In 2016, the Indian government recognised "autism" as a disability, with the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016. With this came the guarantee of rights, reservation and protection for those suffering with it.
Before this landmark bill, the behavioral disorder for the longest time has remained a misnomer as mental retardation. Notions are changing and awareness about the disorder is on the rise, but in our country, we are yet far behind in basics.
The first basic, being the lack of official figures to corroborate, on how wide and vast the problem is? The numbers are an important aspect to understand how wide is the problem spread and to bring in the right kind of intervention.
Moving further to the second basic and the most important one, is the essential intervention and treatment, where our country is lagging.
In simple terms, Autism is a neurological disorder, which can be detected as early as 18 months of age, when the child fails to establish eye contact, does not respond to human touch and is engaged in repetitive behaviors.
The Theme for the International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2016 is : “Achieving 17 Goals for the future We Want, which draws attention to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and how these goals can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities”.
The theme for the year 2016 with interrogative contents is quite significant in pretext of 2007 UNCRPD mandate that marked a “paradigm shift” in attitudes and approaches to view persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, rather than as “object” of charity, medical treatment and social protection. The 2007 UNCRPD mandate is the answer to the question raised in the 2016 Theme that has now specified 17 goals to be achieved by 2030 where the persons with disabilities shall be considered as the “subject” with rights who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active member of society.
We live as one in the family
Together in M.LAVI;
We want to be in unity,
To work and serve for humanity.
To serve others is serving God,
Separate we should go not;
Many who need our hands,
Serve on and put no ends.
Let us work with integrity,
This is what for M.LAVI,
Selfishness and pride should set aside;
Be a candle to throw some sight.
Move around this country,
Include them in M.LAVI;
Fight for the cost of visually,
Bring them to prosperity!
This poem, written by the general secretay of the Meghalaya Liberation Association of Visually Impaired (M.LAVI), Elkin Rynniaw has been sent in by M.LAVI on the occassion of the first anniversary of its formation on November 11, 2016.
In this regard, a programme to celebrate this milestone was held at Don Bosco Technical School, Laitumkhrah, Shillong on the said date.
We Indians are intoxicated with the modernity of the West. For us they represent symbol of elite and prosperity while we are drenched in an inferiority complex and complete unawareness of our rich cultural heritage. As Indians emulate the western thoughts and ways of living, the western people successfully have been able to create cultural hegemony which is evident from the fact that Indian markets are flooded with Chinese lights in Deepawali rather than Indian Diyas made of earthenware, Chinese Chicken Manchurian rather than Indian Curry Chicken, Pizza in Dominos and Pizza Hut rather than Indian cuisine. Today how many people are being seen wearing Khadi clothes, dhotis and kurtas? It’s all about fashionable jeans, tops and shorts with foreign brands. The perception is that if the brand is labelled Made in India, it is below quality and rather cheap while if it is imported from abroad it is of advanced quality. There was a time during the freedom struggle where Swadeshi Movement was an economic strategy to boycott foreign goods and revive the indigenous products and today just after 69 years of independence we are again slaves of our own choice.
Dr. Sylvanus Lamare
Rev. Fr. Sylvanus Sngi Lyngdoh, a priest, a scholar and friend of the sick passed away on 28th May, 2016 at 5.10 am at the age of 96 years. He is popularly known as Fr. Sngi and he was a person who took a number of initiatives for the Khasi society and in particular for the people of Ri Bhoi. His loved for his native place Mawbri and for his region was immense and perhaps what we find today in his writings is the rich philosophy and mythology of Ri Bhoi which through a period of time has entered the Khasi society and may be gradually will enter Khasi literature.
As a Catholic he was committed to his faith; as a religious he was committed to the life he had chosen and gave his optimal time to it as an evangeliser and a pastor who was available when people needed him. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s he was always seen using public transport and for him that was the time to meet people, instruct them and lead them to God. He was a doctor to the physically sick, also to those who are spiritually ill and a counsellor far excellance. He knew his Catholic faith so deeply that there is no question that cannot be answered by him. He was deeply agitated by the anti conversion bill passed when Shri Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister and he also participated actively in the rally at Malki ground when Christians were persecuted in Arunachal Pradesh.