More sensitisation on disability need of the hour: Australian writerUpdated: Oct 22, 2019 23:16 IST
“Cinema, literature, culture and art show only the negative aspect of disability. More sensitisation on disability is the need of the hour,” said Gaele Sobott, an Australian creative writer.
A Sydney-based physically challenged author, Sobott is a director of Outlandish Arts, a disabled-led, not-for-profit arts organisation.
She made this observation while inaugurating a three-day Indian Disability Studies Collective (IDSC) annual international conference on ‘Deglobalising Disability: Texts and contexts’ organised by the department of English and Modern European Languages, University of Lucknow, in collaboration with PYSSUM.
The inaugural session was followed by the launch of a book titled ‘Disability in Translation: The Indian Experience’, published by Routledge, edited by Dr Someshwar Sati, chairman IDSC and Prof GJV Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Prasad said without intercultural communication we are almost disabled. He emphasised on the need for translation of the texts on disability into English. Dr Someshwar Sati presented his introductory address describing the formation, function and the motives of Indian Disability Studies Collective.
Anju Mishra from PYSSUM also discussed disability and its manifestations within the lives of differently-abled children and adults.
Prof Ranu Uniyal, head and convener, said: “This is not an ordinary conference, but a cause. Our focus is to provide space to the people who are deprived of their own voice. Our aim is to create awareness and sensitivity towards disability.”
On day two of the conference, Prof Banibrat Mahanta from Banaras Hindu University said: “Disability studies can only move forward with the right blend of academics and activism.” He also said that Western models of disability need to be in dialogue with Indian realities.
Dr Naval Pant from PYSSUM presented a statistically oriented approach to disability discourse discussing the cycle of ‘Bhatkan’ as major hurdle addressing needs of differently-abled people in UP. More than 80 papers have been presented in the conference.
“This is the first collective endeavour towards the discussion of ‘disability’ on an international platform. Theorising disability in the west is inextricably linked to the historical development of disability within disability discourse. Hence it becomes imperative to concentrate on conceptualizations of disablement within the Indian context as well,” said Dr RP Singh, professor of English department of English and Modern European Languages, University of Lucknow.
This shall cater to understanding disablement and our responses to it within Indian socio-cultural and historico-political contours, he added.
Scholars, writers, activists, teachers and academicians across country are participating in the conference, he added.