[AI] additional thoughts on mobility

mahendra galani at chello.at
Mon Sep 27 08:29:15 EDT 2010


but friends, Jeen is talking about willingness to be independent, 
trying our own bit,so to   say!!

i don't remember Mahesh replying to all this points, raised by members.
correct me, if i have missed out something from Mahesh.


   At 10:56 AM 9/27/2010, you wrote:
>Coming back to mahesh's case, need for guiding in mobility by team 
>members while in america, cannot be the denying factor, rather it 
>has to be considered part of enabling environment at workplace.
>In other words, we cannot say that mahesh should go to US only 
>if  he  has independent mobility skills.
>More often than not, being escorted by somebody makes us more safe 
>and brings much needed convenience in life.
>
>So, Aisha, I request you to shed off your typically american 
>attitude and consider the things Indian way.
>
>         Hats off to Jean for explaining the things so nicely.
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in 
>[mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Jean Parker
>Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 2:31 PM
>To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
>Subject: [AI] additional thoughts on mobility
>
>Further to my previous posting, here are some other things to consider.
>
>Many of you know that my work requires a lot of travel both inside 
>India and to other parts of the world.  The fact is that I could not 
>do my job if I lived in North America.  Why?  Because there is 
>inadequate transport and I don't drive.  America is a country in 
>love with its cars and the transport infrastructure reflects 
>this.  Even in the largest cities on the east coast it would be 
>difficult or impossible to do the kind of work I do because there is 
>inadequate transport.
>
>America is set up for people who drive.  India on the other hand, is 
>set up for people who don't drive.  Even with the increase in the 
>amount of vehicles on the roads today, the infrastructure of trains, 
>buses and rickshaws remains intact.  There is a culture of public 
>transport.  Everyone uses it except the very wealthy.  In America 
>most people who use public transport are the poor and those who have 
>lost their driving license because of drunk driving.  Although in 
>cities like New York, Boston and Washington this is not as much the 
>case, there is no arguing the fact that America is geared to those who drive.
>
>So what does that mean in a practical sense?  In America where a 
>blind person can live is limited by the availability of public 
>transport unless they make a choice to ask others for rides all the 
>time.  It means a blind person's work location is also limited by 
>the availability of transport unless he wants to depend on 
>co-workers or taxis which are extremely expensive.  It also means 
>that a blind person's social life is limited by these same factors 
>unless he is accompanied by a sighted friend or relative.  In most 
>places in the US, using public transportation is not a viable option 
>if one is seeking equality in the ability to move about in society.
>
>When a blind person in the west encounters some blind person from 
>India or another developing country and that person has an assistant 
>with them, some look upon this with scorn.  They observe that the 
>blind person allows the assistant to make decisions for them and is 
>not in control of how the assistant actually empowers that blind 
>person to do his job more effectively.  But others look upon this 
>with curiosity and some envy.  In America, one can not choose 
>whether or not to travel with an assistant.  There are none.  One 
>either does the thing himself or it doesn't get done at all.
>
>One advantage we have here is that we can choose whether or not to 
>seek assistance and we can govern how that assistance is 
>utilized.  We can be very creative about this.  Having a personal 
>assistant is part of the culture.  It is not at all considered 
>unusual to have one so if you're blind, you can have your driver or 
>your assistant and it's considered normal.  Not so in America.
>
>If we choose to use it, we have a lot of autonomy here that is not 
>available in the west.  If I have an appointment ten kilometers away 
>for example and I either need or want to go there by myself, in 
>India I go outside my building and get a rickshaw and go there.  In 
>America I have two choices depending on where the appointment is.  I 
>might be able to take several buses in which case I would have to 
>plan ahead, figure out the schedules, find out if the bus goes 
>anywhere close to the place I want to go, and perhaps spend several 
>hours getting there and back.  Or, I can get a taxi which would cost 
>an enormous amount of money.  Neither choice leads to 
>equality.  People ask me all the time why I have remained in India 
>as long as I have.  One of the biggest reasons is transport.
>
>There are also significant disadvantages in India that we all know 
>about and there is no need to reiterate them here, perhaps the 
>biggest exclusionary factor we all face is social exclusion and 
>paternalism.  This is probably the root cause of most of the 
>difficulties of blind people.  In America, things are in general but 
>not always more advanced in this department.
>
>There are many other things that are more convenient here that are 
>again, beyond the scope of this list.  All I want to say is that the 
>matter is not as simple as it appears.
>
>Jean
>Voice your thoughts in the blog to discuss the Rights of persons 
>with disability bill at:
>http://www.accessindia.org.in/harish/blog.htm
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with warm regards
        Mahendra Galani
window's live ID mahendragalani at hotmail.com       skype ID chintu3886
phone +4314943149 mobile +4369910366055,
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