Dreams of the Disabled on Canvas in Shimla


By: Parul Sood

“Main pilot banna chahta hoon”, this is the dream of Manish Kumar Jamwal, who expressed it on the canvas with crayons, as he cannot speak. Another child with hearing impairment painted a house, some trees, and the pace of wind and wrote a slogan, “My aim is to become a scientist and see the shape of air.” Their silent dreams may or might not ever become true but it truly leads you to ponder that even these special children of God have hopes and aspirations. And although destiny has been cruel to them they still dare to dream.

Meena, a deaf girl of Prerana Institute, made an emotional appeal to save environment through her painting with a slogan-“Van se Vayu, Vayu se Aayu.” A deaf and low vision child Manoj Kumar painted a beautiful bus on the canvas.

To give a voice to such dreams, a painting contest of deaf and low vision children, ‘Talent-2008′, was organized by Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS), Himachal Chapter in collaboration with Yuva- Himachal (Youth for Uplift Through Voluntary Action in Himachal) at Indira Gandhi Sports complex. In many ways, it was the first initiative of its kind in this hill state. Around forty students from Institute for the Deaf at Dhalli and ‘Prerana’, Totu, participated in this contest. According to Ajai Srivastava, chairman of SDRS and convener of Yuva- Himachal, “The main motive behind this event is to bring such special children in the mainstream by identifying the talent in them. We want to motivate these children and provide them a platform to showcase their talent.”

It is pertinent to mention that this institute, along with an Institute for the Blind on the same campus, is run by Himachal Pradesh Council for Child Welfare. Both the institutes have been in the news for the human rights violations of its inmates. The Governor of Himachal Pradesh is head of the council and for the last couple of years; he did not bother about the situation prevailing on the campus. It was Ajai Srivastava only who dared to ask the Justice V.S. Kokje, Governor, last year to step down if he was not capable to protect the human rights of the disabled children.

“As a part of our campaign to sensitize policy makers and intellectuals along with common masses about the issues related to disability, this programme was organized. It is a matter of concern for us that there is no drawing teacher in the school. Despite this, the deaf students did well in the painting contest. It shows their talent. If they are given equal opportunity, the can excel in any field.” Ajai Srivastava said. He further told HimVani that the SDRS and Yuva- Himachal would be sponsoring an art and craft teacher for the Institute of the Deaf.

For special training of painting to the deaf children of the institute, the services of Mujeeb Hussain, a young artist and Art and Craft teacher at D.A.V. Lakkar Bazar, Shimla would also be utilized. He has recently been awarded the Gold Medal for best art teacher at the national level. Speaking to HimVani, Mujeeb expressed his happiness and said that teaching these special children would be a challenge for him only. The judges for the contest were Mujeeb  Hussain, Anjana Panwar, lecturer of Fine Arts at the Rajiv Gandhi Degree College and Nandlal Thakur of H.P. University.   The results will be announced later and the selected students would be given special training in painting.

Suresh Bhardwaj, M.L.A. of Shimla, was the chief guest and Prabha Rajiv, Joint Director, Department of Social Justice and Environment presided over the function. Suresh Bhardwaj applauded SDRS and Yuva- Himachal volunteers working for the cause of the disabled. He further urged the people to join hands and rise above the difference of politics, caste, and creed to work for such noble cause. He assured all possible help from the state government to SDRS and Yuva Himachal. Prabha Rajiv said that NGO efforts were necessary to uplift the weaker sections. She said her department was extending all possible support to the institute.

Kanwaljeet Singh, president Shimla Beopar Mandal, while addressing the gathering, said the disabled need equal rights and opportunities. He assured his support to the cause. Earlier, Yashwant Rai, Sanjiv Sunta, Bharti Kuthiala, and Dalel Thakur, members of the core group of SDRS and Yuva- Himachal, welcomed the guests.

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  1. I'm really impressed with this slogen written by a boy

    "My aim is to become a scientist and see the shape of air.”

    If they can think of it they can surely do it. We do not underestimate them. I think they can do better than us because they are hidden talents.

    and it's a great step by SDRS.

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