Nilika Mehrotra

Articulating Disability Identity and Rights in India

This paper charts a history of disability right discourses in India examining a recent history. Disability as a category is extremely complex and contested category and the western academic and institutional discourses often shape the way disability justice is being articulated in the global south. In examining disability right movements, reference to other movements of the marginalized people is obvious. What has been the role of the state in delivering policies and legal machinery and how the disabled citizens locate themselves in relation to the state and international networks are important questions here. At the same time how other inequalities like caste, class, gender, ethnicity and religion impinge and intersect the way disability has been constructed? Disability in the context of families and communities resources for personhood, logistics, everyday life, lifelong care and disability politics are other important issues here. This paper also looks at very recent debate and contestation going on within the disability rights movement over a passing of disability law in India.

Nilika Mehrotra is an Associate Professor in the Centre for the Study of Social Systems in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar. She received her doctorate from the University of Delhi (1994).