Thousands of deaf people Saturday demanded official recognition for sign language, saying that they have not been heard in 64 years of independence.
In a rally held in the national capital, over 4,000 deaf people from all over the country gathered for a march on World Disabled Day, observed Dec 3, to demand official recognition for sign language.
“Imagine life as a deaf person in the country. You cannot go to school, you cannot watch TV and god forbid if you have to go to police station or hospital for an emergency,” said A.S. Narayanan, secretary of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).
The association has also written to Home Minister P. Chidambaram on its demand.
“Imagine going to catch a train and not being able to hear the announcement that your train has been delayed or postponed or the platform number where the train was supposed to come has suddenly changed. There are no visual announcements for the deaf,” Narayanan said.
Watching television or going to the movies is something Rahul Salaskar, a march participant from Pune and a member of deaf friendship club, has never enjoyed as there are no sub-titles.
On his first trip to Delhi, Salaskar said: “I am very happy to be a part of this march and hope the government recognises and fulfils our demands.”
India is home to 18 million hearing impaired people, according to the NAD, which organised the march.