Colours speak for the disabled in Himachal


By: Surekha Dhaleta

Meenal (above left), Sanghamitra (above) and Chandni (left), the winners of the painting competition with their work. (Pics: Indermohan)

Shimla: In the series of some of the proactive steps being taken in support of disability related issues in Himachal, a painting competition was organised in Shimla on April 23, pivoting on the theme of ‘Disability rights: A shift from charity to rights’.

In the senior section, Meenal of Rajkiya Kanya Mahavidyalaya (RKMV), Rajesh of HP University (HPU), and Sanghamitra (RKMV) bagged the first three prizes respectively. In the school section, the first three positions were won by Chandni Chandel (DAV Lakkar Bazar), Vandana Panwar (Dayanand Public School) and Rohit Kumar (Laplani) respectively.

The consolation prizes in the senior category went to Ashu Sood and Priyanka Sharma (both from HPU).

Aastha Singh (DAV Lakkar Bazar) and Nikhil Bansal (GSS Chota Shimla) won the consolation prizes in the school section.

The competition was organised by the Himachal Chapter of Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS). In all 36 students participated in the competition.

According to Ajai Srivastava, Chairman of SDRS, “the contest was a small step in creating awareness on disability related issues and to bring ‘disability’ in the arena of creative art.”

He advocated that contemporary topic like environment, terrorism, women etc. have been thematic issues for painting contests, but disability has never been a focus for pictorial compositions in any contest. Expressing his concern on ‘disability’, Srivastava further elucidated that “what we need is not ‘charity’ but ‘parity’, which corroborates with the theme of the contest.”

S K Sharma, Chief General Manager, Himachal Telecom Circle, who was the chief guest, expressed his concern on disability rights. “Different policies and laws have been enacted in favour of disabled, but what is required is proper monitoring, for a proper implementation of these laws,” he said, adding, “we need to create such a physical and social environment, where legally and factually the ideas of equal opportunities and equal access are translated into reality.”

Meera Gandhi, a social activist, who’s been working with mentally challenged children and children with Down’s Syndrome in the UK was the special guest on the occasion. She is the author of ABC: Word Processor 2000, a book, which makes reading easier for people affected with Down’s Syndrome. She along with her husband has proposed to initiate work for disabled in Himachal, wherein they are thinking of initiating a vocational centre in information and technology for disabled children.

Meenal, the winner in the senior category, unravelled her interpretation of disability rights by portraying an individual in a wheel chair making an attempt to fly with wings. Sanghamitra expressed her concern by portraying a limbless painter busy painting with his foot. The participants largely had portrayed the underlying thought that disabled are a part of society and they do not need charity but want equal opportunities.

Chandni expressed her take on Satyagraha by portraying the figures of spectacles of Gandhiji, a rose flower accompanied by a slogan: ‘To win a battle without bullet and bloodshed’.

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  1. The appreciation to such sensitive feelings for the disabled should be encouraged to help the needy and disabled. This will bring not only the feeling of equality among people but also a feeling of love towards all, without any kind of discrimination. Being citizen of India, I must appreciate the due efforts by these children to help make INDIA a better place to love and live. Kudos to organizers and congratulations to all the participants. Long live India and Long live Indian Spirit and Culture.

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