In his budget speech, Minister ArunJaitley referred to the people with disabilities twice. Once he termed them as Divyang which in Hindi means ‘divine bodied’, and at another place as differently-abled. But both terms have been rejected by the community. They say the terms only diverts attention from the real issue – that they live with disabilities and need help.
This rejection of the term ‘differently abled’ is very much like the rejection of the term Harijan byDalits. The usage of the word ‘Divyang’ does not do justice to highlighting of the condition of PwDs and it is a tactic by the government to divert attention from other issues.
“There is nothing divine about the ‘disabled’ experience and it is wrong to associate disability with the ‘divine’,” said a Delhi based NGO working for PwDs, who has been vehemently against the usage of the term “Divyang” to describe PwDs ever since Modi1stintroduced it at the launch of Accessible India in 2015.
The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities points out how PwDs are people who have barriers restricting them from participating in society. Saying generically that they have ‘divine bodies’ does not acknowledge these barriers and restrictions.