Miranda House, University of Delhi, organized a seminar on the 16th and the 17th of January 2014. The seminar was called ‘Deconstructing Disability’. It was organized by the Enabling Society of the college, Lakshita. The event was sponsored by ICSSR and gathered the presence of students from across the colleges of the Delhi University. The first day witnessed the premiere of a short movie on disability, which was introduced by George Abraham. The second day of the event was full of discussions and speeches involving eminent personalities. It began with the welcome address by the Principal, Dr. Pratibha Jolly which was followed by an inaugural address by Dr. Sam Taraporevala.
The inaugural speech could have been no better to kick off an inspiring morning like this. Dr. Sam said that the social structure is largely responsible for making the disabled even more disabled than they are. He feels that reservation is required and is necessary as well but then the specially abled people should not entirely depend on it. They need to have the attitude to act as the ‘Ambassadors of Change’. He even appreciated the way Delhi Metro has been designed to cater to the needs of all kind of people. Special time was allotted to the students who had queries. One of the specially disabled students, pursuing Hons in B.Sc.(Math) shared her life experience. She was a bright student and so wanted to opt for Science at the Senior Secondary level. The government’s rule prohibited her from doing that. She was adamant with her decision and so she even was successful. She wanted to become and engineer but all the coaching classes denied admissions to her, despite she getting overwhelming scores. The reason behind it being her ‘disability’.
Dr. Sam’s inaugural speech was followed by the first Panel Discussion. Poonam Natrajan was one of the panelists. She feels that disability is a part of the human diversity and all of us are disabled in some way or the other. She even said that people should not be judged on the basis of their Iqs because it is just a lame way to label people. Where Poonam Natrajan talked about these things, George Abraham gave the students the four Ps of life, namely People, Possibility, Passionate and Potential. Next in amongst the panelists was Sonal Sena who did not speak for long like others. She just asked the students whether or not anywhere in the poster it was written that the seminar was only for the specially abled people. The reason behind her, asking this satirical question was that around 80% of the people present there were the specially abled ones. This shows how aware and responsible we are as young citizens.
Following this was the second Panel Discussion. It had Renu Addlakha, Anjlee Agarwal, Dipendra Manocha and Niranjan Khatri as the panelists. The discussion was more geared up towards a practical and a professional approach. It was all about the employment of the specially abled people. Mr. Niranjan Khatri has also been a member of the committee which prepares a list of the jobs (suggestive) for these people. He said doing this is a difficult task because every other day the capabilities of these people keeps on increasing and hence cannot be bound within limits. Apparently, in some countries the visually impaired people are eligible even get the job of a Pilot.
After this was the third Panel Discussion which discussed the Laws and Human Rights concerning the specially abled people. It had Radhika Alkazi, Merry Barua, Subhash C. Vashishth as the panelists. Last but not the least was the Valedictory Session which even had a performance by the Hindi DramSoc of Miranda House, Anukriti. The conference was really an eye opener to the young minds. It was both surprising and inspiring to see the specially abled students so determined and confident. No one can deny this that they and us are at par, in each and every field. Awareness is a must and ultimately all of it comes to Nazariya and we find Nazar has very less to do with helping us to become what we aspire to. The trash to cash merchandise exhibited in the college campus was also a center of attraction. The special thing about it was that all the products there had been made by the specially abled people. A picture of that has been given in the article.