20 Stories of Change
The stories of struggle and triumph that inspire and encourage.
The month was September 2015.It was yet another meeting of partners of NDN (National Disability Network).They were discussing how best to celebrate 20 years of enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 (PwD Act 1995) when Javed Abidi, convener of NDN told what he had in his mind. One of his ideas was to publish a book having 20 stories of disabled persons who had benefited by the PwD Act of 1995.
The Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India launched the book on the eve of the ‘World Disability Day’ on 2nd December 2015. In three months, Javed and his team of the dedicated NCPEDP staff, could not only find 20 disabled persons who used the PWD Act 1995, once termed as piece of paper worst than toilet paper, to their advantage, but also compiled their compelling stories in an absorbing and informative book.
The striving parts of these stories are the young men/women with disabilities, who were no activists per se and had no prior experience of using the PWD Act. Most were not even aware of the Act but still choose to fight the ruthless society / system against all odds.They were unrelenting in the face of opposition and were eventually VICTORIOUS.
The narrative of these stories is in report style, devoid of literary flavor and beauty of language but these true stories actually do not need these toppings. Their simplicity forces you to ponder about the maltreatment of the disabled and the apathy of the system that many a times was not only unconcerned but also devoid of any compunction.
The sheer grit and determination, culminating in, some times, long-drawn fights in the courts, of these 20 individuals have opened up new avenues for other disabled persons. From the experiences, examples and inspirations of these individuals, disabled persons can derive immense benefit. Hence this book will be a great tool for the disabled persons to use it for their advantage.
Take the example of Bugga Mallesh who fought for seven years to get a bus pass that would make his daily commute manageable. Certainly this has opened avenues for others too. These and many more tales of dogged perseverance form part of the book.
The book has been brought out by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), in collaboration with Mindtree Ltd.
As is the forte of NCPEDP, rather Mr. Abidi’s, the book can be obtained free of cost from NCPEDP or read at this website (see PDF section).