In what sense can one say that ‘disability’ is as much a social as a physical thing?


Solution :• Disabled people face difficulties not only because they are physically or cognitively challenged, but also because society is not designed to meet their requirements. In the Indian context, Anita Ghai, a notable disability scholar, says that the invisibility of the disabled might be compared to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, a famous condemnation of racism against African Americans in the United States. The following are common characteristics of public perceptions of disability:

1.Disability is seen as a biological phenomenon.

2.Whenever a disabled person is presented with difficulties, it is assumed that the difficulties are due to his or her incapacity.

3.The disabled individual is regarded as a victim.

4.Disability is thought to be connected to a disabled person’s self-perception.

5.The concept of disability implies that they are in need of assistance.

  • In India, where “bodily perfection” is valued, all deviations from the “ideal body” are seen as abnormality, flaw, or deformation. Labels such as “bechara” emphasize the crippled person’s victim status. The cultural conception of a handicapped body as a result of fate is at the basis of this mindset. The blame is placed on fate, and crippled individuals are the sufferers. Disability is commonly perceived as retribution for past karma (action) for which there is no relief.

As a result, the prevailing cultural construction in India considers disability to be primarily a personal trait. Popular mythological representations show the disabled in a very unfavorable light.

  • Each of these assumptions is challenged by the term “disabled.” The disabled are disabled not as a result of biology, but as a result of society.
  • A new component to the social construction of disability has emerged. There is a strong link between poverty and disability. Malnutrition, weakened mothers from frequent delivery, insufficient immunization programmes, and accidents in overcrowded houses all contribute to a higher rate of impairment among the poor than among those in better circumstances.
  • Poverty is caused and exacerbated by disability, which increases isolation and economic hardship not only for the individual but also for the family.
  • Disability is not acknowledged in the broader educational discourse. This may be seen in the educational system’s past practices, which continue to downplay the subject of disability by maintaining two different streams—one for impaired students and one for everyone else.
  • Inclusion is still an experimental notion in our educational system, with only a few public schools participating.


Leave a Reply