It's difficult being me, a person who has epilepsy, in India. Not surprisingly, there is more awareness about Valentine's Day than epilepsy. Since time immemorial, philosophers excluded people with disability from framing political principles of and for society and in India, this exclusion still prevails.
The disabled have been marginalised since time immemorial. This is the most dangerous form of oppression as a whole category of people are removed from useful social and economic participation. They are seen as dependents which deprives them of their right to autonomy and freedom to make choices. However, more than them it is the Indian government as well as society who "suffer" from the disability of thought, sensitivity, sensibility and vision.
You must have already formed an image of me in your mind, but let me fill in the gaps for you. I am a US Size 4, light-skinned, light-eyed, brown-haired girl living in a nation obsessed with fair skin. You must be wondering what gives me the entitlement to write this article since I occupy quite an enviable position in this culture.
Partition created blurred lines, but people living on either side of those blurred lines must not forget that they have more similarities than differences. The callous, cold indifference tolerated by the subaltern in both the nations is the same.
March 26 is Purple Day, the international day for epilepsy awareness. The word 'epilepsy' means "to seize, possess, or afflict". This indicates how language is a tool in the hands of the powerful, the so-called 'normal' human beings. This inequality between 'normal' and 'abnormal' emanates from the hegemonic structure of our society and is evident in the language of the law.
As I became older, I realised my medical condition was different from other maladies. Other diseases were 'socially acceptable', mine was a taboo. If I told the truth, I would be subject to discrimination and stigma that could never be obliterated.
In the recent past, persons holding high public offices like TMC MP Mr. Tapas Paul and BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, and likewise the former Supreme Court Judge Mr. Markandey Katju and the Goa Minister Mr. Tawadkar have on separate occasions issued offensive statements which denigrate and deny the personhood of women and the community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT).