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Nisha Jamvwal to fight for the disabled

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

We have just recently learnt that our favourite architect and luxury consultant, Nisha Jamvwal, is also a committed activist and campaigner for wheelchair rights for the elderly and the disabled. Nisha says that when she returned, over 18 years ago, from her overseas studies/work stint, she had not realised that India as a whole is very insensitive to people with physical challenges. Or to those who for some or the other reason have to use wheelchairs. And that there are no special features necessary either in public spaces or public transport to accommodate wheelchairs. When a close relative of hers, who was once a state level sportsperson, came down with a spinal injury, her attention was drawn towards the fact that the wheelchair-bound have almost no infrastructure to support them. “Have you noticed how people on wheelchairs seldom go out in this country? How they can hardly ever use public spaces? How they actually hibernate and hide at home?” asks Nisha. She adds that most people on wheelchairs shift to the US or Europe in order to assure themselves of a good quality of life – where there are ramps, special wheelchair parking spaces, broad doors to enter public spaces, lifts at multileveled spaces and most importantly wheelchair-friendly restrooms. What worsens the problem is that Indians aren’t sensitised on the issue either. So, she finds herself discussing the issue with builders who are more concerned about not disturbing their perfect ‘landscape’, unmoving cinema managers who couldn’t care two hoots and bureaucratic airline staff who look suggestively at her wallet every time she brings the issue up. But, as she says, this is her mission for the rest of her life -- to make wheelchair accessibility in public spaces mandatory all over India, even in its villages. And to rouse the people’s compassion for those who are so handicapped. Bravo, lady!

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