Some well meaning people, such as Prime Minister Narenda Modi, have suggested that people with disabilities should be viewed as special.
I understand the idea behind wanting people to view disability as a kind of divine gift instead of a curse, to claim that people with disabilities are special, elevated, have something to teach the rest of us about life. But that attitude is actually very patronizing and is too easily used to dismiss what people with disabilities actually need: access.
They don’t want to be special. They want to be treated as equals.
They are people just like anyone else. We’ve all got our issues and our challenges. We all deserve the same rights and access as each other. And to do that we need to see that what disabled people need is not to be told what angels they are but to have social and physical barriers taken down.
Please read this important article interviewing women with disabilities about how they feel about the idea of this new term “divyang.” http://sexdisblog.org/2016/01/21/disabledwomensay-no-to-divyang/I see a lot of parallels here with the state of feminism in India. A lot of people do not realize that they are being sexist because they love women and adore women and think women are divine and special. But women are not different and special. We aren’t below men but we also are not above men. Women want to be seen and treated as equals. The danger in treating us like we’re special beings is that then if we do something human we are seen as no longer feminine or womanly and not deserving of respect or care because we debased our self back to normal. Men and Women all divine and Men and Women are all human. We are all both.