Despite greater awareness and progress on a number of social issues, blind and other visually impaired citizens of Meghalaya still face terrible treatment at the hands of their sighted compatriots, many of whom display awful insensitivity and disrespect.
October 15 is World White Cane Day, which is used to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the white cane, an important symbol of blindness and tool of independence.
Speaking at an even to mark the day, Jitendra Dkhar, managing director of the Blind Lead Trust (BLT), pointed out the challenges faced by the community in their day-to-day lives.
“While we walk on the street there are some people who don’t respect us. Sometimes they would kick the cane while we walk on the streets,” Dkhar said.
He also pointed out that some insensitive drivers dash against their cane, causing damage to it and potential injury to the person using it.
Dkhar emphasised the importance of the white cane, saying, “We use it as our eyes. I request all the citizens to respect it and when you see us, you can ask whether we need help but don’t try to cross or break this cane.”
Besides helping the blind navigate their way around a world largely designed and run for sighted people, the white cane identifies the user as a blind person, which should act as a signal to sighted people.