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Quest for Accessibility and Inclusion in Disabled Women’s Autobiographies in India

Journal: International Journal of English, Literature and Social Science (Vol.7, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 01-06

Keywords : Disability; Inclusion; Accessibility; women’s autobiographies; India;

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Abstract

Disability has been widely misunderstood by Indian society due to constant social marginalization and a lack of sensitization and awareness. People often view disability with disgust, suspicion or sympathy. Disability has historically been conceptualized in terms of biological abnormality or dysfunction necessitating medical intervention and rehabilitation. Till recent years, there has been no cognizance of disability as a social construct. A major part of the work on disability in India has been at the level of practice, governmental and non-governmental agencies working for the rehabilitation of the disabled people, there haven't been many efforts to study disabled people within their socio-cultural and economic contexts and to understand the experience of disablement from the perspective of the disabled person. A review of the literature shows that disability and the lived experience of persons of disability as depicted in autobiographies hardly received any attention. In this paper, I propose to examine two autobiographies written by disabled women in India. They are One Little Finger (2011) by Malini Chib and No Looking Back (2014) by Shivani Gupta. An autobiography is an important form of life writing about disability, written from inside the experience in question, it involves self-representation by definition and offers the best-case scenario for revaluation of that condition. My analysis will mainly follow theories that put forward the social model of disability. These approaches view disability as an important dimension of inequality in the social and economic structure and culture of the society in which it is found, rather than in the bodies of individuals with disabilities. I will attempt to situate the politics of disabled women's autobiographies in the Indian cultural context and the specific challenges posed by our social environment

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