PWDs & Shillong, Election MPs Story & (contesting)?

I wanted to appeal to all of the candidates who are contesting for the Member of Parliament. Be it the Rajya Sabha or be it the Lok Sabha By this time.

As a visually impaired: I am feeling that I am forgotten behind the scenes. As the leader of the organization, I see that most of the powerful people feel shy even to talk to the blind people or other people with disabilities. According to my experience when I am trying to explain our problems to them it seems that they do not like to understand my problems. They thought that I am teaching them and they feel that they should be taught by this blind man instead to lessent carefully so that they can understand my problems very clearly. Some officers if the persons with disabilities come to their office and ask them something which they do not know and they want to know clearly about the schemes and certificates etc. but those officers are angry at them instead to make them understand it clearly or to provide them with the correct information. Why is this all happening? Because they are not working for the purpose of the welfare and development of the persons with disabilities or they might be not well trained themselves. At the same time, the government does not like to practice in the crowd, rather the documents are perfect. They love to see the perfect photos. They don’t care about the real work. But at least they have their attendance record and receive their salaries. This is what I was experience by my own practice and by some other people with disabilities. If we are going to complain to the authorities who are looking after us also, they are afraid to help us. They don’t even say anything whether we are mistaken or they don’t want to help us. But at least I have experience that they used to say that we couldn’t help you because you have no proof since you are the blind man. Sometimes, if I meet the officers who are not from our Khasi’s tribe, they try  to give their hands as per their level best without any doubt whether you are a christian or non christian. But at least they feel that if they can help even with one person they have contributed a lot in the society. I might like this system.

Another problem:

For instance, if any blind people are going to take medicine to the doctors they do not know how to deal with them. This is me and my team we have already experienced and not just that there are a lot. Instead of asking us about how many Pills or drops and before eating or after eating, we should take the medicine. Hence, they treat and think of us like childish things we don’t know. But the problem is theirs. Because they don’t even try to talk with us. The doctors in Shillong Meghalaya most of them are very silent doctors. They do not follow the rights of patients. They are non accessibility environments doctors. They have no questions for their patients. They are not friendly doctors. At least for the people with disabilities. Especially in government hospitality, the people with disabilities have a lot of challenges. The doctors are irresponsible to the citizens. At the same time, it is very expensive for doctors or clinics in shillong meghalaya. One time, my blind friend went to the doctor in Civil Shillong and met the doctor there. So, the doctor asked him to open his mouth to check his throat and then he did. But the doctor, when he finished to check he didn’t tell my blind friend to close his mouth and he thought the doctor still needed to look into it for a long time. The doctor kept my blind friend like that until he was so tired. The doctor didn’t tell him to close his mouth. Another my friend blind girl she got one son and her son got the Thyroid treatment since were born and her husband also he is totally blind. So, the doctor didn’t explain to my friend blind girl about the treatment process of her son. Because she asked someone else to assist her in traveling by that time, the doctor explained everything to that person instead of her. Because the doctor thought of her she couldn’t do it. Even me I found that type of misbehavior by the doctors, officers, colleges, universities, and offices.

Hence, we don’t mean to condemn anyone because we understand that they don’t have time to know about our rights and maybe they don’t want to know about it. But if we can’t control it anymore, maybe we can make another decision for the future betterment of the people with disabilities communities. This is surely the discrimination against our rights.

The short stories of our blind friends above are only a small example. Otherwise, there are a lot in the villages also who knows. That is why the blind lead organization in Shillong is to protect the rights of the persons with disabilities.

If we are talking about the schemes to the persons with disabilities through the MPs I never heard it. What is the benefit we can get as persons with disabilities if we are going to take part in the election of MPs? According to me I don’t see any schemes till now and I never heard any issues our MPs discuss or talk about in the parliament. And what is that he was doing about us? I heard his focus was only with the religions. I don’t  see any manifestos from any political parties about the issues or what they want to do for the people with disabilities if they come to power or win their election. I don’t know whom I should vote for. I am very confused most of the time. There is no canvas for me, because they already count me with my family. They never talk to me even if they see me there. Sometimes, those candidates whom they know themselves will find it difficult to challenge those other candidates they used to find the minority voters which they think that no one will talk to this type of person. They used to talk or be friends with me. But the reality was they don’t like me. I have an experience with so many years the skills of the political candidates in our state. Some candidates don’t even want to talk. If they talk to us they feel that they are mistaken to talk with the wrong person and ashamed of themselves in front of other people. If I get a chance to meet and talk to them about my condition, they used to say that (yes yes) you are a special person. If I come or win in this election I will definitely do first for you. This is not just the political people used to play with the rights of persons with disabilities, even any other powerful people did the same things. But the most is the political people according to my experience.

