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Divyang/ Divyangjan Meaning

Divyang or Divyangjan meaning in Hindi is a 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 meaning in English 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 The terms ‘cripple’, ‘handicapped’, and ‘disabled’ have been replaced by the terms ‘differently abled’ and ‘physically challenged’.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 meaning in English 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.

Here are some ways people can behave and support individuals with disabilities:

  1. Respect and Dignity: Treat individuals with disabilities with the same respect and dignity as anyone else. Avoid making assumptions about their capabilities or needs based on their disability.
  2. Inclusivity: Include people with disabilities in conversations, activities, and events. Avoid segregating or isolating them.
  3. Use Person-First Language: Use language that prioritises the person over their disability. For example, say “a person with a visual impairment” rather than “a blind person.”
  4. Be Patient and Attentive: Give individuals with disabilities the time they need to communicate or complete tasks. Be patient and attentive when interacting with them.
  5. Ask Before Assisting: If you want to help someone with a disability, always ask if they need assistance before taking action. Respect their autonomy and choices.
  6. Accessible Environment: Create an accessible environment whenever possible. This includes providing ramps, elevators, Braille signage, and other accommodations to ensure that spaces are usable by all.
  7. Communication: When speaking with someone with a disability, maintain eye contact and speak directly to them, not through a companion or interpreter, unless they indicate otherwise. Be clear and concise in your communication.
  8. Educate Yourself: Educate yourself about different types of disabilities and their potential challenges. This can help you better understand and empathise with individuals’ needs.

Suggested Read – How to Be a Teacher in Special Education

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