Answer Synopsis 02/12/2020

Question : The differently abled are turned into ‘disabled’ because the society is built in a manner that does not cater to their needs. Comment. (10 marks, 150 words)

Structure of the answer

  • First of all give a brief introduction about the difficulties faced by differently abled people.
  •  Give an explanation on how perception of society is aggravating the challenges for them.
  • Then illustrate that differently abled are turned into disabled as a result of the manner in which society is built.
  • Finally suggest some changes that can change the perception as well societal construct so that differently abled do not turn into disabled.


People suffering from disabilities face lots of challenges every day. Simple tasks that ordinary people perform on a daily basis as routine are extremely delicate and difficult to those suffering from disabilities. In addition, these disabilities are wrongly perceived by the society which aggravates their difficulties.

Perception of society

  • The common perception views disability as retribution for past karma (actions) from which there can be no reprieve.
  • It is understood as a biological given and whenever a disabled person is confronted with problems, it is taken for granted that the problems originate from her/his impairment.
  • This wrong perception, negative portrayal impacts the way our physical environment is organized.
  • This society construct leads to disablement of differently abled people.

Construction of society

  • Labeling: In India labels such as ‘disabled’, ‘handicap’, ‘crippled’, ‘blind’ and ‘deaf’ are used synonymously. Often these terms are hurled at people as insults.
  • Lack of Access: The public buildings and public transport are mostly, are not designed to accommodate them.
  • And this in turn leads to a range of further disablements regarding their education, their chances of gaining employment, and their social lives.
  • Education system: Lack of the recognition of disability in the wider educational discourse.
  • The schooling within the educational system continues to marginalize the issue of disability.
  • Justice: The judicial courts which are meant to provide justice are itself not disable-friendly. The entrances to the actual court complex are preceded by staircases, lacks ramp or elevator facility.
  • Poverty: Under such physical and social environment, disability creates and exacerbates poverty by increasing isolation and economic strain.

Thus, the differently abled are rendered disabled not because they are biologically disabled but because society renders them so.

Empowering the disabled

  • By ensuring that government policy and disability service design is responsive to the needs of persons with disability and their families;
  • By highlighting human rights issues and realizing the legal rights of the disabled.
  • By seeking to redefine social inclusion to embrace broader cultural and social contexts.
  • Strengthening the Accessible India Campaign by Ministry of Social justice.

Only ten states including Bihar, Chandigarh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have notified the rules, related to disabilities act and this shows the gravity and the necessity to accommodate them to the main stream.

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