There are so many people with disabilities who are struggling and hangry in their daily lives. But no one wants to sit and discuss to understand their issues and to find out their problems and to ask them what they need in their daily lives or to survive themselves. Ofcourse, we couldn’t forget there are some individuals who are helping once in a time, it doesn’t mean that we can survive in our daily lives. Livelihood is very important to each and every society or community. But we are the people with disabilities who are really in need. If we talk about employment , there are very few PWDs who can get the job. It might be that they and their family are connected with any power people, political people, religious leaders, or machinery organizations that have the chance to get jobs. But there is no proof I can provide to support that incident. Hence, I am sure there are other people also who know about that. Sometimes, I found that there are the people who are very controlling, they wouldn’t give a job even if the candidates are so toff because he or she is not from the same religion.

Most of my friends with disabilities in the state of Meghalaya are going to sell something or do a small business in the markets just to survive with their families. And also some of them who are going to the markets and be it as the beggars or any other such kind of activities even if it is can be a risk to their lives they have to over jump all of that for the survival of their children. Sometimes, society hates them just because of that. Hence, they have no choice, either my friends with disabilities don’t like to do that, but they have too. We the persons with disabilities also are getting married and want to contribute to society like other normal people only. Therefore, we do have a lot of issues which arrive in our daily lives as well.

This is everything. We are asking God to give us disabilities in our lives and also we don’t know why it is happening to us like this. But we need to survive as well as the other people did in this world. We have the same rights you cannot refuse. That is why, I explain these small issues so that the political people or candidates can think of their manifestos in their election contest. This is a small example, there are a lot where they can think of it. Ofcourse, the government has prepared for the accessible polling station and we are so glad of it. But if we are about our problems and benefits it’s really sad.

The accessibility of transportation is also very important to all of the persons with disabilities, without the accessibility the people with disabilities cannot move anywhere. Be it in various building offices, school, college, university, hospitality, religious building, portals websites, etc. Especially for transportation , it is very compulsory to do it first. Ofcourse, right now we can see the government has started to improve the accessibility of transportation after the demand from the Disabled Non Profit Organization which is based in Shillong itself. So, the blind lead trust also is a part of that demand and we are happy to see that they are starting to create awareness programs for drivers and conductors. We hope that this is the beginning and  process of many others’ works.

At the same time, I also want to advise that about the inclusive election campaign or canvas for the persons with disabilities so that they can also lessen or learn the manifestos that are appealing by the political parties and candidates. By doing that, it will help them to choose to whom they will vote for their rights. It is also important to involve the PWDs in the parties members so that they can learn the performance and tasks from those parties and the development or projects according to their ideologies as well as other people did their rights. Why not for the people with disabilities?

The government must also give a chance to the people with disabilities related to taking part in various sections like in the economy, business, etc. for instance they should get the opportunity to apply tenders from the government when there is any contract basis. I don’t know what it is called, but I hope you may catch my point by the way. At the same time, I would like to request the government to please give or make the schemes through the CSR funds for the PWDs NGOs. please make the policy related to this. Since the government talks about the collaboration and inclusive society they need to give a space or keys to this type of NGOs. because we also really want to bring development. But I don’t have proper information related to this. Hence, I do want that if the government can open the doors to us.

If we talk about the schemes where we can get through the MPs. I never heard it in the state of Meghalaya. The schemes might be there, but they don’t have the choice to do it. For instance, Incentive reward or award schemes for married disabled people and National Family assistance Scheme. I never see who can benefit from these schemes. If anyone has received it, you may please come forward. Through It, it’s encouraged to be an inclusive society for the welfare of everyone.

These are the points of my suggestion if it is possible. But I don’t know if it is fit or not. But I do want that to appeal my plans and choice. So, if anyone would like to go for further details we can collaborate.

Mr. Jitendra Dkhar Managing Director of Blind Lead Trust NGOs in Shillong Meghalaya.