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Seeing ability in disability

Dec 8, 2012, DHNS 19:36 IST
Awareness of physical and intellectual disabilities and the need for the society to make true inclusion a reality is something our country needs to attain.

 The participants at the summit.Going on the same lines, was the first ‘India Inclusion Summit 2012’, held in the City on ‘World Disability Day’.

The summit provided for thought provoking discussions, and involved 300 delegates from different disability organisations.

Various sessions at the summit varied in topics. from ‘What are the intellectual disabilities, their impact and the Disability Bill’ by Dr Keerti Menon, a retired clinical psychologist, to ‘It’s not just about Cricket!” by George Abraham, founding chairman of the World Blind Cricket Council and the Association for Cricket for the Blind in India.

An interesting session with very personal anecdotes of the disability scene was a talk ‘Love yourself and your life!’ by Siddharth Jayakumar. With a touch of humour, Siddharth spoke about how even after being a top-scorer in all of his student life, he found it hard to find a job.

“It was a circle of testing times. They would call me
for an interview seeing my good scores, and then be shocked at my appearance. The search just seemed endless,” he said.

He added, “But then I learnt a valuable lesson from this experience. I learnt that it was time for me to understand the world than to expect the world to understand me.”

His life’s turning point was when he met A P J Abdul Kalam, and he said excitedly, “I cannot explain the joy I feel, when I hear that Abdul Kalam ji quotes me in his speeches at times.”

The session by Harsha Bhogle, renown Indian cricket commentator, attracted much attention, and brought to light his experience with the disabled.

At his talk ‘Role of sports in bringing disability to the forefront’, he explained how he had visited the UK, and after coming back to India realised that ‘we are not a disability friendly country’.

He also spoke about how since we are so driven by celebrities, more and more celebrities should associate themselves with such causes.

Nitya, a centre head for Apoorva centre for autism, talked about the summit, “I’m here to acquire more knowledge about the changing trends and new happenings, in the disability sector. This is a nice opportunity to meet like-minded people, and discuss new ideas, which in turn encourages in contributing more to the field.”

Sunder Rajan, a businessman by profession, shared his interest in the summit,“I and many others are here to know updates about the Disability Bill, and to know if it will come into effect at all. The Parliament is in session, and nothing seems to be happening about this bill. This is a cause for all the politicians to come together, and instead of blaming each other of corruption, how about coming together for a common purpose? I have a 20-year-old son who is autistic, and I need to know if his future will be secure.”

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