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Archive for April, 2010

One of our member, Krissy, sent this to us. A truly amazing piece by Harold Krents.
Harold Krents, a graduate of Harvard Law School, practiced law in Washington, D.C. Blind from birth, he was a strong advocate for the rights of the handicapped. He speaks about the everyday prejudices faced by a blind person.

Darkness at Noon
By Harold Krents

Blind from birth, I have never had the opportunity to see myself and have been completely dependent on the image I create in the eye of the observer. To date it has not been narcissistic. There are those who assume that since I can’t see, I obviously also cannot hear. Very often people will converse with me at the top of their lungs, enunciating each word very carefully. Conversely, people will also often whisper, assuming that since my eyes don’t work, my ears don’t either.

For example, when I go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for assistance to the plane, he or she will invariably pick up the phone, call a ground hostess, and whisper: “Hi, Jane, we’ve got a 76 here.” I have concluded that the word blind is not used, for one of two reasons: Either they fear that if the dread word is spoken, the ticket agent’s retina will immediately detach, or they are reluctant to inform me of my condition, of which I may not have been previously aware. On the other hand, others know that of course I can hear, but believe that I can’t talk. Often, therefore, when my wife and I go out to dinner, a waiter or waitress will ask Kit if “he would like a drink” to which I respond that “indeed he would.” This point was graphically driven home to me while we were in England. I had been given a year’s leave of absence from my Washington law firm to study for a diploma in law at Oxford University. During the year I became ill and was hospitalized. Immediately after admission, I was wheeled down to the X-ray room. Just at the door sat an elderly woman—elderly I would judge from the sound of her voice. “What is his name?” the woman asked the orderly who had been wheeling me. “What’s your name?” the orderly repeated to me. “Harold Krents,” I replied. “Harold Krents,” he repeated. “When was he born?” “When were you born?” “November 5, 1944,” I responded. “November 5, 1944,” the orderly intoned. This procedure continued for approximately five minutes, at which point even my saint like disposition deserted me. “Look,” I finally blurted out, “this is absolutely ridiculous. Okay, granted I can’t see, but it’s got to have become pretty clear to both of you that I don’t need an interpreter.” “He says he doesn’t need an interpreter,” the orderly reported to the woman.

The toughest misconception of all is the view that because I can’t see, I can’t work. I was turned down by over forty law firms because of my blindness, even though my qualifications included a cum laude3 degree from Harvard College and a good ranking in my Harvard Law School class. The attempt to find employment, the continuous frustration of being told that it was impossible for a blind person to practice law, the rejection letters, based not on my lack of ability but rather on my disability, will always remain one of the most disillusioning experiences of my life. Fortunately, this view of limitation and exclusion is beginning to change. On April 16, [1978] the Department of Labour issued regulations that mandate equal-employment opportunities for the handicapped.

By and large, the business community’s response to offering employment to the disabled has been enthusiastic. I therefore look forward to the day, with the expectation that it is certain to come, when employers will view their handicapped workers as a little child did me years ago when my family still lived in Scarsdale. I was playing basketball with my father in our back yard according to procedures we had developed. My father would stand beneath the hoop, shout, and I would shoot over his head at the basket attached to our garage. Our next-door neighbour, aged five, wandered over into our yard with a playmate. “He’s blind,” our neighbour whispered to her friend in a voice that could be heard distinctly by Dad and me. Dad shot and missed; I did the same. Dad hit the rim; I missed entirely; Dad shot and missed the garage entirely. “Which one is blind?” whispered back the little friend.

I would hope that in the near future, when a plant manager is touring the factory with the foreman and comes upon a handicapped and a non-handicapped person working together, his comment after watching them work will be, “Which one is disabled?”

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We are at the last leg of the Right To Read campaign. The Indian government has proposed certain amendments to the Indian Copyright Act, which will have a far reaching and severely negative impact on the lives of millions of Indians who are visually impaired, dyslexic, have cerebral palsy, etc. This amendment is scheduled to be introduced in Parliament during the upcoming budget session. The National Access Alliance has launched a movement to oppose the upcoming amendment and this has received support from several leading politicians in India.

