Amid recent events of discrimination against people with disabilities at talent shows, a music show in Kolkata helped break away from this norm, giving performers with disabilities a platform to rock the stage. The event organised at Rotary Sadan on Saturday, got off to a foot stomping start with an ensemble of drummers with special abilities.
A recent incident showed discrimination at a talent hunt show against people with special abilities recently which was a trigger for this event. Some contestants had qualified for the next and final round but were dropped because getting them on stage would need special arrangements and take more time.
An activist working for the cause, Jeeja Ghosh Nag, backed by the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy or IICP and a host of other organisations put together a show called Hum Kisi Say Kum Nahi (We are no less).
Bikram Ghosh, Celebrity Drummer and chief guest of the event, claimed to have been astonished at the talent on display. "I really like the name of the event. It is the name of a film by Nasir Hussain Saab. And after Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi, he made another film and called it, Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (We should see the world). The two names seem conjoined. Look at these children. They are indeed no less and now they are on stage - zamaney ko dikhana hai."
Agnidoot of IICP burst into a song just before getting on stage for his performance. He sang, "Itni si hasi, itni si khushi...," a popular Hindi song.
Along with the audience, the children who took part shared the energy. Abir, a student from Mentaid School said, "I like playing tabla, I like that people clap and I like getting prizes.
Somita Banerjee, a teacher at Mentaid School spoke of a student and and said, "He has fever but he refused to go home. They are all so excited." To which the boy burst out to say, "No I don't have fever, I have become okay, I want to sing," and began humming a Bengali song.
For Jeeja Ghosh Nag, the was event, born out of anger against bias, became a labour of love. "We are all specially abled. Everyone of us. We are all equal," she said with a smile.
Easily the most spectacular performance was of the national anthem in moving sign language executed to the best of the disabled young men and women's abilities.
Everyone who could, stood up. And the applause at the end of the anthem, loud and long.