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A reality check???

posted Jul 9, 2012, 9:40 AM by Rohit Lall
It's a fairly common site to see people being indifferent towards those that are impaired - visually, mentally, hearing or physically... It is a sad reality of life, that most people in India wouldn't bother to even treat such individuals with respect, but with a feeling of pity... Who is to blame for this indifference in attitude that exists amongst people? Why are the impaired people mostly in a situation where they feel inferior to others?

Unlike the west where every individual has his/her own identity irrespective of who they are and what they do, ours is a society with a deep rooted caste based system that seems to be present subconsciously. Let's look at the west for instance.. Every individual is treated with the same level of dignity and respect; people with impairments are given equal opportunities both at education as well as the workplace; and there is a lot of focus on making all public and workplaces easily accessible for such people... They are never looked down upon or treated with a sense of indifference.

In India however, no focused programs are in place for providing basic education to such individuals.. the families tend to consider such children as special and focus more on their overall upbringing, with the basic courses to send them to, versus trying to make them self sufficient over a period of time. On the flip side, not many "normal" children grow up understanding the sensitivity of dealing with such individuals and end up being indifferent towards them..

It is heartening to see Food & Beverage retail companies like Costa Coffee and KFC employ, train, develop and eventually place individuals with either a hearing or speech impairment behind the counter to take orders.. While most customers may never ever realise it, the person taking their order and serving them is someone they otherwise would be totally indifferent towards and treat with a sense of pity...

When will we, the educated, wake up to the reality that people with impairments are human beings first and are very similar to you and me? 
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