There was alot of commotion in the lecture hall. The Professor was not in yet and students were scattered in different groups, some chatting, some hurriedly copying notes from previous class and some just plain bored looking at their watches impatiently. Suddenly, the door opened and with the light that came in a momentary hush fell over the hall. Everyone looked up and stared at the person who had entered. Those who didn’t were elbowed by their friends to do so. Necks were craned and eyebrows raised. A few seconds later which seemed like an eternity, while some still continued to stare and some hurriedly looked away and pretended to be busy in their work an awkward air had filled the hall and continued to do so till the person finally settled down.
So who was that one random person who warranted so much public attention? Certainly not the Professor! Could he be some celebrity, or someone related to one? No!!! Sadly, it would be a disabled person who dared to step out in the ‘normal’ world. A person who would bow his head, sit low in his seat, and mind his own business because each stare and each whisper makes him die a little inside. A paraplegic or a blind, a deaf, or a mute person. A person with no hands. A person on prosthesis.
Who knows what abilities, skills and talents Allah had gifted that person with, but do people want to find out? No! The first reaction would always be of surprise and an awkward smile. Do people think that what he may lack in physical aspect may have been compensated by a sharper mind than an ‘abled’ ‘normal’ bodied person? No! All we see are the deformed features, the funny way of walking, the ‘sad’ truth that the person is ‘lacking’ so much. And even if people don’t know or don’t want to know who that person is, they would certainly not shy away from that one curious gaze! When we teach manners to our children we tell them ‘it is rude to point’, did you ever think that it is rude to stare and make someone uncomfortable?
Change the scenario to that of a restaurant, shopping mall, park or any other place where you will only expect ‘normal’ people. Enters a person who may ‘walk funny’ or ‘look funny’ and the whole place is filled with curious stares and awkward head turns. Many normal people have weaknesses too but the only difference is a physical ‘weakness’ is more apparent for people to see. Imagine how would you like random people on the road passing judgements on your personal issues?
We, a group of volunteers, at Specially Abled disagree with this behavior and this thinking! We have come together using the contemporary social media and communication tools to raise our voices against this prejudice. Though a small group, our aim is to bring a shift in the taboo associated with the disabled. A society where the Specially Abled are not treated out of sympathy or with unwanted attention is what we dream of.
Does this sound like something you have experienced? Or maybe your child, sibling, or even a friend? Then we urge you to come forward and share with us your story, experience or any information with which we can help other people. The journey of thousand mile begins with a single step. If you think that you can take that single step to ease the journey for someone else, then join us and help us spread our message!
Concept by: @SimplySamee