mid day editorial: Let's ramp up inclusivity in this city
Yesterday, we saw Mumbai marking World Disability Day with a series of events
Yesterday, we saw Mumbai marking World Disability Day with a series of events. There were bands and performances by the physically challenged, panel discussions held by disabled persons and experts talking about their life and their triumphs in the face of adversity. It is good to note that awareness is growing and the issue is becoming more than a mere blip on the Mumbaikar's radar. But anyone who has been abroad will realise what a long way we still have to go before we can compare to other countries, particularly in the West. Many countries have taken great strides while factoring in the physically challenged in everyday life. Roads, public buildings and cars are designed to give the disabled a level playing field. They are able to access most, if not all, public spaces. Most times, they can cross roads without help, use special parking, negotiate buildings and public spaces with complete independence.
We have a long way to get to this stage. Buildings, at least the new ones, should have ramps for wheelchairs built into them, our new footpaths and roads can have indentations for the blind, braille can be more widely used, and certain key events, like elections or celebrations for Republic Day or Independence Day, should include viewing galleries for the disabled. Let us not treat those with disabilities as afterthoughts. Our attempts to include them cannot end at one bogey reserved in local trains. Leaders, decision-makers, movers and shakers of this city must make an effort to turn things around. Let us now go beyond lip service and ensure that the
physically challenged can enjoy this city, and all it has to offer, as much as anyone else.