“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt within the heart.” These words of Helen Keller crystallise a universal truth that defies both time and space.
We are often under the misconception that the most privileged are the physically fit. Yet, challenging this logic, are many heroes standing tall in the world who have been denied certain physical abilities but have learnt to overcome them with strength of mind and magnanimity of soul. Helen Keller could ‘hear’ birds singing by feeling the vibration of trees, Beethoven could compose masterpiece after masterpiece and Marlee Matlin could win an Academy Award for ‘Best Actress’ for ‘Children of a Lesser God’ – in spite of their profound deafness. The lives of physically disabled achievers seem to be guided by the saying – “What the mind can perceive, it can achieve.” In fact, physical deafness matters little when the mind hears. The real incurable deafness is that of the mind. Churchill once said, “Kite risest highest against the wind, not with it” – establishing firmly that challenges bring out the best in one. The hearing disabled have made their mark in all fields including art, sports, academics and entertainment because they have often displayed qualities of mind and heart greater than those endowed with normal faculties.
Yet, they face social stigma. The real challenge of society lies in accepting them as our own, making the ‘physically abled’ learn how to communicate with them and building bridges with them.