Monday, November 2, 2009

The Disabled or abled?????

Man goes in search of troubles, tribulations and problems in the name of adventure, investigation, discovery etc. But when they come in search of him, he just cannot accept it. Why?
Working in the same environment, staying in a same place is not acceptable to anyone. Everyone yearns for a change. Even then, when they see a person who is not like everyone but different in some way, they cannot accept that person easily. S/he is labeled abnormal. Why should a person be called disabled or abnormal just because one (or more) vital parts of body aren’t functioning to the maximum? I feel the word differently abled or special is more suited in this situation. I haven’t come across a person who will fit perfectly into the category ‘Normal Person’. Before finding a perfect normal person I cannot say a certain person is not normal.
It is same with the term handicapped. Who is without any handicap? Who can proudly thump his/her chest and declare ‘I have no handicap at all?’ Most probably, no one. Yet a certain person is branded handicapped just because you can point out exactly where the problem is..
I had come across a blind man in my early childhood. He was standing under the banner ‘Physically handicapped’. Yet he could travel to his place of work every day and almost do everything what the so called normal persons would do.
Once my college-mate said she was going to see a special professor on some topic pertaining to her studies, as no one had been able to make her understand it properly so far. She was afraid she would fail in the exams if her doubts were not cleared. I went along with her because it was boring for her to go alone and she pleaded with me for my company. When I saw the professor, I was shocked. He was the blind man I had seen traveling to work and admired all these years. I wondered how a blind-man could be better than the professors we had in college. When she asked him her doubts, I was in for more shock because he was very highly intellectual person and so eloquent. His explanations were quite simple and even I could understand what he said though it was not what I was studying at that time. He changed my perception forever. He gave me more confidence in my life. He will never know that even after many years a girl who had visited him looks up to him for inspiration. He is one of those strangers who have made a difference in my life without realizing it.
My visit to him had set my mind thinking. On what basis can a blind man be called handicapped? Here was a man without sight who had learnt to read so well, whereas we have many who have sight and books but cannot read. They don’t want to read. As I was pondering on this question my mother who had called me for the fourth time came over. I asked her the question (she always dreaded when I tried to ask her a question?) ‘Why is a blind person called handicapped?’ She heaved a sigh of relief because this was simple question for her to answer, normally my questions were neither simple nor had any answers, especially when I was not responding when being called. “Simple, because they cannot see”, she answered. She saw I was not satisfied and walked away because she never wanted to answer my questions. But I could not stop the questions coming in my mind. How good are the ones with good sight to understand what they see? How much do we see around us? How many times do we correctly perceive what we have seen? How good are we at looking into our own faults? We all go blind when we have to find our mistakes, faults, shortcoming etc. How often are we touched by what we see? If we honestly answer these questions, we will sure realize how limited our sight is.
If a blind person who has no vision (Am I right in saying so?) has developed an alternative sense to replace the void created by lack of sight, I feel he should not be labeled disabled person but a highly enabled person. He is viewing something without the help of eyes. His way of seeing an object would be touch, sound etc. We do have the senses what he has but we do not use them just because we have eyes. How many other senses and abilities are being lost in us just because we have the privileges? Later on as the chapters of my life unfolded and I was supposed to bring up a special needs child I realized how spoiled we are.. how we take for granted the sight, speech, hearing etc. Time for me to wake … and be grateful.


  1. Very well put. It's always been my experience that an individual that struggles in one area is gifted in another.

  2. Farila, I am with you 100%.
    The last paragraph is very true. how many senses are lost because we have the abilities .When one of our senses is lost we completely develop others.
    hugs hugs

  3. Very thoughtful. I look at the word handicap as just meaning a person who as to take extra steps to do the same as a person who is not handicap. Nothing to do with how able one is.

    Thanks Farila for this great post

  4. Very thought provoking and very interesting. When I was a child, I can remember my Grandmother calling these people "Touched" because they had been touched by God, and although they had a handicap, they were gifted in other ways.
    I once knew a man who worked sweeping the streets, because that was all he was physically able to do, but this man was once a brilliant Mathematician, and could work out any problem that you gave him! He was such a marvellous man, but that was all he had to do in life.
    It's totally unfair to judge people on appearances, who knows what lies beneath? And who are we to judge?

  5. Thank you everyone for accepting my thoughts... I once had been rebuked by a lawyer for expressing something like this. I myself was born with a club foot and had a bad limp in my early childhood. I can very well relate to the book 'Of Human Nature'. I had earn my respect and love which I felt was sort of unfair..
    I blah blah a lot most of the time and still do.. but at times when I teaching my daughter a new word like mail, phone and see the struggle she goes through to get it right is when I realize how much I should watch what I say.

  6. Most of us cannot really perceive correctly because our minds are already busy coming to pre-conceived conclusions. And that is what we need to learn - to pause, to think - before we respond. The questions of a child can more than often make us see again.
    Good long post. - Blessings to all

  7. Very thoughtful post! Whats most important is accepting people with physical disabilities as one amongst us and not killing them with over-display of sympathy or a you-are-from-Neptune attitude!


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