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One of the rikshaw-pullers once told me, “to have born in a poor family is the biggest crime”. Sensing his words which were the expressions out of experience, I didn’t approve and said its beyond one’s control. isn’t it? Yet traversing through abject poverty is too difficult to comprehend. Moreover,the struggle gets more compounded if one’s child happens to be a disabled. This is the harsh reality which is shrouded in silence. What’s the outcome? Parants either kill their disabled children or children commit suicide in their adulthood. However governments collate no data of suicides other than of those committed by farmers. Its simply understandable. they are the largest constituents for political parties and feed not only the entire nation but their produces are exported world over. However the disabled people are construed as ‘unproductive’, ‘burden on society’ and in short, ‘good for nothing’ creatures.

Disability and Suicide: Who is guilty?

There are ample examples available which speak volumes about disabled people committing suicide. However who cares to explore reasons, let alone documentation. Today, several papers including The Hindu and the New Indian Express have reported that the one couple in Tamil Nadu not only killed their 3 disabled children who were adults, but hanged themselves also. Reasons? Concern about their future lives and marital prospect. After reading this painful report, I felt an urgency to explore in what other circumstances disabled commit suicide. After a quick analyses I found some of the dominant factors which drive disabled people to end their lives. Acquiring disability late in one’s life, facing discrimination while seeking employment, facing humiliation from non-disabled people and the government officials.
So who is guilty? The society and the state both. If all 28 states and 7 union territories fulfill employment provision of the PWD Act,the suicide rates of disabled will be reduced. If the states start campaigning on grand scale level arousing awakening among government officials about how to respect and deal a person with disability, the stories of humiliation could be minimized. More importantly, Indian society needs to mend its behavior towards the disabled; and should not treat them as they belong to an alien world. Parents of disabled children should be provided counseling and support by the state in an institutional manner.
Further readings
1 (http://www.newindianexpress.com/…/…/05/27/article2835824.ece)
2 (http://www.thehindu.com/…/couple-kill-3-…/article7253409.ece)
3 (http://www.hindustantimes.com/…/under…/article1-1346896.aspx)
4 (http://www.thehindu.com/…/12/08/stories/2004120810230300.htm)
5 (http://www.thehindu.com/…/visuallyimpair…/article1868107.ece)

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mm

Visually Impaired Doctoral candidate at the Centre for Law and Governance, JNU.