“Don’t sign. Don’t sign. Don’t sign.” This was the mantra of Nikita Gupta’s grandmother, discouraging her granddaughter’s use of Indian Sign Language to communicate with her parents, who are both deaf.
“Can’t you just stand for one minute?” is a question posed to Anup Chandran, a wheelchair user, anytime he goes through security at an airport.
Both of these short statements illustrate the deeply rooted stigma against disabilities and general lack of awareness that Indians with disabilities encounter on a daily basis. Beyond the social barriers, physical obstacles reduce mobility and opportunity, as the built environment and public transportation systems both pose significant accessibility challenges to people with motor or sensory impairment.