You’ve adored SRK in My Name Is Khan, you’ve pitied Vidya Balan in Guru, you’ve (hopefully) gone ‘WTF’ at all of Koi Mil Gaya. Turns out the person with disabilities (PwD) doesn’t always get the guy/girl/person.

Welcome to Love, Sex, and Disabilities 101. We’ll cover:
- What are PwDs taught about their sexuality?
- Do people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs) date?
- What’s it like having a sex-life and a disability?

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Look Ma, No Hands

The most obvious obstacles to a healthy sexual life for PwDs are the physical challenges. Issues of motor skills, mobility, chronic pain, and other considerations require additional care in a sexual context. For example, people with motor impairments may have difficulties with gripping, positioning, and stamina. Hence, even masturbation may require an assistive device. …

In 2018, I attended the UNDP National Youth Parliament as a media corespondent. Young delegates from every state in the country came to participate…which brought to fore a predictable problem.

Floor-time was largely spent on voicing grievances about the lack of translators. Delegates from the Hindi belt weren’t comfortable with English, while delegates from the Southern and North-Eastern regions weren’t comfortable with Hindi. I don’t remember what the conference agenda was because we barely got around to it.

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Fast forward to 2020, a Physiotherapist discusses with me the impact of COVID-19 on her practice. “Explaining precautions in Telugu or Hindi takes a lot longer than in English,” she says, “We are overwhelmed with how much time we have to devote to each patient. …

I studied the UK board at a private school & had internet access to English media world-over. As a consequence, I’ve been assured (by virtue of repetition) that the Jewish Holocaust was humanity’s most memorable dark hour. Schindler’s List, Inglorious Bastards, The Boy In Striped Pyjamas — I know of Nazis & their atrocities not just from history textbooks but from the dignity afforded to the Jewish Holocaust in everything from popular movies, documentaries, & global commemorations.

How widespread is the school & media discourse on crimes against humanity from other parts of the world? Not so much.
Korea & Vietnam shared a chapter & Laos got a single mention from my teacher. …

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A ‘euphemism’ is a word or phrase intended to make something uncomfortable sound more palatable.

The most significant impact of euphemisms is that they soften the blow of unsavoury concepts, making them seem less grave, less urgent, robbing them of gravitas. This is its function — if a euphemism feels comfortable, it’s doing its job.

Some may argue that ‘political correctness’ (PC) is a euphemism for ‘euphemisms’. That PC culture also tries to make unsavoury things more palatable. The distinction is that the function of a euphemism is to make the speaker feel more comfortable; political correctness is to make the subject being spoken about feel respected.

Calling Hindu-supremacy an ‘Indic Lens’ is euphemism.
Saying ‘sex-worker’ instead of ‘prostitute’ is political correctness. …

Originally published by India Fellow, Dec ‘20.

Start a social enterprise
Have otherwise formally unemployed women in Rajasthan make dupattas.
Have women in Rajasthan make dupattas, count the sweat that falls from their chins, and add it to the GDP.
Count sweat by the sound it makes when hitting the ground and memorise the taal before the dupattas sweep it up.
Dupattas will sell well in Delhi, in Hyderabad, not so much in Bangalore.
Wash, iron, pack, ship. Nevermind the remaining dabs of ghee, spots of haldi, and hints from where the needle pricked the otherwise formally unemployed woman in Rajasthan.
Sell dupattas to women in Hyderabad. They will use them to wipe sweaty brows knitted against the sun
They will tie them over their heads and then against their noses.
Sell dupattas that’ll keep away heat strokes and air peppered with cement
Sell dupattas that hold off sun and dust on one end and hold in sweat on the other
Sell dupattas to women in Hyderabad who will tie them pressed against their lips. Only it will know when she smiles.
Sell dupattas to women who need to swear softly at cars, with loud horns and horned men
Sell dupattas to women who need shielding from drooling tongues between dripping fangs
Sell armour to women and call it a ‘dupatta’.
Have formerly unemployed women in Rajasthan make armour and sell it to women in Hyderabad.
Sell armour to women and call it “regressive”.
Sweat from the woman who cut the cloth, sweat from the woman
Who sewed the button, sweat from the woman who closed the seam,
And sweat from the woman who tied the knot.
Sweat whispers to sweat.
Makes a thangka of sweaty stories.
Turns a dupatta into a tectonic plate of sweaty fight. …

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March 8th, 2020 — This International Women’s Day, Aditya Tiwari was awarded ‘World’s Best Mommy’. Tiwari has adopted Avnish, a 22 month-old child with Down Syndrome in 2016.

An Incredible Parent, Disability Activist

There is no doubt of Tiwari’s love for his son. He is the only parent to opt to adopt a special need’s child, for whom he had to fight for months. Today, they travel the country spreading awareness on disabilities, holding workshops and talks for all audiences.

Tiwari also took it upon himself to challenge the Centre on the prescribed categories of disabled persons eligible for a disability certificate. There was no separate section for persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs).

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Like any other human construction, Economics is not infallible. It assumes that human nature is characterised fundamentally by self-interest, which has implications on all social processes. It compels policy-makers to take for granted that corporations and governments will place profits and growth over long-term global sustainability and social responsibility. This complacency with corporate moral indolence first created and now fuels a culture of unaccountability.

Narratives shape us. A student studying at Plato’s Academy would not have the same notion of human rights as a student studying at Ashoka University today. …

What’s the big deal?

Art is everywhere & it is political. For centuries, aggressors have been using art to propagate hate & hierarchy, while the aggrieved have been using it as a means of protest.

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Anti-suffragette posters were rife throughout Britain, often depicting them as ugly, unloved, neglectful mothers. (Source)

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India follows a Quasi Federal system. We restrict the powers of Central government to extend laws to States without the approval of the State’s representatives. The assumption is that each State knows best for itself. This process transfers some important powers to the local level rather than concentrating power at the Center, also known as ‘de-centralisation’. So far so good!

We are all invariably and unknowingly, affected by centralization in some capacity. Over 9000 speeches from the Andhra Pradesh Assembly were heard (and rejected) before Telangana was formed. Kashmir was made a Union Territory by the Center in violation of the constitutional provision for Jammu and Kashmir’s Assemblies to have their voices heard. With the Interstate River Water Dispute Bill 2019, the Centre has the power to reject a State’s request for a tribunal to arbitrate their case.
The concerned entities did not have a major say in their own matters. …

The media doesn’t do the best job when it comes to telling young girls about their bodies. I’m sure I wasn’t the only 7 year-old watching The Little Mermaid and wondering why her waist wasn’t even the width of her neck. Or watching 25 year-olds play teenagers in movies and wondering what was delaying my C cups and contoured cheekbones.

Fiction aside, even content that is supposed to be factual — textbooks, newspapers, advertisements — usually relies on outdated research carried out primarily by cis-men with vested interests.

Fun fact: Governments funded research in the early 1900s to suggest that women couldn’t participate in the workforce because menstruation weakened them. The same governments propagated exactly the opposite when women were needed in factories while the men went to battle during WW2. After the war ended and the men came back to take their jobs, guess what the “science” about female bodies now said? …


Gunahgaar Aurat

A. Ashni; Research, policy, social welfare. I write words good.

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