My Right to be Heard: B M Aravind

By

National Convention for Youth with Disability

Since my childhood, I dreamt of visiting Delhi at least once. I read a lot about Delhi in the books. I also saw the Red Fort several times while watching the celebrations of the most remarkable national festivals of our country. I used to see pictures of the Indian Parliament and felt very happy just by listening about the Parliament where the representatives of the people sit and discuss about the future of India. I dreamt of visiting Rashtrapati Bhavan, Jantar Mantar, Qutub Minar etc. I use to feel very sad, whenever I heard my friends discussing about Delhi. I use to ask them to tell me more about our capital. I never hoped at all that I will visit Delhi in my entire life because no one in my family has crossed the borders of Andhra Pradesh. Fortunately, my dream came true.

Aravind

I got an opportunity to go and visit Delhi. My University nominated me for the National Convention for Youth with Disability. It was organized by NCPEDP (National Center for the Promotion of Employment for the Disabled People). The conference was mainly about the people with Disability and the ways to improve life of those people. I heard from the Vice Chancellor’s office that the University has nominated me to attend the conference from the visual impairment category. At first I felt so excited when I heard the news of representing my University at the national level conference. The office also made it very clear that I have to go and attend the conference on my own expenses and university will not pay for it. I immediately realized that I can’t afford to go to Delhi because of financial constraints.

Thereafter, I informed the University that I will be not attending the Conference and stated the reasons. They accepted the same. As I am a student of IDIA, I use to sit and discuss all the issues such as my studies, friends, books, softwares like JAWS, classes etc, with my mentors. On that day also , I was sitting with my mentor Anusha and I was discussing my problems with her. At that time, I told her about the university nominating me for the conference. I also told her that I refused to go to Delhi because of the financial problems. After listening all these, she scolded me for informing it to her very late and she wrote a mail to shamnad sir immediately. Sir gave an instant response to the mail.

Thereafter, sir asked me to go and attend the conference and ensured that IDIA will bear all the expenses for Delhi. He got the tickets booked for me as well as for my friend as soon as possible. Thereafter, IDIA director Diptoshree along with her friend Jwala, took me shopping, to purchase woolens for me to use them in Delhi. Being from South India, they told me that I needed them during the Delhi winter. They also purchased formals which were required for the Conference.

I packed everything and boarded Rajdhani express to go to Delhi. I never believed that at one point I would be travelling in Rajdhani. Finally I reached Delhi and went to USI to attend the Conference.

The people representing different disabilities such as hearing impairment, visually challenged, orthopedically disabled and psychologically disabled came from different universities all over the country to attend the conference.

My senior Kanak, sat along with me till the 1st session. The 1st session was the most important sessions among all the sessions of the 2 day conference. Honorable minister of social justice and empowerment, Kumari Selja preceded over the conference. Javid Abidi was moderating the session. While the minister was speaking, she gave a speech on people with disability in India and their life. During her speech, she said that NGOs have to come forward for people with disability. She asked NGOs for establishing institutions for them and further added that the government can only provide support for those institutions. As a person from the visually impairment category I was very disappointed with her words that time. Since she is a minister, due to shortage of time she left the conference early than the scheduled time. Therefore, I was not able to make any point at that time.

Thereafter, many sessions like Disability movement in India, Politics Leadership and Disability were held. Renowned people like Meenu Bhambhani, Meenakshi Lekh also preceded over various sessions.

My first day of the conference was finished while meeting different people, speakers and listening to their speeches. I finished my first day of my conference and went back to the room. That night, I couldn’t able to sleep properly because I was not able to make any point against the words of the honorable minister in the conference.

I went to attend my 2nd day of the conference with well prepared mind set and anger. Fortunately, I felt that the 1st session of the 2nd conference is the platform I am waiting for and I raised my hand immediately in the question answer session. I was the 1st one of that day to make the point. As, I got the permission from the moderator Javid abidi to proceed, I started raising my points.

I told them how I was utterly disappointed with the words of Honorable minister. She said in her speech that the NGOs have to come forward and the government will only extends its support to them. I said that this was not something expected from her. I added that in my opinion, government should not rely upon any external factors like NGOs in this case to perform their functions. The fact that the concerned ministry is of such a view shows that government is also of the same opinion. I was of the view that the government is neglecting us because we represent only 2.1 % of the total population. Hence, it doesn’t have any vote bank in us. I stressed on the need to do something and strive together towards improving the lives of people with disability. After listening to me, I got a round of applause from everyone sitting there. Thereafter, everyone praised me for making such a valuable and valid point.

After that I played a substantial role in my group where we were asked to come up with three major problems faced by people with disability in their daily life. We were also asked to come up with solutions. In addition to this, I also participated in various discussions actively throughout the conference.

After my conference, I visited few popular places in Delhi and came back to NUJS with lots of happiness and satisfaction. My Delhi trip will remain one of the most memorable event throughout my life because that was the first time where I represented my university and raised my voice about the people with disability at a national level.

Last but not least, I am so grateful to IDIA for keeping faith on me and sending me for the conference by sponsoring me and extending its support for me not just in education but also on all other occasions.

3

  1. Thanks for sharing such an authentic post. Made my day.

  2. Keep posting.

  3. I appreciated all the best

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bhimavarapu Mouli Aravind | IDIA Law - […] 2013; where he engaged on issues relating to disability rights. Read his account of the convention here. He has also…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *