Late August Last year he tread upon the road unseen. He rode 550 kilometres from Manali to Khardung La along with his sighted captain Gagan Grover to become the first tandem cycling pair with a blind rider to achieve a feat like that! He is doing this same ride again this year but with 8 more blind individuals and 4 amputees and one quadriplegic and few sighted riders. He is raising funds for the same through a crowd sourcing platform.
“This is a chance for cyclists to discover new perspectives while simultaneously spreading the message of inclusiveness and accessibility,” Says Divyanshu to Vishal Gondal, in the newly launched ‘Beneath the Force-The Vishal Gondal Show’.
Divyanshu, is somebody for the last two decades, ever since he turned blind one morning has been fighting attitudinal barriers on a day to basis. No matter how educated, well read and a great orator that he is, his resume never finds takers.
“There is a shame and stigma associated with disability,” says Divyanshu. There are 200 million disabled people that is close to 15% of the population. “We are the largest invisible minority community,” he adds.
According to Divyanshu, blindness is not his disability. Disability is in people’s mind and it is a social construct. He says that his biggest handicap is because the world is not designed for persons with disability and not designed the way it should be wherein there is equal opportunities for all. Today, the able bodied people are decided what a person with disability can do and not do.
“People in my community want to do new things. They want to experience outdoor adventure sports but, unfortunately nobody has presented them that opportunity. Most do not want to empower us. They want us to remain the way we are. Therefore, ABBF was started to provide that opportunity to one and all,” says Divyanshu.
Divyanshu’s message to persons of disability and the others out there is ‘believe in yourself and don’t let the world decide for you. Imagine possibility for yourself’.
Going forward Divyanshu wants to get away from the city and stay amidst the mountains and grow his own food, keep continuing to work for the betterment of his community and want to see the end of special schools.
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Subrat Sanyal says