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Who is handicapped?

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, May 24, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I was recently spending an evening with a retired Army officer who became physically disabled during active service. He lost both his legs during the operations at Bangla Desh and has been living with artificial limbs ever since. As I was talking to him, another friend joined us. We fell into some pleasant reveries when the friend suddenly asked the Army officer how it felt to be without the two legs. The army officer replied “I like to concentrate on what I have and not what I don’t have”

    That was a moment of truth for me. How naïve we are to think that we are not handicapped just because we have all our physical faculties in tact! As long as we are not able to tap our physical and mental resources in full, all of us are handicapped. An able-bodied man proving himself to be a great nuisance to society is also a handicapped person. He makes the whole society lame and cripple by his activities.
    Coming back to what the Army officer was saying, all of us have the impulsive habit of brooding over what we don’t have instead of concentrating on what we have. As an extension of this habit, when we look at a physically handicapped person, we tend to look at his missing hands or missing legs but fail to notice how well he uses his other faculties. When we meet a mentally challenged person, we feel sorry for him but go and behave as peculiarly elsewhere little realising that by such an exhibition, we may ourselves be earning similar sympathy.


    As a corollary, we always tend to bring up our children by forcing them to develop what they don’t have rather than encouraging them to pursue what they like most. Consider this for a moment. If Mrs. Viswanathan had severely chided her son for wasting his time on chess instead of reading his geography lessons, warning him that she would have no alternative but to consign the chess board and the paraphernalia to the waste paper basket if he persisted, Anand might have become one of those Section Officers who get lost behind the mountains of papers in a Government office. Or for that matter, if Mrs.Tendulkar had threatened her son that she would not only break his bat but his hand as well if she saw him carrying the damn thing in again, Sachin wouldn’t have broken cricket records. They became legends because their mothers had the good sense to give their children full freedom to develop their skills instead of forcing them to do something in which the children had no interest.

    All of us are disabled in some form or other. Some of us are aware of it too. It is prudent to concentrate on our strengths than to feel unhappy about our weaknesses. The condescending attitude that we display towards the handicapped is perhaps only to hide our own handicap. What the handicapped require is not our sympathy for what they do not have but our recognition of what they have.
     
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  2. Lavanya

    Lavanya Bronze IL'ite

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    This thread has come to me in the right time... as I was brooding over the 'defects' in my life & trying to grasp the last straw of hope, this thread has motivated me to keep going. Awareness is the first step towards self-improvement. If only all of us can take a moment to realize our handicaps & take measures to improve the gifts we have then we can definitely have a happier life.
     
  3. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    A very impressive article Cheeniya sir. How can we say that we all are normal just because we appear so outwardly? A wholesome thought from you about people who may not look so wholesome. How blind is my friend who resorts to small cunning moves to belittle others she is not fond of, how crippled is one for thinking only money and fame matters to life, how deaf are we for not hearing the call for help...Yes, handicap is a term wrongly used.

    L, Kamla
     
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  4. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    I logged on right on time, i guess. Your article is with a lot of depth and the lines by your frien , as to concentraten on What We Have is true! how we tend to neglect that and go on yearning for what others have.....true we r all handicapped one way or other!
    I did have this experience of teaching dance with physically handicapped children ( legs were handicapped) ....my what an eyeopener that was.....i did a whole folk dance suiting and adapting the movements for these children and we did participate in a show too! But to see the enthusiasm and energy and motivation....that was worth all the trouble....and i noticed that nowhere they wanted sympathy or never did they feel any sense of insecurity, on the other hand they were confident and participated wholeheartedly!
     
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  5. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,

    An eye opening article indeed, and very thought provoking. Yes who are we to put the tag of " handicap" on someone!! I would much rather use this term in a golf game rather than to describe someone who is physically or mentally challenged.

    Wonderful artcile indeed. Like Sudha described her experience, I too must share that where i went to school , they had a separate school for the special children. Going to school with them was agreat experience. You could see their strong sense of independence and they never wanted to be treated special .

    Handicap is a word that is used wrongly!.

    Vandhana
     
  6. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,

    A very thought provoking subject & you have handled it with your customary elan ! All the others have shared their thoughts so beautifully that I wonder , what is there for me to add ! But write I must because the subject is so close to my heart.

    In my (our, as well?) younger days, my favourite song was from Bagapirivani in which Shivaji & Sarojadevi acted :
    Thangathile oru kurai irundalum tharaththle kuraiyum undo?
    Um angathile oru kurai irundalum, anbu kuraivathundo?

    As a young girl, this made a deep impact on me & it still continues. As individuals, we have so many follies in our external appearance - short,tall, fat,thin, dark, fair etc. That does not seem to bother us, but we call a person handicapped if one leg is very short or one hand has no fingers. How are we justified in doing it at all, I wonder.

    When Sneha sings in the film Autograph, the song "Ovvoru pookaalum solkirathe", there is a visually challenged man Komagan who acts as the music conductor. He has become the first music director for a film, entirely, to his credit !

    You wrote it correct that we curb some basic interests in children, in our anxiety to shape their future to our desire !

    I close (are you heaving a sigh of relief, Sri?) with my favourite lyrics, I learnt in school days

    Count your blessings See what God has done
    Count your blessings Name them one by one

    This I read recently by Bing Crosby

    When I'm worried and I can't sleep
    I count my blessings instead of sheep
    And I fall asleep counting my blessings
    When my bankroll is getting small
    I think of when I had none at all
    And I fall asleep counting my blessings

    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  7. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    dear sri,
    theoritically visualising a handicapped is something different from one actually going thru these things without asking for, we dont need others to sympathise with us, yes i am also a handicap only physically that is hard of hearing but my other faculty is excellent, i dont have to tell here in what other fields i excel, god when shuts just one of the functioning opens so many u have to take time to choose from, and we defenitely make a mark when given an oppurtunity, my husband could had i say again could had felt sometime what a folly has befallen, but i set him right by becoming a single parent, that too taking up singing as a challenge, and to day as i look back i find a lot of beautiful well laid garden of memories i have left behind. U r right the disabled are not we, but people who have all still dont know how to live with it..regards sunkan

    P.S.WE ARE DIFFERENTLY ABLED
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2007
  8. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Cheeniya,

    A good one! And as you and others have rightly said, 'handicapped' is a word used often for the wrong persons in the wrong context. Being challenged in good qualities is a greater handicap than physical or mental disabilities.

    V24
     
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  9. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Cheeniya,

    More to lament about. It is bad enough that individuals poke fun or pass cruel remarks about challenged persons. What about the image of handicapped people portrayed in cinemas? I feel particularly enraged when I see people of below average height being ridiculed in movies. It is bad enough to lead a life discriminated for lack of height, why call them names and add insult to injury? Equally infuriating is the crudeness associated with the persons who are of third gender either by birth or through social practice or elective surgery.

    We do not pause to think that we could easily have been in their shoes-- our children,God forbid,could be in their shoes.

    V24
     
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  10. abhatv

    abhatv Senior IL'ite

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    Hello Cheeniya Sir,

    Your old army friend has rightly said that you should be happy about what you have got and not lament about what you don't have. If you are happy like that, you will also make the best use of what you have and automatically make up for what you don't have. It need not be even a conscious effort.

    Physically handicapped is better than being mentally handicapped. Once you really get to know a person you forget about all the physical attributes and you remember a person by what he/she was/is.

    Regards,

    Abha.

    Hai Vidya,

    I enjoyed all your posts in this subforum. Why now these short posts? Please stop the cold war.

    Regards,

    Abha.
     

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