Shruti Pushkarna: Are you really inclusive? Or is it just a lip service?

05 May,2022

Shruti PushkarnaBy Shruti Pushkarna

 

As someone who feels strongly about disability inclusion, I always look out for accessibility incorporations in physical spaces or the lack of it. Narrow or steep ramps get me all riled up. Just like escalators in shopping malls in lieu of elevators! How can those be interchangeable?

 

Often, I find myself voluntarily explaining the use of braille signages and tactile markings to random strangers. I take pictures of accessible and inaccessible services/ products to share on my social media handles. All in the name of vociferously seeking equal rights for all citizens.

 

In the polarised world we inhabit today, people are unapologetic about their opinions and beliefs. If we were to go by social media trends, millions are up in arms against discrimination of any sort. They rake up a storm on any talk of exclusion of women, disabled, children, elderly, LGBTQ+.

 

But do they really care or understand the issues of diverse communities?

If yes, then why hasn’t the collective discontent of so many led to a change in mindset?

Is it because most people don’t practise what they preach?

 

One thing I have learnt over the years is the need to educate before you advocate. We need to understand the issues and perspectives of vulnerable minorities before we can voice their concerns. The challenges faced by persons with disability in their everyday lives are real. Places like schools, offices, temples, entertainment hubs et cetera pose barriers that keep them estranged from the mainstream society.

 

How much do we know about this gap in order to be able to bridge it? Here’s a quick quiz to assess your basic knowledge of disability and inclusion. Answer these ten multiple choice questions and find out your individual disability quotient!

 

1. What do you call someone who requires a wheelchair to move around?

a. Handicapped

b. Wheelchair bound

c. Invalid

d. Wheelchair user

 

2. Which of the following is true?

a. All persons with autism are intellectually disabled

b. Intellectual disability is a type of developmental disorder

c. Intellectual disabilities are hereditary

d. Down syndrome is the only cause of intellectual disability

 

3. An accessible building has…

a. Ramp

b. Elevator

c. Braille signage

d. All of the above

 

4. How do you help a blind person cross the road?

a. Drag them by their shirt or dress

b. Offer them your elbow

c. Yell audio instructions at them

d. Push them from their shoulders

 

5. Which of these is not a disability recognized by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016?

a. Hearing impairment

b. Speech impediment

c. Attention DeficitHyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

d. Thalassaemia

 

6. If a school is inclusive, it allows admission to which community?

a. Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe

b. Transgender

c. Disabled

d. All of the above

 

7. How you shouldn’t communicate with a deaf person?

a. Texting

b. Calling

c. Signing

d. Writing

 

8. Which of these spaces should have tactile markings?

a. Bus stop

b. Metro station

c. Airports

d. All of the above

 

9. The Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan was launched in December 2015 to ensure…

a. All physical and digital spaces are made accessible

b. Reservation for persons with disabilities in private and government jobs

c. All schools have accessible classrooms for disabled students

d. Accessible toilets are built across the country

 

10. Which of these make content accessible to persons with disability?

a. Closed captioning

b. Audio description

c. Sign Language

d. All of the above

 

Answers: 1 d, 2 b, 3 d, 4 b, 5 c, 6 c, 7 b, 8 d, 9 a, 10 d

 

So how did you score? If it’s 10 on 10, then go ahead and term yourself an inclusion champion. But anything less than that means your tall claims of DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) are unsubstantiated.

 

Shruti Pushkarna is a former journalist who now works as a programmes and media specialist for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Shruti was part of the founding team of MxMIndia and now writes for MxMIndia every other Thursday. Her views here are personal. She can be reached via Twitter at @shrutipushkarna

 

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