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Appreciating Ira Singhal, The Different Way!

  • JWB Post
  •  July 13, 2015

 

We are all familiar with Ira Singhal, a name which has been highlighted in the dailies over the past few days. For those of us still in the grey area, she is the first differently-abled woman (she suffers from scoliosis, or curvature of the spine) to have topped the UPSC exams. As applaudable and praiseworthy as that is, I would like to bring to the table a different perspective.

In a country where a Persons with Disabilities Act exists to preserve the rights of disabled people, and to ensure full participation and equality, a girl had to struggle! Yes! Literally struggle her way through to get a posting. Oh wait! I missed something there! A disabled girl called Ira Singhal.

She cleared the exams in 2010 too, but was denied a posting because of her inability to push, pull and lift. Well, that’s what the authorities said. Today she works as an Assistant Commissioner in the Customs & Excise department of the Indian Revenue Services, after a chain of battles and court cases.

So, getting back to my real question, when such laws exist in our country, why a disabled person has to go through all this?

Allow me to offer an answer. The aforementioned act stands for granting rights to the disabled, but in reality, it strictly limits the definition of disability, leaving a lot of such people out of the purview.

 Ira Singhal has paved her way through, but what about the other disabled people, who the government should dutifully be protecting, as per the provisions of Article 17 and Article 27 of the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), which India has signed? And it’s not just about the Government! Why are people, such as private employers, on a general basis, discriminating towards the disabled instead of providing an equal opportunity?

I’ll be a hypocrite if I sit here writing about what government does and does not do for such people, when I myself don’t want to have them near me.

Oh! And by the way, this brand new focus on the rights of the disabled would not have come, had Ira not made the news with her commendable results.

So, we whole-heartedly appreciate you Miss Singhal, not only for your superb performance, (that the media all over is praising you for), but also for winning this struggle despite the current state of affairs in our country.

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