I was so happy when I thought of this idea.
Because I had been so sad, so disheartened when I heard of Jeeja Ghosh – a woman with Cerebral Palsy, being “off-loaded” like a piece of luggage, like a sack of beans, from a Spice Air flight from Kolkata to Goa.
The pilot had insisted she be forcibly disembarked because he was afraid that his flight’s safety was in jeopardy.
It is so easy to lash out in anger, to demand that the airline be fined, that the pilot be sacked. Easy. But ineffective.
Ineffective and also wrong. The pilot can’t be blamed. He is a limited man with a limited education. He’s never met anyone like Jeeja because we have made sure that he didn’t.
Our schools in India are exclusive. If you have a disability – of any kind – forget about being a student in one of them. You simply don’t belong. There is no place for you.
So millions of children grow up not knowing about kids like Jeeja or Moy Moy or Sakshi. They simply have no idea that they even exist. So are we really surprised when they acquire positions of power – like becoming a pilot on Spice Air – and behave the way they have been trained to behave? We have only ourselves to blame.
I don’t blame Utprabh Tiwari. I blame our system. So I wrote this article in The Hindu about why inclusive education is the need of the hour. Please read it. Here’s the link.