Objecting to the use of term “divyang” to address people with disabilities, a disability rights group has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to withdraw the notification renaming ‘viklangjan’ as ‘divyangjan’ in Hindi nomenclature of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
According to a recent government order, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities will now be known as ‘Divyangjan’ Sashaktikaran Vibhag in Hindi, dropping the word ‘viklangjan’ from its previous nomenclature.
“Our attention has been drawn to gazette notification of May 17 renaming the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities as the ‘Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Vibhag’ in Hindi. Disability is not a divine gift. And the use of phrases like ‘divyang’ in no way ensure de-stigmatisation or an end to discrimination on grounds of disability,” National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled said in its letter.
“What needs to be addressed are stigma, discrimination and marginalisation that persons with disabilities are subjected to on account of the cultural, social, physical and attitudinal barriers that hinder their effective participation in the country’s economic, social and political life. Mere change of terminology is not in any way going to alter this,” it added.
The disability rights group had also written a letter to the PM in January objecting to the same when Modi had referred to replacement of the word ‘viklaang’ with the word ‘divyaang’ during his monthly broadcast of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme.
“We had pointed out in our letter that invoking divinity will in no way lessen the stigma and discrimination that persons with disabilities have been historically subjected to and continue to encounter in their daily lives. Exclusion and marginalisation cannot be addressed by using patronising terms like ‘divyang’,” it said.
“We urge you to withdraw the notification about renaming of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities,” it added.