Monday, April 20, 2015

Able thinking

Vartanama, Apr '15
By Pawan Dhall

Abilities have a way of existing in the most unexpected of places, circumstances and people. This issue of Varta is an assortment of display of various abilities. In Remembering a Friend, Philosopher, Guide, we carry excerpts from an interview with the late Kusum Gupta, a women’s and child rights activist, who surmounted odds around gender and class inequity to enable other women and their children lead better lives. In Insight into Incitement, the story is about pushing back State impositions on the freedom of speech and expression. Kaushik Gupta answers a query around the striking down of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 by the Supreme Court of India.

This issue also introduces a new column on disability issues. The first article in a series under this column by Shampa Sengupta – Understanding (Dis)ability – explains the concept of disability, and what comes through is that disability is not just about impairment. It is equally, if not more, about recognizing ‘diversity in ability’, and in bringing down attitudinal and environmental barriers set up (ever so often unthinkingly) by society that do not allow a level playing field for different abilities.

The lead story in this issue – Trans-ing Health by Debjyoti Ghosh – takes a comparative look at the health status of transgender people in India, Brazil and South Africa. One year on since the Supreme Court of India judgment on transgender identities and rights, the transgender communities still await a clear, transparent and coordinated move by the government that will help unlock their abilities to make a mark as equal citizens of India.

Pawan Dhall aspires to be a rainbow journalist and believes in taking a stand, even if it’s on the fence – the view is better from there!

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