On display: Talent and grit

“The words ability and disability are complementary. One can be great in academics but is he the same in art?”, asks Tulsi Das, the Delhi-based founder of Uthan Prayash, an NGO that helps the underprivileged in India.

Das who works with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) established Uthan Prayash foundation in 2011, an NGO that will present the second edition of their show Enable India — an initiative that gives differently abled people a platform to showcase their extraordinary capabilities through various art forms. “Many people who we consider less abled than us, can actually do most of what we can accomplish. The only thing they need is encouragement and love and Enable India strives to do just that,” says Das.

Kamlesh Patel, who has been paralysed in both legs performs the Wonder Dance on stage

The first edition of this event was launched in Mumbai in 2011 to a full house. This year, among others who will perform on stage is Kamlesh Patel, a 30-year-old dance enthusiast from Vadodara who has paralysis in both legs. But that has not stopped him from performing on stage. “I will be dancing to a few patriotic as well as classical numbers. There is also a special element in the performance where I will dance with props like plates, tables etc,” he tells us over the phone.

ADAPT foundation India, which helps provide education, training and treatment to teenagers and young adults suffering from cerebral palsy, will also be taking part this year. Asha Kumar, head, services, Adapt India says, “We are honoured tobe performing at Enable India.

Magic on wheels— a dance performance by Helpers of the handicapped.

It’s a great initiative that proves that people with disabilities are no different that others.” It was a conscious decision by Das to not include any entry fees for the event. “I wanted it to be free. We are organising the event to create awareness and to break the stereotype about differently-able people.” So how did he manage to gather funds for this event?

A student from the Kamla Mehta School for the Blind performs the rope mallakhamb on stage

Das says he received tremendous support from ONGC as well as friends. “I didn’t have to struggle for funds. People were more than happy to donate money for this noble cause,” he admits.

Das believes in thinking ahead. “My short-term goal is to create awareness about my NGO through social media and to organise similar events in the rural areas. Over a longer period of time, I hope to establish an institution that encourages art, music and culture among the underprivileged,” he signs off. 

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