In definition, disabled people refers to people who are restricted in potential to function mentally, physically and socially (Thomas & Woods, 2003). In respect to the complication different categories have been formulated including sensory impairment, physical impairment, mental impairment, intellectual impairment, cognitive impairment and any other chronic disease leading to malfunctioning of the body. Different cultures have different theories explaining the cause of these disabilities (Goodley, Hughes, & Davis, 2012). Depending on the theory attached to the cause of any of the impairers mentioned above, victims have been exposed to a different treatment which has affected their social, economic and spiritual life. Continuous research on the truth based on the theories has eroded some of the theories opening chances for the disabled to participate in different social, economic and spiritual activities. Additionally, technology has positively impacted the lives of the disabled by enabling them to perform a different task like any other parson. Eradication of some of the cultural virtual that undermined the handicapped has shaped the lives of the disabled people and motivated them to fit in the society. Alternatively, different potential identified in different people having various disabilities has motivated an individual, organisation, and the government to fight for their right an act which has paved the way for the handicapped to participate in different social, economic, political and spiritual activities.
In this paper, I will critically analyse how handicapped were treated based on Indian culture, how such treatment affected their social life and how finally discuss some of the possible ways to improve resources of treating the handicapped.
Indian Culture in Relation to Handicapped People
Handicapped people in Indian culture was viewed as a curse or misfortune (Marini, Glover-Graf, & Millington, 2012). Individuals with different disabilities were secluded from other members of the society to maintain the purity of the land. In case a member of the society mingled with the handicapped that individual was declared as unclean and a special ceremony was conducted to cleanse that individual. Discrimination translates to mental and psychological torture and the affected individual could not realize their potential. Additionally, discrimination lowered the victim's esteem making them live a stressful life. Prolonged stress is termed as depression, and it contributes a lot to the development of mental illness. Complication resulting from discrimination were viewed as a further punishment from the ancestors.
According to Wiener and Willborn (2011), the handicapped were viewed as a burden to the community. Culturally the handicapped were not allowed to participate in community activity thus viewed as a liability to the community. They enjoyed limited rights compared to other people since they were not contributing the development of the community. Blocking them from participating in community activities made them remain dormant and being criticized by the people.
Indian culture discriminated families with handicapped people (Misra, 2009). To avoid such discrimination children identified to have some disabilities at their early stages were killed. Culturally the death of such people was highly celebrated since the people associated it with deliverance from any misfortune that the community could encounter.
The handicapped had no right to enjoy education. As other children enjoy education, the disabled were left indoor to avoid exposing the weakness of the family. Enclosing the disabled restricted them from socializing with other age mates. It is during the interaction process children realize their abilities and start implementing them. Additionally denying the handicapped children the right to education made them leave in darkness and remain to be liabilities in the community (Priestley, 2001). It is through education and interaction one realized his/her rights to food, clothes, and shelter. Education enlightens an individual and shapes that individual’s ability (Gabel, 2005). Culturally being denied their right to education made their ability remain unrevealed and not useful to the society.
Culturally Indians handicapped people were not allowed to marry (Bolt, 2014). Marriage was only for the people who were complete as the culture viewed the disabled to be incomplete. Marriage is a rite of passage which enhances the social aspect of a being. Denied the right to married made the handicapped feel detached from their community. Being handicapped does not mean one is infertile and being denied the right to marry subjected the disabled to physical and psychological torture. Marriage enhances continuity of a family and denying the disabled the right to marry indicated that the hierarchy of that individual is cut.
Based on Indian culture women were undermined. They were categorized in the same class with the children, and they were not given a chance to participate in economic, religious activities (Schultz, 2001). Considering this fact and relating the female disabled with the male handicapped it is clear that female handicapped were highly ignored and mistreated. Minor disabilities in man were justified while in female the minute one were magnified. Men being viewed as the inheritors and flag bearer of the family they sometimes deviated from harsh treatment the female handicapped experiencing.
Indian males were the law formulators and enforcers, and it was against the cultural ethics to oppose the law formulated. Any women who rose to oppose the direction given by the elders was highly punished. Men being the law formulators and enforcers formulated laws which strongly affected the female disabled. Male handicapped enjoyed some freedom which made them prove their ability and fit in the society. Using the achievement of the male handicapped the elders justified the issue and considered female handicapped as curse or misfortune in the community.
Increasing Resources to Treat Handicapped
Designing Facilities which can Accommodate the Disabled
During construction of building the structure should be designed in a way that the disabled can comfortably use the structure (Mann, 2008). The introduction of lift in building and rammers has played a key role in ensuring that the disabled are comfortably using different services offered within the structure. Designing such structures bridges the gap that has existed and enables handicapped exploit their abilities.
Increased Equipped Learning Institution for Handicapped
The disabled require special learning system which sometimes is expensive and scarce to locate. Increasing the institution creates a conducive environment for the interested disabled people to learn and discover their potential (Reynolds & Fletcher-Janzen, 2007). Lack of equipment to aid the disabled perform different task in their respective learning institution has proved to be one of the factors that contribute dropping out of their school before completing their course. Research conducted by Woolcock (2010) indicate that in every 1000 disabled people in India only 15 to 35 complete their courses. Disabled people who complete their courses have proved to perform better even than another individual who is not handicapped.
Bridging the gap between the disabled and the society requires awareness and creation to eradicate the cultural beliefs which discriminate the disabled. Educating the society on the ability and talent the disabled have will change the motives of the community. Change of motives will open chances for the disabled to participate in social, economic and spiritual activities thus boosting their esteem. Accepting the disabled and realizing their potential will expose them to rites of passage like marriage. According to Ghosh (2016), approximately 47% of the disabled are not married in India. The situation is worsening, but when the disabled are involved in community activities, they interact an act which helps them appreciate their condition. The understanding community will provide them with a platform which will enable them to engage themselves in community activities.
Through technology, the disabled can perform the different task assigned to them thus feeling comfortable within a professional setting. For the blind advanced and enough Braille should be provided in both rural and urban areas. From the report published by (Mazurek and Winzer in the year 2005 it is clear that 11% of the disabled were enrolled in special schools in Indian’s urban area as opposed to 1% in the rural area. Ensuring equal provision of improving machine in both urban and rural area will reduce the number of illiterate handicapped. Automated wheelchairs have been manufactured which helps the lame to move without any assistant comfortably. Using technology some disabilities have been treated, and individuals have recovered their normal status. Adoption of such technology will help in the eradication of the belief that disability is a curse or misfortune.
Employment creates a socialization environment which helps in eradication of incompetence among the disabled (Yang &Sook-Mee, 2011). When the disabled are involved in the different profession, they contribute to the development of the community. Taking part in community development helps in counteracting the belief that handicapped are a burden to the society. Additionally, they make their family proud a situation which encourages families with disabled people. Given a chance to apply their skills encourages young potential handicapped to work hard reducing the percentage of the illiteracy among the disabled? The government should secure specific position to be occupied by the disabled to encourage them to concentrate on education. Securing position for the handicapped help in motivating the community to educate the disabled. Research conducted by Bartle in the year 2015 shows that 265 of the Indian disabled are employed. The percentage has been increasing yearly an aspect which has motivated the community to educate and value the disabled.
In conclusion, the Indian culture is being eroded gradually and handicapped are positively benefiting from the cultural eradication. Resources allocated to the disabled are increasing yearly and aspect which is contributing in motivating the disabled to take part in social economic and religious activities. Disability is not inability therefore handicapped should be provided with the same platform as the other people.
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