Fighting Cerebral Palsy: Malini Chib You Rock!!!
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Birth of a baby in India is no less than a festival. The whole family keeps the fingers crossed for this transition of life. But just then something happens, something whose repercussions affect many lives. The lack of oxygen to the brain shatters many dreams and makes the newborn special. Special in a peculiar way – public stares, accessibility issues, slow speed in activities and dependency for the rest of the life.
Malini Chib is one of such 7.64 lakh special people, all connected by Cerebral Palsy. Taking a view of her autobiography “One Little Finger”, it seems she had a chat with Emerson before birth. That is why she imbibed his words for life.
The article will include three paragraphs and the links to the documentary “Molly” by ADAPT India Group. The first paragraph will introduce ‘Inclusive Education’, second para – public facilities and lastly we will read an anecdote of Malini’s life.
As the name signifies ‘Inclusion’ means to include special people in the mainstream. It asserts the right of child to participate and the duty of the institutions to accept the child. Considering the fact that spasticness is the residence of healthy brain in an unwilling or disobedient body, ‘Inclusion’ is nothing but right to equality – the inherent human feeling. The popular view remains that spastics need closer attention, thus segregation in special schools will help them to catch up soon. But on the flip side their Normalisation is hampered. When they will face the world, Will it not lead to interaction issues? ‘Inclusion’ prevents the ‘discomforting stares’ by making the so called ‘normal’ people used to the sight of my special friends. Lastly, it was the mistake of some normal medico which made the newborn special, Why to make the newborn feel guilty?
Malini remarks in her book that London gave her an independence which Bombay could not. If we take Bombay as the one of the most developed city of India, the rest of India is a hell for the spastics, is it not? Let me be very clear, I am talking about accessibility of public amenities. Rounded pavements, ramps at the entrances of all buildings, buses, along with staircase and accessible washrooms are the basic requirements. It will make the special ones feel independent, boosting their confidence. Such simple efforts from our side will make this world a better place; people afflicted with palsy will contribute richly to the society as their major problem of movement is taken care of by us.
On the parting note, I’ll narrate an anecdote from Malini’s book which shows the strength of unity and also elucidates the power held within this persona. The incident occurred after Malini returned to India after obtaining her masters from UK. While shopping for Diwali, Malini was not allowed by a leading store manager in Bombay to enter a section. The reason cited was that the section was ‘too narrow’ for a wheelchair. Humiliation is imminent in such situations but Malini was determined. She took the help of The Spastics Society of India and together they gathered 50 people on wheelchair to demonstrate peacefully at the same store of Breach Candy. They got the support of the Traffic Police too which diverted traffic on the street for the protest. The manager apologized and invited all my special friends to the store. Inclusion of wheelchairs in the Mumbai Marathon was the next achievement. ADAPT(Able Disabled All People Together) is Malini’s initiative for the collective welfare of the able and disabled and according to her both these components have to work together for realizing the dream of an INCLUSIVE SOCIETY.