Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Why can’t the DoPT junk the word — physically handicapped?

ALMOST six months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed people to call differently abled people as Divyaang (of godly parts) instead of Viklaang (handicapped) in his radio programme called Mann Ki Baat, most union government departments have not made any attempt to move towards the direction. Here is a DoPT office memorandum dated May 26, 2016. Subject?…
“Intimation of Physically Handicapped candidates in the Final Select List-2003…” Then take a look at the body of the text. It says…"all cadre units were requested to intimate the details of physically handicapped candidates…”
Also, the government continues to haver a policy called PH Policy where PH stands for Physically Handicapped.
According to a government order dated May 17, it was however decided that the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities would be called Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Vibhag in Hindi, replacing the word Viklangjan with Divyangjan. But a disability rights group called National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled opposed the idea of changing the words arguing that disability is not divine, and the use of the word divyaang in no way ensures an end to discrimination on grounds of disability. The group instead wants the government to address the issues of stigma, discrimination and marginalisation that persons with disabilities suffer. 
Yet, no one in the developed word uses the words — physically handicapped. Instead, differently abled is considered the most appropriate. 
Maybe, the government departments need a better co-ordination, and all use a more acceptable and appropriate word to describe the differently abled people. After all, if the government continues to use an inappropriate word, how can the common people be expected to use an appropriate word?

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