Act Now! You could help bring about a transformational change to the lives of about 70 million people in India and enable people to exercise their Right to Education and Right to Read.

With your help, we’ll harness the power of the internet to get the message to people all over the world. You can help us in many simple ways. Here are a few things you can do –

Sign the Declaration

A simple act of supporting the campaign online can make a huge difference to the cause. We intend to showcase the support the campaign receives to the concerned authorities so that a change in the copyright law can be brought about. Visit Right To Read and sign the declaration!

Connect us with more MPs (Members of Parliament)

If you know an MP, you can brief them on the issues so that the amendment can be meaningfully discussed in Parliament. All you need to do is forward this note to them, Click Here for the note.

Contact the press

If you know anyone in the press, get them to cover the issues and raise public awareness. Just send this press release attached here.

Send an email to Shri Rahul Gandhi

Communicate to Shri Rahul Gandhi your support for the change in the amendment! Just send the following email to iycnsui@gmail.com and other politicians you know.

A small act done by you can go a long way in helping the visually impaired in India!

If you would like to know more about the amendment to the copyright law and the background of this campaign, click here!

Thank you for your support!

Together, there are no barriers!

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When her imagination runs wild, Yaminy does exactly the same. She runs along with it and makes sure she a story to tell. Her love for the written word stems from her pursuit towards becoming a good orator, writer and translator. Yaminy enjoys playing the Veena – a music instrument, reading fantasy novels and feasting on chocolates.

A simple conversation about her views on Inclusive Planet  lead to this wonderfully creative article. Watch out for this young woman, she is a bestseller in the making.

Inclusive planet: My home sweet home – by Yaminy

Hey Guest,

Don’t go away looking from the outside. The external appearance is such that we can only go on a quick tour around the home along with brief glance. Our home is the best, the most beautiful planet. When you come in, you can stay for as long as you want. Once you start, nothing will stop you from experiencing the hospitality all around. Welcome Home!

At the beginning of your quest, you are given a special key which is the email ID and a secret code which is the password to enter or to log in. We then enter our home, the first thing we notice is the mailbox which shows the messages received. We can either reply immediately or move further depending on the mood.

Later, we enter the lounge where we find the members engaged in different discussions. If some are reading, others would chat away!  The best part is that we have all the rights to interfere in these chats or come to know what additional furniture (posts or comments) are there at home. Another brilliant feature is that, once a member states anything, it would be displayed along with the name tag which makes it easy to know who has said what.

If you’re not in a mood for that, just by clicking the toggles (links), you can contact the new members from earth, connect with recent conversations, and find the things at home, check what’s recently shared, respond to requests made by sharing things and so on. Do you know? Our home looks simple and small.  It is our humble abode, where we learn to love and live happily. But, it’s built using modernity and so, accessible through buttons or toggles.

We have more than 50 superb Channels; each one catering to different areas of interest.If one is set for humor, another is for food.  At one stage we can play, while on the other, we may get special education through online classes.  Have a flair for the language, then surely must have a love for literature and walk into the poetry world.  Wish to conspire on anything? You can discuss in various clubs or even the computer science has advanced so much that bloggers and content writers are ready to publish the same in the websites. You must speak out either in your voice or planeteer speak out.

Do we have to watch a movie? Need not.  If we just read or better participate in the planets on goings, it becomes a movie for any amount of time we spend. Full on action packed entertainment guaranteed. So sit back, relax, bring on the popcorn my friends.

This is the place where I learnt the art of expressing and even the meaning of unity and friendship.  Be what may, the arms are there to support in any kind of crisis and need not feel shy or worried to express something. Whenever I find time, I just come home, and even many a times get the stuff necessary for my class studies.

Oh, my friends and fellow inmates are so cute, charming and lovable that we just feel like interacting either through private messages or on spot dialogues. I’ve found many friends here who have no issues and have accepted me as I am.

This is our gorgeous habitat and my home sweet home!

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