Not Viklaang, Modi Asks India To Call Them Persons With Divine Bodies

27/12/2015 2:33 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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PUSHKAR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA - 2015/09/11: A handicapped artist, Bhagirath Sharma at Pushkar Ghat is painting a tree. He is from a small village in Nokha. (Photo by Shaukat Ahmed/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- In his final radio broadcast of 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted Indians not to describe persons with disabilities as "viklaang" (handicapped) but suggested another word - "divyaang" (people with divine body parts).

In his 15th Mann Ki Baat edition on Sunday, Modi also said that his government would make virtual and physical infrastructure easily accessible for persons with disabilities.

"We have heard many words: handicapped, disabled, specially abled person. We can see their disability, but when we get to know them, we realise that God has given them extra power, a different strength is inside them which is not visible to our eyes," Modi said.

"We see a person's disability with our eyes. But our interaction tells us that person has an extra power. Then I thought, in our country, instead of using the word 'viklaang,' we should use the term 'divyaang.' These are people who have a limb or several limbs with divine powers which we don't have," he said.

I really liked this word a lot. Dear fellow citizens, can we use the word in common parlance.

Under the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, Modi promised to improve infrastructure for persons with disabilities in schools, hospitals, government buildings, bus stops and railway stations, including the use of ramps, accessible parking and lifts.

Modi also conveyed his wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

"We have so much diversity in India. We have so many festivals. Christmas just passed us by and now we are preparing for the New Year," he said. "One festival doesn't even end before another one arrives."

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