Interview

Volume 4 Issue 17 - September 01, 2006

D.N.I.S. through the eyes of our eminent readers

As 01 September 2006 is the third anniversary of D.N.I.S., we decided to ask eminent readers from the disability sector to share their thoughts/comments/feedback on the journey so far. Following are their responses (in alphabetical order):

Dr. Achal Bhagat, Director, Saarthak

I think D.N.I.S. is a useful service which provides credible information about the disability sector, and it makes credible news accessible. Gradually it is moving towards shaping views of people in the disability sector towards the rights based perspective. What I would also like is for it to move towards more first rights holder (disabled people’s) participation.

Arman Ali, Project Coordinator, Disability Law Unit, Shishu Sarothi

I congratulate D.N.I.S. on the third anniversary. D.N.I.S. has kept us updated about the happenings in the disability sector over the last three years. 


Arun Rao, Director, The Deaf Way

I think D.N.I.S. is filling a very important need in the disability sector. Lot of us are unable to keep abreast of everything. Receiving ‘Flash News’ and other regular editions of information is a great help in increasing awareness on disability related issues. Passing on D.N.I.S. link has been very well received and people from all sectors are interested in hearing from D.N.I.S.

D.S. Chauhan, General Secretary, Delhi Association of the Deaf

To have successfully run an independent News Service, that too exclusively for disabled persons, for three years is an achievement of great significance. Kudos to all behind this first enterprise of its own kind.  May your tribe increase.

Creation of awareness about the cause of disabled persons, and more particularly, lime lighting their achievements despite insurmountable obstacles, is the need of the hour.  This should help dispel deep rooted prejudices about disabled persons and give them the right place in the society. D.N.I.S. is doing just that.

While no doubt this News Service will spread far and wide in due course with the spread of Information Technology and availability of computers at reasonable costs, the print media should not be ignored. This has the widest reach and is easily accessible.  Therefore, publication of News Bulletin for Disabled Persons - first in English and then in regional languages should be considered.  I conclude with a quotation of Akbar Allahabadi:

Kheencho na kamano ko,

Na talwar nikalo;

Jab top mukabil ho,

To akhbar nikalo!

(When faced with canon balls, neither pull strings of arrow nor draw a sword, just bring out a newspaper and victory shall be yours!)

Please accept my congratulations and best wishes for a successful long run.

Dr. Garimella Subramaniam, Assistant Editor, The Hindu

Thanks to the regular bulletins of D.N.I.S., I realised for the first time that so much happens in India's disability sector on a continuous basis. When I read a good piece of information, I clutch onto it with hope. When I read the opposite kind of news, it serves as a wake up call. And the next D.N.I.S. flash about a campaign spearheaded by D.R.G. reassures me that there are people out there echoing my concerns and those of millions of others. It is about time that information on this portal is sourced by the mainstream media.

Dr. Madhumita Puri, Director, Prabhat

In a country as populous as India, the disability sector faces a major disadvantage of communication and documentation. News and Views are an arduous task to collect and hence information is often lopsided. To this end D.N.I.S. has filled a major gap, of not only collecting vital data and archiving it, but also by delivering it, in a timely manner in our mailboxes. Cheers to the indomitable spirit of the team.

Dr. Meenu Bhambhani, professional in the field of disability

I have been a regular reader of and contributor to D.N.I.S. It is one service of N.C.P.E.D.P., that I think everyone looks forward to. Every fortnight I check my mail to see the latest news on disability in India and the world. Personally I feel that disability sector should feel grateful for getting all the necessary information regarding disability in India in a capsule form at no cost. And the information is truly empowering. As a researcher also, I find it a great source of information for my work. I appreciate the hard work that has gone in its making and in its journey so far. I just feel that we all need to work hard to widen its reach. I wish eternal success to D.N.I.S. and countless anniversaries. Congratulations!

Poonam Natarajan, Chairperson, National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities

I believe that knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge is progress. A news service was much needed in the disability sector and D.N.I.S. has filled this very important information need. It has taken disability news to a different level, from that of reporting events to reporting issues.

D.N.I.S. is alive to what is happening around and is able to inform the disability sector on time. It has been an excellent vehicle for sharing information. As news gatherers for D.N.I.S., it also made us a little more alive to many things happening around us.

The only constraints are that of technology and language. Many people, especially in remote areas, do not have access to computers.

Radhika M. Alkazi, Managing Trustee & Director, Alternative Strategies for the Handicapped (A.S.T.H.A.)

For me, information is the most powerful link to empower people. I have always believed and worked at this. I think the N.C.P.E.P.D. initiative of providing information on disability issues as well as view points through D.N.I.S. has been a way of linking so many people around the country and elsewhere. This is the first real online information service we have had.

The important thing any service can do is to help people keep in touch. The organisations working at the ground level are so caught up in their own work that they do not see the larger picture. It is important to have a service that helps us to connect our work to the larger policy issues. And an information service like D.N.I.S. enables us to do this.

Rajiv Rajan, Disability Law Unit, Vidya Sagar

D.N.I.S. is doing great work in the field of disability. Through D.N.I.S., many people are updated about current issues concerning disabled people. It is also very helpful to people like us, who work in the field of advocacy. There is a need to raise awareness within and outside disability sector about this news service. The Ministries and Government departments should also be sensitised on D.N.I.S. I feel that the old issues can be compiled (into a magazine) and dispatched to those N.G.O.s and D.P.O.s, who do not have access to computers in rural areas. I would also suggest D.N.I.S. to come up with vernacular versions.

Rama Chari, Disability Consultant, Progeon

I feel quite proud that I was part of N.C.P.E.D.P. when D.N.I.S. was launched.

D.N.I.S. was a futuristic vision, an innovative idea and probably ahead of its times (for the disability sector). In 2000, when the idea was shared with disability N.G.O.s in the country, it received such a cold response that the D.N.I.S. idea had to be put on hold. However, the dream did not die and it was finally realised in September of 2003. To my mind, it was a significant milestone in the disability movement - such a precious gift, the worth of which is yet to be fully realised by all of us in the sector.

In the last decade or so, the advent of telecommunication has completely changed the way we function and the way the economy is run. D.N.I.S. is a proactive tool for the disability sector to keep pace with the world that is fast getting inter-connected.

Ever since I started human resource consultancy, I have been interacting quite a lot with the educated disabled youth across the country. D.N.I.S. / N.C.P.E.D.P. websites are slowly gaining popularity amongst this group, which relies completely on Internet for information and knowledge. I therefore see D.N.I.S. playing an even more important role in the future, in terms of shaping, influencing, supporting and uniting disabled people from all over the world. In that sense, D.N.I.S. will be the virtual leader of the disability movement in the ‘flat world’!

Sakshi Broota, professional in the field of disability

D.N.I.S. is a very useful service for people working in the disability sector. It has kept me informed about the developments at the national level. I especially like the news flashes. Congratulations to the D.N.I.S. team!

Victor John Cordeiro, Programme Manager, Sabala, ActionAid India

I am pleased and honoured to share my feelings and thoughts with regard to D.N.I.S. electronic newsletter. It is a unique newsletter which I have come across so far which brings out the breaking news of disability sector not only in time but most apt to the context and situation. It is accessible in all forms and aspects to the reader. The news brought out is informative, thought provoking, sensational, generating awareness and finally triggering the disability movement.

I would love to read the same in future with more interest and excitement and also forward the same to my friends, colleagues and sector partners. My sincere thanks and congratulations to the D.N.I.S. team for an excellent attempt.

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