Friday, 4 January 2013
The bard knew what he was talking about
Two mondays ago was supposed to be the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In this context, a resolution was unanimously approved this week by the the U.N. General Assembly which calls for member nations to embrace those with developmental disorders as full members of the community. Under the resolution, the U.N. is encouraging countries to enhance access to support services, offer educational as well as life and social skills opportunities and take steps to promote awareness. The action also urges member nations to collect statistical and research data to allow for a greater understanding of individuals with disabilities within their borders.
But we in India seem to be a breed apart. This monday's newspapers
carried the revealing story of Rajiv Ranjan, an eminently capable coordinator of the Disability Law Unit at Vidya Sagar, not being allowed to open a bank account for the reason that he has cerebral palsy, and his speech is slightly affected. Almost every day's paper has more portrayals of our countrymen's mind-boggling insensitivity. For instance, while all of India is clamouring for courts to move fast and take action on rapists, today's paper carries a story of a mentally challenged woman being raped by a member of our CRPF (reserve police?)
All this brings to mind the immortal lines of the supreme bard:
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not