Divyang/ Divyangjan Meaning

Divyang or Divyangjan is a Hindi term used to refer to persons with disabilities. The term that was used in regular discourse before the term Divyang was introduced was viklang, which meant ‘one with non-functioning body parts’. The term Divyang translates to ‘one with a divine body part’. This intentional change in language can be considered analogous to a similar shift in language for the same condition that is happening all over the world. The terms ‘cripple’, ‘handicapped’, and ‘disabled’ have been replaced by the terms ‘differently abled’ and ‘physically challenged’.  The term Divyang was coined by the current Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi and is now the term used to describe people with disabilities in official and legal discourse. 

This change in language was an intentional one that was consciously made to tackle two major problems:

The Negative Connotation Attached to the Archaic Terms 

The main reason why there has been a concerted effort worldwide to use euphemisms for such conditions is because of the negative societal connotations that are associated with the old terms. The general outlook on Persons with Disabilities is that they are not capable of regular life. This has led to people not getting jobs even though they are perfectly capable of doing so. For example, a person with a hearing impairment can easily take up a job as a coding professional, but because of the social stigma associated with them, someone else might be chosen simply because of this. So using a euphemism with a positive connotation will give the general public an unbiased representation of them.

Moral Upliftment

When the negative implications of being Divyangjan are removed, they are given the opportunity to find their own space and create a name for themselves by starting on a clean slate. The resulting moral upliftment can be truly motivating for such people, hence helping them find inspiration in what they are able to do and aid in their success in life. 

Divyang students are what we call Students in Need of Special Education. Divyang students can have different types of impairments such as learning disorders, visual impairments, hearing impairments, and so on. They require assistance in their own way which can be given by teachers who are trained in that field. The use of the term Divyang and Divyangjan must be promoted as it can help destigmatize disabilities and encourage efforts to help them advance in life.

Suggested Read – How to Be a Teacher in Special Education