Prosperity of inner vision « Khabarhub
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Prosperity of inner vision


15 August 2019  

Time taken to read : 9 Minute


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A week in early April, on a beautiful spring morning, in the not so crowded Budhanilkantha, an outskirt of Kathmandu city, I was walking towards the gentle climb of a hill, looking forward to a spiritual sharing with a couple very dear to me. Having lost my husband to cancer hardly 4 months ago, I was treading on what is called a path of ‘healing and grieving.’

Suddenly, the sound of singing filled the morning air. It was a powerful male voice. I guessed there must be a celebration of some festival going on nearby and the organizers were playing from an album using loudspeakers. But I was wrong.

It was a call of providence that propelled me to live and experience something that I have never been into — a flight into another culture just another way to living

Oh! He was a blind man singing his heart out in well-crafted lyric. He must have been somewhere 30 years old. Amazing voice indeed! There was a group of other blind friends around him. People passing by were giving him cash appreciation. I did too. But, I did something more. I took the telephone number not just of the singer but also of other blind friends seem to be part of the band. Little did I know this was just the beginning of a beautiful journey of discovery and exploration of the hidden treasure of life.

It was a month of January 2002 in the city of Bangalore in India; I still remember I had stepped into a fascinating journey with a co-partner who was deaf and to my disbelief but quite satisfaction a story continues to date without a pause.

A journey that taught me to discover a rich culture of creativity and expressiveness in the sadly packaged periphery of ‘disability’ around a human body. A journey that taught me to love intensely, share profusely and to be enriched in life the way it keeps you – one of such ways is the ‘Deaf Way’ – the ‘Blind’s Way’.

Though not fairly updated I am due to tragedy and turbulence in my life thrown by sickness and sufferings of close family members and frequent relocation, the journey of my own life is fairly well appreciating in my own eyes and systematically chronicled by my own words. I make mention of this because it stands as the backdrop to what began this beautiful spring morning in April 2019 as a memorable and enriching episode of my life.

The human body that is all packaged in disability – the disability of vision and hearing conveniently called blind and deaf.

It was a call of providence that propelled me to live and experience something that I have never been into — a flight into another culture just another way to living. Back I vividly remember the year 2002, I had a brush with the first sign language class. Though so awkward to begin with, I decided not to run away.

When I look back, three months have flown by. Three months of intense association and networking with many visually impaired friends who were attending the sign language classes collected from all over the country. It was definitely a new experience for me.

I was living, perceiving and understanding life from an admirably different perspective; my discovery which I call it the Blind Way. The human body that is all packaged in disability – the disability of vision and hearing conveniently called blind and deaf. Such life is disadvantaged at the physical level but not at the level of creativity and intellect. I found their life hooked on others at the physical level — a life of dependence because of the tragic loss of vision and hearing.

They were disadvantaged at the workplace and generally are pitied by others. There is definitely a chasm at the workplace in the inclusion of visually impaired employees compared to the sighted majority. However, given a chance achievements by the blind in the field of academics, performing arts and technology evoke the feeling of awe and applause.

To me, this is the constant reminder to the world in which all of us live that blind stand tall and they stand equal to us in making contributions to society. If only – yes, if only they were given the acknowledgment and opportunity. If only the barrier of prejudice and ignorance about them in society had been replaced by a bridge of mutual respect and understanding.

It was a matter of honor for me to work with the Deaf in Nepal and India, hosting 4 Deaf Art Exhibitions. Such events were aimed at showcasing the richness of ‘deaf culture’ — events to build a bridge in our society for due respect and understanding to those who cannot hear.

Events of Deaf Art Exhibitions were successful in contributing greater livelihood opportunities for the deaf in India. But, that is history now. At present, I am concerned with a question of what I can do to support and express my appreciation for the blind in Nepal.

I am again concerned with what I can do to help project the amazing achievement of living with physical disability of blindness in a world dominated by the sighted (visually abled ones). I constantly remind myself what can I do to shout loud to declare about many and varied contributions of blind friends what they are good at and what actually they have given to our society?

We must be aware of the fact that our neglectful approach and differential treatment for the visually impaired section of our society has caused us the loss of talent and creativity from them amounting to no less than a continuous draining out of valuable human resources.

I always remind myself how I can turn the spotlight on academicians, musicians and social entrepreneurs of Nepal who are blind but are no less than others in terms of contributing to human society. These people are thriving contributors and we must feel proud of them. I from my side try to give a platform to inspire many young and enterprising blind friends and fellow citizens.

I tirelessly work to open the eyes of the sighted majority so that they can see the contributions of their blind fellows in various fields to which most of us remain literally blind. I have planned one such event in Kathmandu on Sunday, September 8, 2019, in an effort to highlight the works and contributors of our blind fellow who are full of the light of knowledge and creativity.

Yes, I am organizing this event all alone without any sponsorship from any corporate sector. That is why I call it ‘Personal Social Responsibility’ instead of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’. I am the only one to do it all by himself – it is a one-woman show or you can choose to call it one-man show if you like. I have support from all my blind friends.

Deep sharing of grief and sorrow can create friendships for a lifetime. We all know this from the experience of our life. This is also true with working together to build bridges between individuals, communities, and societies. We build a bridge of communication and connect with friends on the other side to help them generously and love intensely and thereby create memorable moments to be recorded in history to influence the lives of very many living around us.

A history that each one of us, be the blind or so-called sighted ones, those who can hear or cannot hear will be so proud to look back, remember and relate to the lived moments of posterity which no amount of physical possession of health can give. It was the prosperity of the inner wealth of wisdom and creativity. It was the prosperity of inner vision, indeed.

Let’s partner, let us work together and create that history!

(Sarah Giri, a blind and deaf rights advocate and activist, was married to Tulsi Giri, the Prime Minister of Nepal from 1975 to 1977)

Publish Date : 15 August 2019 14:03 PM

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