Discrimination and exclusion for people with disability in reality shows

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Discrimination and exclusion

Like most of us Indians of this generation born in the late 80’s or early 90’s, I too grew up watching the all time favorite reality game show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”. What a great thrill it was when the same show was interpreted in our mother tongue kannada. It was a great initiative by the colors kannada think tank to air the season 4.

Like the past three seasons even this time I registered my details and diligently by answering the everyday questions. Today the effort of the past three years bore fruits and I got lucky today. But this is where I faced discrimination and exclusion from the channel.

The operator who called me did not realize that I am a differently abled person with profound disability of cerebral palsy, despite my telling him repeatedly. He asked for my address and other details he did not understand my speech, as my speech is slur. He very arrogantly cut the call in between. I was extremely disappointed by this behavior of the operator. After a while another operator called me to get my details.

I was happy that I got another opportunity to be part of my dream reality show. This time I with great difficulty conveyed my address and other detail. But my ordeal did not end there, I was asked to operate my phone keypad. Press numbers in response to questions like my age and other details. As I was returning from office and was in a moving vehicle I found it very difficult to operate my mobile ad took a few extra seconds to respond.

As it was an automated call, the machine waited for the pre-determined number of seconds and got disconnected automatically.

This is where I felt discriminated and excluded. Here the money or fame I could have won if I had reached the celebrated hot seat is not the matter of concern. But the sense of achievement that I would have felt if I had succeeded in my attempt would have made a very great positive impact on my personality. I also could have set an example to others.

The advent and improvement of technology allows to improvise traditional ways of communication and provide equal opportunities to all, with so much ease. The above described situation could be so easily handled by just sending a secure web link through SMS or e-mail and asking selected participants to provide the required details. But no such attempts are being made.

The Indian constitution and the PMO in particular has set so many regulations to ensure that the society becomes inclusive. Media can play such an important role in creating opportunities and making the society inclusive. But such scenarios that unfolded with me send a very negative depressing message to so many people with special needs, who dream of becoming flag bearers of inclusion into main stream society.

I feel the channel is not providing equal opportunity to all. This could be sheer negligence of lack of awareness on part of the media. But this situation has to be rectified, I may not win any money or not even reach the hot seat but I feel not only me but all the people with disabilities deserve a fair opportunity to reach the hot seat like all normal people.

I urge all of you very humbly to share, sign and forward this message and transform this into movement as part of a small step in the direction of creating an inclusive society and India at large.

My contact details:

Name : Ashwin Karthik SN

Contact number:9900563514

Email ID: akarthik21@yahoo.com