Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When will we learn to respect the disabled?

My most startling observation about USA is the respect they have for the disabled. In USA, a disabled can get to just about anywhere any abled person can. Footpaths, buildings, boats, airplanes, buses, cabs, you name it, and disabled people can go anywhere. I was stunned to see so many disabled people on the streets (many of them were in their wheel-chairs) and getting about their business as if nothing has happened to them.

Here, in India, a disabled person is lucky if he / she can get out of his / her building of residence. Forget about a wheel-chair bound person getting into a BEST bus! Even trains are inaccessible to wheel-chair bound people. This is mainly because the height of trains is different from that of platforms. So even if a train stops at a station, we still have to climb the compartment's stairs to get in. Abroad, the height of railway platform and compartments are the same and both are at the same level. Numerous petitions, made to the governments to enforce steps to make our Indian cities more disabled friendly, have fallen on deaf years.

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