mid-day editorial: A 'special' day calls for special measures

Published: Dec 03, 2016, 08:07 IST | mid-day correspondent

Today is a “special” day — it’s World Disability Day or International Day for the Disabled. In keeping with tradition, the United Nations has announced a theme for this day

Today is a “special” day — it’s World Disability Day or International Day for the Disabled. In keeping with tradition, the United Nations has announced a theme for this day. This year, the theme is to achieve 17 Goals for the Future We Want, which will focus on 17 sustainable development goals and how these goals can create a more inclusive and equitable world for those with disabilities. However, our city, in fact our country, has to go a long way before we become disabled-friendly.

Young global Indians, who travel a lot more than previous generations, will tell you how our country and our city needs to take great strides when it comes to factoring in the disabled in everyday life.

In the West, roads, public property and even vehicles are designed to give the differently abled a level playing field. They can access most, if not all, public spaces. They can afford to refuse assistance for crossing roads, access special parking and drive like regular people.

Instead of aiming to put more billion-dollar satellites into the orbit, why don’t our brilliant innovators and scientific join hands to pave way for better facilities for those walking the earth — use our advances in technology to help open newer avenues for the differently abled?

Yes, there has been progress. Some new, sleek office buildings do factor in these special people and offer better facilities. But perks without purpose and perception is of little use. A blind person, when asked whether one should them “visually impaired” or simply, “blind persons” said that it is not the label, but the treatment which truly matters.

The attitude matters most when it comes to treating the specially abled. Sympathy and empathy, not condescension, is key. “Disable” already has an “able” in it — it’s time to realise it’s there for a reason!

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