Disabled community to PM Modi: Refrain from using ‘divyang’ for us

VARANASI: Several disabled people’s organisations on Friday strongly objected to the use of the term ‘divyang’ to address the community and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not use it to replace ‘viklaang’.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during his radio address “Mann Ki Baat” on December 27 last year said that physically- challenged people have a “divine ability” and the term ‘divyang’ should be used in place of ‘viklang’ for them.

“Even while not questioning the motive behind coining of this expression, it is needless to say that mere change of terminology is not going to bring about any change in the manner in which people with disabilities are treated. Invoking divinity will not lessen the stigma and discrimination that persons with disabilities have been historically subjected to and continue to encounter in their daily lives,” the organisations said in their letter to the PM.
“We would like to reiterate that disability is not a divine gift. And the use of phrases like ‘divyang’ in no way ensures de-stigmatisation or an end to discrimination on grounds of disability,” they said.
They further said that the government should address the issues of stigma, discrimination and marginalisation that persons with disabilities are subjected to on account of the cultural, social, physical and attitudinal barriers that hinder their effective participation in the country’s economic, social and political life.
“We would therefore request you to refrain from using the term ‘divyang’ and also shelve any plan that the government may be making to officially use this term,” they said in the letter.
Again on Friday, while addressing a rally in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, Modi said that he wanted the people to change their mindset towards the differently-abled and that is why he wants the word “divyang” to be used by the commoners.