Just a tool in their hands
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Isaac Newton famously said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." So, as a person with disability, I should be flattered that Arvind Kejriwal and India Against Corruption (IAC) have tried to stand on the shoulders of persons with disabilities to strike at alleged corruption in the UPA government. Similarly, I should also be happy that Union Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise have brought disability to the front page of every newspaper.
I do not know the truth about the allegations of forgery and the other lurid aspects of the claims made by IAC against the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust run by the Khurshids. As a lawyer, I have been trained to rely only on facts and not allegations and therefore this article is not about the claims made by Kejriwal.
This article is primarily for me to vent my anger at the distasteful way in which both sides have used persons with disabilities to further their case. Those of you who watched the interview of Louise Khurshid on a leading English TV channel would have seen a disabled gentleman sitting on her left. This gentleman did not say a single word during the interview. In a sense, the entire story was about that gentleman, but it was so obvious that he was being used as a prop by Louise Khurshid that it became embarrassing to even watch him. The TV channel obviously thought so too and after a few minutes completely cut him out of the picture.
Similarly, Kejriwal is using persons with disabilities to push his agenda. He has gone so far as to say that he will field a disabled candidate against Salman Khurshid in the next elections.
So what impression do I get from all this coverage and what does this posturing say about persons with disabilities? To me, it seems very clear that both Kejriwal and Louise Khurshid believe that persons with disabilities have no point of view and need mouthpieces to express their opinion. It is also clear that they assume, wrongly, that persons with disabilities are waiting around for handouts whether in terms of wheelchairs or the chance to stand for elections. Persons with disabilities have been used by both of them as the opposite of "arm candy" — to generate sympathy for their respective causes simply by getting persons with disabilities sitting around.
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