On 28th October 2020, Ambedkar University, Delhi organised a webinar to discuss the book Disability in South Asia: Knowledge and Experience. The book was edited by Anita Ghai, who also moderated the event. Rising Flame’s founder and executive director Nidhi Goyal was invited to be part of the panel as a writer of one of the chapters in the book. Other panelists in attendance were Prof. Tanmoy Bhattachar, Delhi University; Prof. Rukmini Sen (SLS AUD), and Mr. Sandeep R. Singh (SOL AUD).
Through a very enlightening and interesting panel, the speakers reflected on their respective chapters in the book one after the other while also adding some more thoughts on the subject of their experiences living with a disability.
Nidhi Goyal spoke on her chapter, Privilege or Marginalisation: Narrative of a Disability Rights Activist. She highlighted such points as ‘socially accepted marginalisation’, the concept of certain disabilities being comfortable for non-disabled persons to perceive, while some are not by saying, “Movements are only as inclusive as actors are comfortable them being.” She also spoke about working with other movements, as an activist who works on gender justice as well as disability rights, about what it means to stand at this intersection of disability and gender. Lastly, during the Q&A sessions, a number of topics were covered, from representation of people with disabilities in the media to the stigma within the community about mental health to how when people put the ‘inspirational’ label on a disabled person, it gets internalized and that is also a barrier for seeking help for mental health.