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As I entered into the Special School Mela, the display of the vibrant colours appealed my senses, the cheerful cackle of children echoed in my ears. The gleaming exhibition of ravishing handicrafts on the stalls grabbed my attention. I drew myself to a stall nearby, and saw a wide variety of handmade stuff such as the wall hangings, paintings, decoration pieces, ornaments and exquisitely painted flower vases, to name a few. Upon approaching a caretaker, I got to learn that behind the scenes of this beautiful display are the creative hands of Mariam, a young girl suffering from Cerebral Palsy. Though only one of her limbs is functional, she has never let her shortcomings overcome her ingenuity. Witnessing the entire scene, I was left in a state of bewilderment and awe as to why these creative people are labeled as ‘disabled’? It’s only that these people are “differently able”.
Each day, many other kids like her are involved in creating these masterpieces. They are practiced to polish these skills so that one day, they stand in line with the other ‘normal’ children of their age. Though, they are restricted by their natural anatomy, there is no end to their capabilities and talents which are generated from their mindsAccording to Helen Keller, “The only thing worse than being, blind is having sight but no vision”. Disability is rather, a state of mind, than the physical limitation of a person. It is a bodily restriction, but nothing can substitute one’s loss of will and determination, as God has bestowed everyone with a creative mind and that is from where various skills are generated. The society we live in must learn to differentiate between ‘disability’ and ‘inability’. As many of us, despite possessing “perfect” body are constraint by our mental limitations.Creativity is generated from one’s mind. The human brain develops with every with every passing moment. A healthy brain grows with the growing age. But, unfortunately, there are people whose brains do not develop with the time instead are restricted to a specific age. But as they say that God do not take away one thing from a person unless he gives a better one.
There are innumerable success stories of such people; one such inspiring narrative is of Asim Zar, who is now 30 years old. He was diagnosed with Down syndrome / Autism when he was 5 years old. Asim was enrolled in the Special Olympics, and his coach took him as a challenge teaching him how to swim, despite his disapproval to even enter into water. He started achieving positions in swimming competitions held at national level and in 2015, Asim was selected for Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles and did training with full devotion. The competitions were held and he won the first Gold medal for team Pakistan and later on one Silver medal in 100 meters race and 50 meters race. It was surely a proud moment for the whole country to see the Champion winning the First Gold medal for Pakistan in the world games. Till date, he has won many laurels for Pakistan in swimming and, along with his fellow athletes, is proudly employed by a famous food factory in Karachi, where he is earning his livelihood.
The stated example is evidence that God’s creations are flawless and these people are in one way or the other capable of doing things that are beyond the reach of a person possessing perfect body. We have to make these people accepted by the society and transform their disabilities into the abilities they possess. Every individual has a different learning style and pace. Everyone is unique and capable of succeeding in their own domain.We all have to encounter challenges in our lives, but when someone with a disability is able to defy the norms of the society by overcoming their shortcomings, it must be acknowledged. The world has seen several people who had some sort of impediments but their shortcomings never overcame their genius. Let’s draw a contrast between a person possessing a perfect body but does not utilize his skills to the stated examples and see how disability can never limit a person’s skill.
The great inventor, Thomas Edison, who had over one thousand inventions to his name with the most prominent being the bulb and tyre had hearing problems from childhood on. He had problems following the lessons and his school attendance became sporadic. His mind wandered so much he was noted to be terrible at mathematics. But he never led his disabilities overawe him.Helen Keller was an American author, political activist and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She did not let her illness overcome her passion and willingness to achieve. Mathematician and Physicist Albert Einstein had a learning disability and did not speak until the age of three. He had a very difficult time doing the Mathematics in school and also had hard time to express himself through writing. But his knack and thrust to excel never stopped him. Physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking is considered as the greatest scientist of the twentieth century after Albert Einstein. Hawking’s big bang theory and Black hole theory has turned the attention of the world. He was the Issac Newton Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Though being nearly paralyzed he taught through a computer supported machine by which his words were compiled. His physical illness could not make him stop from his research.
Franklin Roosevelt who was the governor of New York State and then the elected President of the United States for four terms had polio. The leader never shied away to perform his duties and took bold decisions. The most famous artist of Italian Renaissance Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti suffered from Asperger’s disorder, or high functioning autism. The disease is characterized by communication problems, difficulties with social skills, a limited range of interests and coordination problems. Despite this, the appreciation of Michelangelo’s artistic mastery has endured for centuries.
Famous poet John Milton did not compose his most famous work, Paradise Lost, until after he had become blind in both eyes. His eyesight had been steadily declining for years, most likely the result of untreated glaucoma. He dictated his business correspondence to a transcriber for as long as he could, and insisted that his daughters read to him. Here are a few lines from his sonnet, “On His Blindness”When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, and that one Talent which is death to hideLodged with me useless, though my Soul more bentTo serve therewith my Maker, and presentMy true account, lest he returning chide;”Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent Milton, after lamenting the loss of his sight, states the struggle and challenges that a disable person has to endure and how he has been challenged by the creator bestowing him with the deformity, also, how he would overcome this challenge by continuing to serve his purpose of creation.
Our society must learn not only to recognize and accept but provide equal opportunities to them. We should never compare. As when God hasn’t created them as inferior but ‘different’ being, who are we to think we are superior? They have immense potential if explored; they are a source of motivation. No one is useless. Even the tiniest of God’s creation has not been made without purpose. In Japan, broken things are aggrandized by filing in the cracks with gold; they take the flaw as a ‘unique’ feature of the item, which adds to its beauty. The Japanese think that when something’s suffered damage and has a past it becomes more beautiful. So is the case with these “especially able” people. They are bestowed with talents and skills which make them unique in their own way and stand them apart.
People with impairments or disabilities can contribute to the society equally as a normal person. It is only the thinking that restricts or allows a person to realize his dream.At times these persons whet their skills to such a level that they become masters of their field and set an example for other to follow, leaving an impression on the world.
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