[AI] Combat Law Article by George Abraham

Pamnani kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com
Wed May 14 01:28:38 EDT 2008

Driven by passion

Sport and art play an important role in creating passion in life. The use of these unique tools for rehabilitation and recreation for the disabled can bring new ray of hope in many lives, writes George Abraham


About 17 years ago, on a visit to

the National Institute for the

Visually Handicapped,

Dehradun, I remember being woken

up by the noise of children playing.

When I went closer, I saw a group of

blind boys playing cricket with great

vigour and passion. Each player was

identified with Gavaskar,

Azharuddin or Kapil Dev. It was

obvious that the children were having

a great time.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity

of travelling to Gangawati, a

small township in north Karnataka

where I saw disabled boys and girls

practicing high jump. Each time a

new height was conquered, there

was great celebration. They were

even more excited when they were

aware of a guest watching them.

They wanted to perform even better.

I remember in class eighth during

the annual sports meet, I was about

to take up my position for the 100

meters qualifying race, when one of

my teachers walked up to me and

asked, "Why do you take the trouble

of running, you are any way going to

lose." My prompt reply was, "I love


The teacher proved to be right, I

came last. However, that did not stop

me from trying harder and practicing

with greater vigour. The next year, I

surprised myself and everyone else

in school when I qualified for the

finals and won the same dash in a

spectacular fashion. The following

years, I went on to represent the

school at the district, state and zonal

level competitions.

Life too, I believe, is like a race.

We have to love it; we have to live it

with a passion to succeed. Life without

passion has no meaning. Passion

is often characterised by ability,

recognition, involvement, goals and

effort. Where do the disabled access

this passion from?

Sports and art forms like music,

dance, drama, writing, painting, et al

have an incredible character that is

intrinsic to them to draw people in

and create a crave. As an activity, they

are engagingx and greatly enjoyable.

There is scope for self-improvement

and tremendous potential for attracting

recognition and appreciation.

As someone told me once, sport

and art forms provide the disabled

not only with an avenue for recreation,

but also helps to keep them

occupied and release their energies. I

would go one step further to say that

sports and arts create opportunities

for the disabled to express themselves,

recognise some of their abilities

and experience the satisfaction of


It calls for great courage, ambition,

desire, discipline, dedication,

determination and hard work to

excel in any sport or art. I guess these

are qualities that one requires to do

well in real life too. Sport and art

could be very effective tools to push

the disabled into lives that are

motored by ambition and desire,

fuelled by discipline, dedication and

hard work. You could well imagine

where that could end up.

Sport and art are very effective

tools for rehabilitation too. It is

unfortunate that the policy makers,

administrators and the people who

run institutions for the disabled have

not understood the potential of sport

and art. This is where I begin to

wonder if these people really believe

in the potential of the disabled or

whether they are simply doing social

work and endeavouring for their

own salvation. Good cause, noble

work, charity and all that, merely

reflect existing social attitudes.

It is, however, encouraging to note

that there are number of self-help

groups that have emerged in recent

times and have taken up the promotion

of sport and art for the disabled as

their mandate. Cricket world cups for

the blind were held in Delhi in 1998

and Chennai in 2002. A cricket world

cup for the deaf took place at

Lucknow in 2005, there have been several

other bilateral international cricket

tours taken up by blind, deaf and

physically disabled teams in the recent

years. Special Olympics have emerged

as a great sporting platform for persons

with intellectual challenges.

In the first week of June 2000, I

was at a seminar organised by the All

India Chess Federation for the Blind

at Mumbai. Speaking on the topic

'Chess a medium for integration'

almost all the speakers were convinced

about the fact that sport can

be a bridge that connects the disabled

with the so called able bodied, particularly

chess that provides a fair and

open playing field. The speakers present

reiterated that once the game

started, the disability was forgotten

and intricacies of the sport took over.

I experienced the same during the

national cricket tournaments for the

blind. To begin with, spectators gather

out of a feeling of curiosity and as

the game progresses people talk

about performances and scores. The

overwhelming response from the

media and the awareness created by

the inaugural World Cup cricket

tournament for the blind held at

New Delhi in November, 1998, only

goes on to emphasise the point.

In recent times, significant developments

have happened in the

sphere of the performing arts. Shows

like the Ramayana on wheels

(wheelchair dance), the Magiktuch

music concerts (performances by

blind singers and musicians), Kathak

and Bharatnatyam performances by

dancers from organisations like

Natyanjali, Shree Ramana Maharishi

Academy for the blind clearly establish

that talent and calibre matter.

The time has come for culture, art

and sport to get mainstreamed. This

would mean that a sporting body like

the Board of Control for Cricket in

India should recognise cricket for the

blind, deaf, physically disabled and

start getting involved with the promotion,

management and development

of these games. Likewise the IOC

needs to start thinking of including

the disability sport as part of their

scheme of things. Inclusion is the

order of the day and the disabled

sports persons are as much stakeholders

of sport as any other citizen of the

country. The sporting bodies promoting

a particular sport have to begin

taking a universal view of their sport.

I believe that the time is just right

for ministries dealing with sports

and culture to take notice of the existing

talent and passion and start budgeting

and investing in the process of

including persons with disability

into the mainstream.

To conclude, I would like to focus

on the following

?? Sport and art provide very

engaging and enjoyable forms

of recreation for the disabled

?? Sport and art can also make for

very effective tools for rehabilitation

and education

?? Sport and art can also provide

much needed platform where

the community and the world

see the disabled as definite performers

and potential contributing

members of the society

Art and sport are necessary to

help the disabled evolve as complete

human beings who can enjoy life,

perform, contribute to social and

community life and can be depended


—The author is Chairman,

Association for Cricket for the Blind in

India (ACBI)



More information about the AccessIndia mailing list