Inclusion takes stage in Bengaluru

The 11th edition of the India Inclusion Summit celebrated innovations and inspiring stories of diversity and hope

Published: 06th November 2023 07:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th November 2023 07:22 AM   |  A+A-

VR Ferose and Adil Hussain, India Inclusive Summit

VR Ferose and Adil Hussain | Allen Egenuse

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Inclusion can have many different meanings, encompassing within it a promise to embrace diversity without prejudice. But for thousands of differently-abled people across the country, the word does not only mean embracing diversity but hope that they are seen as equals.

This hope is celebrated annually in Bengaluru with the India Inclusion Summit, organized by author and technologist VR Ferose, who founded the India Inclusion Foundation.

“One of the biggest inspirations for starting the summit came after a discussion with Arun Shourie, who was a former cabinet minister. He emphasized the need for a change in the narrative around disability. The way to change the narrative is to celebrate people for who they are, which is what we do here,” said Ferose, who started this foundation after his son was diagnosed with autism.

The 11th edition of the summit held recently brought together thought leaders, innovators, and speakers working in the field of disability along with notable actors like Dr Mohan Agashe and Adil Hussain. The hosts of the event, 12-year-old Keya Hatkar with a rare genetic disorder of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and 11-year-old Prathamesh Sinha, who is visually impaired, infused infectious energy into the event.

Padma Shri awardee Dr Agashe, who is also a psychiatrist by profession, spoke about how education has become dominated by just reading and writing which creates exclusion. “We are not taught how to actually see and listen which makes many of us sensory-disabled. Words have completely replaced sensitivity, creating a world of cognitive terrorism.”

Siddharth Dutta, a parent and caregiver attending the event, said, “My son is autistic, so there are enough reasons for me to be here so I can have my daily dose of motivation. It’s like an annual pilgrimage for people like us. This is for awareness for the rest of the world, but for us, it’s a celebration.”

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