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December 31, 2014

Quick notes on a book about disability and fighting it in India




Author : Disha
Publisher : Srishti Distributors and Publishers

Rating : 3 / 5

Because Life is a Gift is a collection of real-life success stories of fifteen disabled or differently- abled people as author like to say it. The book is a tribute to their passion, courage and zest for life. Their lives are inspiring to living life to the fullest and making the best use of your limited abilities which life has straddled with you at times.

Author raises pertinent questions in the book - In a county where 2.1% of our population is disabled, why is it that almost all major public places are still not accessible? Why is it that we still do not see them sitting next to us, in our offices, working hand-in-hand as our colleagues? Why such people made to curse their destinies and pitied upon? Biases like these have plagued the lives of millions of disabled people in the world. People have looked down upon them. Governments have failed to provide them infrastructural support. Societies have written them off. What else we can do for them. Well, for starters tell their stories to the world!

Most of the stories are awe inspiring - Hridayeshwar Singh Bhati, 12 and suffering from debilitating muscular dystrophy is India's youngest patent holder and the youngest disabled patent holder in the world. Divya Arora, lady behind Hrithik Roshan's inspiring performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish herself suffers from cerebral Plasy. Sukhsohit Singh, suffering from thalassemia (a genetic blood disorder) who was finally able to crack the Civil services examination despite being constantly rejected by the interview panel. George Abraham, who despite having vision problems was instrumental in creating awareness about blind cricket in India.

Keeping the sincere intentions to write this book in mind and a successful attempt to do so, one should mention that in certain portions, the narrative is structurally disjointed. There are lapses in editing and thoughts pertaining to fighting for rights for disabled people in India is zeroed in repeatedly that by the end of the book, it looses some credibility. Author does well in keeping a balance between telling stories of these flesh and blood people but not creating undue sympathy for them which in the end work well for the book

Author does well in keeping a balance between telling stories of these flesh and blood people but not creating undue sympathy for them which in the end work well for the book. Finally, these are real stories which need to be heard, read and absorbed in. It is an effort which needs to be supported for its benign intentions and i would definitely like to read another sequel to this book, if the author decides to pen it down. I am sure, there are many more stories waiting to be told in India.

[Disha also leads the Delhi chapter of the NGO Pick-a-Fight ]

[Review of Disha's first book - My beloveed's MBA Plans here ]

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