People across the globe condoled when two renowned personalities – theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Indian activist Javed Abidi – died earlier this year. Hawking who was bound to wheel chair for his life was lauded for his extraordinary academic excellence while Abidi born with spinal cord birth defect ‘Spina bifida’ was recognized for his contributions towards specially-abled community in India.
By Saurabh Kumar | Prerna Lall
Interns – CASA Communications
The extraordinary beliefs of the two men despite undergoing extraordinary conditions never pulled them away from their passions – with one reshaping the concept of time and space, and the other launching an organisation for the promotion of rights for the persons with disabilities.
According to 2011 census, Persons with Disability (PWD) of one type or another constitutes 2.21 per cent of the population in India.
The National Policy for Persons with Disabilities (2006) recognizes that Persons with Disabilities are valuable human resource for the country. The policy seeks to create an environment that provides equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in the society.
National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), a cross disability non-profit organization founded by Late Javed Abidi, found that 84% seats for disabled lie vacant at top universities. According to Abidi, law and policies are meaningless if colleges and universities are not accessible to the persons with disabilities. “These are top 50 national institutions. Imagine what it would be like in other colleges and universities in India,” he said.
In a latest ruling, Supreme Court said that as per the provision of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2016, it is imperative to provide proper and safe access to roads, transport, buildings and public places to differently-abled people so that they could enjoy a meaningful life and contribute to the progress of the nation.
PWDs have been aimed to be provided with equal opportunities through quotas in educational institutions and employment which have been further increased with respect to previous legislations.
What we need today is to encourage and provide opportunities to the persons with disabilities so that no one forgets that every person with a disability is an individual and every human deserves a life of dignity, equality and hope.
Photo Courtesy: NCPEDP Website