Individuals who are Deafblind in India and the Importance of YouTube

The video below is from the Indian television station, NDTV and talks about the deafblind network set up in Delhi.  Obviously, the issue of disability was on the air in response to it being World Disability Day.  I have no doubt there are a lot opinions about the content of the piece and the perception and representation of people with disabilities.  In fact, media and more accurate broader representations of disability is still a concern that is still unsolved and in many ways unaddressed in the United States.  

One of the great benefits of video-sharing sites such as YouTube is that it offers an opportunity to see what is it that captures peoples imagination enough to post.  Some of the disability videos are from networks or companies, such as this one.  But many, the vast majority, come from individuals.  What draws a person to post a specific video?  What encourages others to seek it out or comment?  What makes something go “viral?”  What role does disability have in this new media?  Or perhaps a better question is how can the disability community better take advantage of this new media?

It is not a matter of can or should, but of necessity.  In Washington DC, many of the disability advocacy organizations are working towards ADA Restoration, but if one were to look at the YouTube coverage…other than a single video by a supporter, the only other footage is from the House Education and Labor Committee Hearing.  (My appreciation to Ed and Labor Democrats for posting the clips).

Regardless, the video from India offers an opportunity to view the availability of resources and supports for individuals with disabilities in another nation, but also to see the media portrayals of those individuals.  I only wish that I had footage from a U.S.-based event celebrating World Disability Day so that we might compare.  It would certainly offer some food for thought.


A transcript of this video is available in the comments.

5 comments for “Individuals who are Deafblind in India and the Importance of YouTube

  1. admin
    March 6, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Getting into school or college is enough of a challenge but if someone is visually or hearing impaired it is even more difficult. That is why in big metro areas like Delhi, deaf-blind networks do everything from getting children with disabilities into school, to building awareness. On World Disability Day today, we salute organizations like these which are doing their best to break barriers.

    It is easy to chat with Zahir on his laptop. His software immediately translates the text from Braille to English and back to Braille and so liberates Zahir and so liberates Zahir from the conventional trappings that come with communicating in Sign Language.

    I also do the same thing. But to get this far on an individual level is one thing, making it possible for others with the same disability is another. For one, deaf-blindness is still not recognized as a separate disability under our Disability Act. For another, exposure to most, to a sign language based on touch for instance, or a school which caters to their needs is virtually non-existent. So, Zahir is now working in an NGO that has set up a network for the deaf-blind in Delhi and at the Blind School Association there is a separate class set up for deaf-blind students.

    (Note from Day: Some of the dialogue here was difficult for me to understand so the transcript my fade in and out. My apologies).

    .then I decided to work for the blind people. I was worried about the education, family.

    The association called Udon, consists of parents, students and professional advisors attached to NGOs that help with everything from getting disability certificates to advice on where to by special aids, and most of all, people who can count on each other on a bad day.


    John has some residual vision so he was made the star of the one act play for Disability Day with a very simple story- John needs a friend. Off-stage John's best friend is a deaf-blind boy much younger than him who he is fiercely protective about.

    …? (Not in English)

    Ardish playing a Japanese girl in the play has some residual hearing and when he is not mugging lines in Japanese he is playing football.

    .? (Not in English)

    Kamlish and her husband Rakesh are both happy and relieved connect with Delhi's deaf-blind association and to have found a school where their son Shiv, can start picking up the necessary skills to communicate. In fact, they are so relieved that they will do anything to stay in Delhi, even though Rakesh works in the Army's armoured corps.

    ..? (Not in English)

    It is not easy dealing with all the barriers the city and the world puts up around you if you're deaf-blind but that only means the liberated voices amongst them, like Zahir, have their work cut out for them.

    In the New Delhi, Revdi Laul for NDTV.

  2. admin
    March 6, 2008 at 6:45 am

    If anyone has difficulty accessing the site/video with a screenreader, please let me know (as I seem to be having problems with that myself but am not sure if it is user error).

  3. March 9, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Day,

    I just viewed the video using JAWS. I clicked on the link you provided to open in a new window and was met with the Flash buttons 0-20. I pressed enter on the 0 and it loaded the video in a new window, then began playing with no problem.

    I had some doubts about what was being spoken in the video and then went to read your transcript. I appreciated your notes…I’m glad to see that it was language changes and wasn’t me missing out on anything.

    Thanks for sharing this enlightening viewpoint from India.

  4. admin
    March 10, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks Ron! I appreciate the help!

  5. WhiteCaklet
    April 10, 2008 at 11:32 am


    I wish to go there and support better service and activities for India Deafblind as I learn study Deafblind course in Australia until July 2008. Hopefully I can visit your Deafblind school and support you all better activities and bright day.


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