I was given this topic and was asked to speak for the motion in an inter-school debate. My first reaction- “I’m sorry, I can’t!" The topic was enough to catch my attention towards the sheer neglect of handicapped people. Everywhere I look there are devils and angels, pantheons and freak-shows, all in the name of disability. Its hardly not a new trend. But this millennia-old attitude does a terrible disservice to disabled people everywhere to be cast as either devils or angels. It is dehumanizing, and removes us from our humanity and thus our basic human rights too.
I have come across a variety of individuals who have accepted challenges in life in the form of some handicap. (My father himself is visually handicapped, lost his eyes when he was just 2 yr. old.So i can say that i have had the opportunity to spend time in close proximity to handicapped people). But these people so successfully thwarted it that it now appears to be a life full of success and epitome for others. They never let their disability come in their way.
Have I used this word?
I should not have!
Now there are positive terms available, matching with the positive attitude of such persons with handicaps. These individuals accept much bigger challenges in life because of the deficiency of a vital organ and so they should be termed as challenged!!
Handicap is basically a state of the mind. A so called able-bodied person may also not live a productive life. He may attribute his unhappiness to some other thing which he lacks in life. Don’t we all do that? Be it money, comfort or even the non-fulfillment of our wishes.
Just on the contrary, a person WITH a handicap may generally forget all about his deficiency , fight against all odds, struggle hard and lead a happy and productive life.
It depends more on our outlook towards life rather than the handicap.
If we look at it from a scientific angle, all our 5 senses enable us to lead a smooth life but in case a person is deprived of any particular sense, his sensory perception becomes so powerful and acute.
This simply happens because of his total dependence on his remaining 4 senses.
For example- if a person has a loss of vision, his aural and tactual perception increases, making it possible for him to forget all about his loss of vision.
In many areas we also notice that an individual who has accepted his handicap with an optimistic outlook and is content with his life is generally not accepted by a society which perceives handicap as a stigma or a blur.
At times, the society itself poses hindrances and obstacles by depriving an individual with a handicap of the opportunities which come in the way very naturally to a person without a handicap. Is this fair on their behalf? Did they commit a mistake by being a little less equipped than us, the so called able-bodied?
NO! Then they have every right to live a productive life! And those who think otherwise, I consider that they are the ones who are really handicapped.