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South Asia and Disability Studies

Redefining Boundaries and Extending Horizons


Edited By Shridevi Rao and Maya Kalyanpur

Incorporating scholarship that addresses the social, economic, cultural, and historical facets of the experience of disability in South Asia, this book presents the reader with a comprehensive, cogent, and nuanced view of the constructions of disability in this region. In doing so, it focuses on the lived experiences of people with disabilities and their families, analyzing such disabling barriers as poverty, caste, and other inequities that limit their access to education, employment, equity, and empowerment. It addresses the interpretations of disability within different South Asian contexts including policy, family, educational systems, films, and literary narratives. Situated in an interdisciplinary perspective that spans areas such as cultural studies, law, disability studies in education, sociology, and historiography, South Asia and Disability Studies presents a rich and complex understanding of the disability experience in South Asia. The organization of topics parallels the discourse in areas within disability studies such as identity construction, language, historical constructions of disability, and cultural representations of disability.
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About the Cover Artist


The cover is a photograph of an original work of art—The Visioner—created by Adarsh Baji. Mr. Baji is an award-winning artist in Baroda, India, and identifies himself as a disabled person. His artwork has been exhibited in various prestigious national and international forums including M.S. Univerity Baroda, Coomaraswamy Hall Museum of Western India in Mumbai, Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Print Making Art at Wharepuke, New Zealand, and the Ahmedabad International Arts Festival. His paintings are provocative and offer nuanced, layered and metaphorical interpretations of the disabled experience. His interpretation of The Visioner is as follows:

In this painting, my intention is “don’t think I’m a weak person, if you have a chance, search for my strength & power. I’m also a son of God, God how He made you, He made me also like this. (If) you can use me in the right way, I’ll be like a weapon. I’ll reach a goal and target. I’m useful for society, don't neglect me. Every person is unique in this world, just search (for) his inner strength.” In this painting, I put one apple in front of me. Symbolically, this apple is temptation (like in the Bible, the garden of Eden story). In a disabled person’s life, they will get lots of temptation; e.g., somebody showing sympathy, somebody giving help, government giving reservations, etc. These are all small, small things in our life. “Don't get tempted by this, don’t bend yourself. You have power; you can choose your...

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