Everyone in the world is handicapped one way or other. Or as Dr. Anita Ghai (professor from Delhi University and a social activist, for persons who are differently abled) puts it, temporarily abled. Because as we get aged we are losing the effectiveness of our senses and our brain and organs’ growths deteriorate. Anyone can get impaired at any point of life due to an injury or accident or sudden development of disease. Change is always permanent, and that applies to our bodies too. But though we know this general fact, how do we easily condescend other people‘s level abilities and handicaps. What should actually be done to get into our conscious that we ought to be grateful for what we got and use our gifts appropriately and for the ones we don’t, we have the ability and creativity enough to compensate for them? After all everyone has survival instincts which is basic of every human.
The world is a place with variety and it is basically to be explored. But we humans have narrowed our vision so much, for the convenience of our brains that we choose to discard variety. We have self inflicted saturation on our brains with stigma, discrimination and prejudice, so that our brains fail to allow any kind of broadened perspective. It is failing to accommodate variety and richness. We have created rules and restrictions for our imaginations .We are in such a rush to organize and gain control over the intimidating world with its variety that in all the convenience, we have forgotten how much ability our brain has, to accommodate, to think and judge and get creative.
We have already created a basic structure. Like for e.g.: a human has to have two hands and two legs. If he has ears they have to hear, if he has a mouth he has to speak. But was it history that every man who was born was born like that? Why have failed to see that there is also a man who has only one hand or a man who has only one leg. Why is he regarded as an outcast? He was also present as you since evolution. He is a product of nature as you are. If you call him different, seeing it from your perspective. Then from his point of view you are different too. Yes, there is a perspective surrounding, fail not to see! Why he is not included? He may relatively not be able to walk as quickly as you, but if he has a stick, he can still match your pace. He may not have one leg but he may be better than you when it comes to speaking .Or better so, this person has easily understood several things that can be managed with one leg alone. But we are the ones who are actually handicapped as you need both the legs to do the same job.
This is the mental block that has been created. We have assumed that there is only one effective way and we have failed to open the other opportunities thinking we won’t be needing them. That is self-centeredness. That is a block in creativity and the variety your mind can accommodate. Maybe we need two legs to run the fastest. That hypothesis can be proved wrong. Animals with four legs run well than men who have two legs. Also the same person, who thinks he is the most effective as he has two fully functional legs, might grow old and lose a limb. Or lose his efficiency. How is he going to cope when he has this mental block? It wouldn’t allow him to search for alternative ways. He may use a stick or an alternative machine which can make him efficient or much more than what he was before. Or he may simply learn to do things, using one leg. Or search for additional creative opportunities, like modifying the environment around him to suit his needs as he grows older. A human has such power and he demeans it by simply choosing not to think, imagine , accommodate or manipulate himself or the environment surrounding him to a level that he need not never be handicapped at all.
I was told that people who use sign language to communicate and people who use the Braille language to communicate are treated as handicaps or disabled. I also heard that ,to this, a person with different ability commented that people condemn her since she uses sign language but those people are also disabled since they do not know sign language and they are unable to communicate with her. Sign and Braille language are just another form of scripture or language.
Sure we do not know all the languages of the world. And we are handicapped if we go to an unknown country and unable to speak that language. But the people in that native country think we are handicapped as we do not know their native language. Do they care to think that they do not know our language? We also get a taste of how it feels like to be handicapped when we ourselves experience it!
And we have two options, to get pessimistic and look at our handicap as a block which we can never get over with or to choose alternate options to compensate or overcome our handicap. We either try to learn the native language. Or, why? We use ‘signs’ first to communicate to people around, if we do not know their native language!! And ironically we the same people label a person using sign language as a handicap and as a person who can never get over his/her disability. We undermine the person’s abilities and survival instincts. Don’t we?