded at the age of three but went on to invent something which aided in making his fraternity live in a world which is more inclusive; something which enabled them to read what everybody else was reading and know what everybody else knew. You can read his story here.
Thanks to the nature of my work, I get to meet many such people day in and day out and each of them teaches such a valuable lesson. Infact, one of them works with us – his feet don’t support him much, but he does not use that as an excuse at all. He is as normal as any of us are!
Infact, they keep insisting that they are not any *differently* abled. They just have some disabilities but have learnt to live with it and live well too. All they wish is that we don’t label them as ‘disabled’; they are just ‘People with Disabilities‘ just like people with curly hair or blue eyes or long nose or whatever. That is exactly how they feel about themselves and that is what we need to feel about them too. It is not sympathy they are looking for at all!
One of the blind students we work with once asked us why we were only asking him what we could do for him and not what he could do for the society too!?! He did not want to be just a beneficiary, but a volunteer too. Such is their resolve, such is their commitment. And the least we can do for them is to treat them as just that – another being just like us. They play chess, cricket and so on. When we organize competitions between them and other people who can see, it is just like any other normal game and they have a great track record of winning too!
To end with, I wanted to share a video of Harish, one such volunteer-beneficiary. Am sure all of you will be amazed at his confidence and clarity of what he wants to do in life, just like I have been too 🙂
He has spoken in Telugu, but there are subtitles which will give you the gist.