Updated: Jan 19
“Tasneem Fatima, Shivangi Agarwal, Arunima Sinha, Manasi Joshi, Vaishali Salvakar and many others.”
They are not Padma Bhushan awardees, neither are they internet sensations or page 3 models nor insta influencers; but are much much bigger than all of them, they are The True Warriors.
And now you are trying to build a relation between these names and title of the blog. But let’s keep it ambiguous for now; let us discuss something else first.
So it was the first Monday of January this year and I had a meeting with the organizing committee of the academic festival and we were deciding upon the youth influencers to be the panelists for the Panel discussion to be held. There comes this junior with an idea to call Shivangi Agarwal, who is an ‘Artivist’ at Determined Art Movement. She suffers from congenital disabilities in her limbs and uses prosthetic legs to walk. So we were like okay, call her and stuff; until she said that we have to be very careful with the way we act around her. She didn’t like to be given special treatment or to be called with fancy words or so called better terminologies (like differently abled). I was not convinced with what she meant but I got the hang of the notion. However after meeting her, I completely understood what she was trying to convey.
Shivangi said to me during a conversation that "it feels good when people say- you look beautiful, rather than saying you dress up well despite this".
It was deep indeed. Many a times we hurt them unconsciously by trying not to be offensive, we say some rude things, which triggers or points out that they have something missing or something abnormal. Social inclusion is a big word and we need to simplify it. They just need to be included /accepted for what they are, how they are, irrespective of whatever. They just need to feel being liked or being normal around ‘non-disabled people’ and need no special (discriminatory) treatment.
Society does not correlate with disability and being attractive or being powerful, famous or talented. There is only one generalized pre-conceived notion for them i.e. sympathy. You always feel to help them but honestly, they don’t need your sympathy.
Disability is not the end of the world or opportunities. Stop pitying over people who are different to you, because it’s not them who are disabled, it’s our environment that is non-permeable to accept the difference in them.
So here I introduce you to the Title of the blog “Hum ko toh Chahiye Azadi”, Special treatment se azadi, bhed-bhav se azadi, non-inclusion se azadi, sympathy se azadi.
All these women named above are women of steel, or may be the strongest material of the world because they didn’t only fight misogyny instead lead their life so bright, spilling motivation and strength all over.
TASNEEM FATIMA: - Founder of “Delhi State Wheelchair Basketball Association”. Tasneem, being a Spinal cord injured patient, started playing Wheelchair Basketball just after 4 months of her injury & got a medal in less than 6 months
ARUNIMA SINHA: - Founder of the charitable trust Arunima Foundation She had to have her left leg amputated as she was pushed out of a train due to resisting a robbery and then became the first woman amputee to climb Mount Everest in 2013.
MANASI JOSHI: - She won the bronze medal in women’s singles SL3 Category at the 2018 Thailand Para-Badminton International and at the Asian Para Games 2018. This was her first tournament after getting a sports prosthesis. She was required to have her leg amputated after a motorcycle accident and delayed medical attention.
VAISHALI SALVAKAR: - Vaishali Salvakar is the first Indian blind chess player to participate in the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in September 2018.
I hope it was not a “gyan” session for you, It’s just that they deserved an acknowledgement and it’s high time for us to appreciate the good in them.
I hope you might have found something worth reading here.
A sincere thanks to Kriti Gupta( firstname.lastname@example.org) for editing this piece and making it more meaningful.