Inclusive Society: A panacea for the challenges faced by Persons with Disabilities
Recently, I embarked on a remarkable journey, first to Delhi for the National Conference on Sustainable Provision of Assistive Technology organized by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross - ICRC , and then to Bangalore for work. What made this solo travel possible? It wasn't about my 'greatness,' but rather the incredible support and accessibility I encountered along the way.
In Delhi, the ICRC team and in Bangalore, my office Standard Chartered Bank ensured accessible accommodation and transportation. I can't thank Hotel Jaypee Vasant Continental (New Delhi) and Hotel Taj Bangalore enough for their courteous and supportive staff. In Bangalore, I had the privilege of staying with my dear friend and colleague, Archana Grover (she/her) , making it an even more memorable experience.
Also the places I needed to visit were wheelchair accessible. IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation Ltd) airlines also played a crucial role in making my flight comfortable. Previously, waiting times for cabin wheelchairs at flight and personal wheelchairs at baggage claim were longer, but this time, there was a significant reduction. It's a positive sign of progress. Even the boarding process was more efficient, with no disruptions in between. My wheelchair bag also helped me to protect my wheelchair in the flight journey to a great extent.
All these accessible arrangements made my travel hassle-free. Now, you might wonder why my disability didn't pose challenges during this entire journey. The answer is simple: it's not my disability, but the inaccessible and non-inclusive environment and attitudes that are the true culprits.
I'm sharing this to remind everyone that my disability isn't what holds me back; it's the barriers in our environment and attitudes that need to change.
Let's also remember that while inclusivity is vital, it can sometimes come at a cost. It's a reminder that we should collectively invest in affordable accessible infrastructure and technology, ensuring that no one is left behind.
Let's work together to create a more inclusive world for all.