” You have committed sins in your last incarnation”
From the time I gained consciousness, I have been hearing this sentence from whoever speaks to me – irrespective of the age or relation of the person. This sentence has haunted me for long and when I heard even educated people say this sentence over and over even in towns and cities ( let alone in the village I was born), I am forced to think of the cause that makes people utter this sentence.
The immediate cause I can think of is sympathy and the helplessness that a person wants to convey. Disability is a difficulty faced by the person affected by it and other person can do little to remove the ‘ handicap’ . The person feels his/ her ‘ helplessness’ in such situations. This has been the general trend of society. People like to connect present inconveniences to past evil deeds and console.
Another reason, and important one, is that people somehow do not accept or see the reality of the problem. For instance, disability is caused by certain diseases, congenital problems or more importantly, malnutrition of the pregnant mother. Thus, there are concrete causes for the disability he or she inherits ir acquires during life. These real causes are glossed over. That is, scientific explanation is sidelined .
Leaving the validity of ‘ incarnation’ or past births, the whole attitude is misleading and I feel, it causes pessimistic thoughts towards life. The differently abled person needs not ‘ consolation ‘ by attributing ‘sins of the past’ but a concrete assessment of the nature of disability, cause of disability and ways of overcoming it.
Compared to past, technology has come as a great boon to assist persons with specific disability. But, very few people are able to access it. Even now, persons living in towns rarely learn Braille, let alone computers with speech synthesisers. They live with constant rhetoric of ‘ sins in past incarnation’. As they grow, they get habituated to this sort of ‘ resign to fate’.
As I ponder through the memories, I feel had I resolved to my ‘ fate’ , had I learned to write and read?
Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere and who wants to foster the whole world.