An equal world: Can statutes bridge the difference?*

We are born into a world that is not of our own making. Further, circumstances define the way our lives shape up. This is true for each of us and has been so always for humankind. In this sense, the world is equal for everyone. The capacity to live up to our potential is impacted by many variables: from where we are born and to whom, to where we are educated and how, to what choices we can make and have made in life. Abilities are one such variable. Some individuals, like the world renowned author Ved Mehta, and Im Dong-Hyun, the South Korean archer and Olympic gold medallist, far outperform their normatively ‘better endowed’ counterparts [both Mehta and Im happen to be visually impaired]. A blind applicant who consents to a face-to-face interview with a sighted person or a student who sits down to dictate answers in an examination that her/ his sighted counterparts will write are also achievers. Like Mehta and Im, they are competing in a world that is designed for the overwhelming majority who have the physical use of their sensory organs and limbs.

Society has always been trying to circumvent the unevenness inherent in life and living imposed by acquired variables and other imponderables. Statutes and policies, such as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012, are macro-level attempts to ensure a semblance of balance. But such interventions can truly even out the balance of power only if the persons for whom they are intended are allowed to work out the terms.

*From ‘InSight’, a publication of Retina India.

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