Year 2019

Movies, Music, Art & Literature at IIS

Most viewed Movies, Music, Art & Literature at IIS
It's only fair to share...


“Things must not be done for people with disabilities. But it is incumbent upon society to figure out how everything can be made inclusive.”

This quote in a way reflects the true motto of the India Inclusion Summit. IIS 2023 was no different. In its 11th edition this year, the summit that has now turned into a movement spread its wings on Day 1 in the most colourful of ways. “Shelf Aware”, a collection of essays highlighted by artwork by artists on the autism spectrum, was launched.

The compilation of essays in “Shelf Aware” dwells on the innumerable books that VR Ferose, the author and founder of India Inclusion Foundation, has collected over the years. The author, a bibliophile, ruminates on his pleasurable experiences of reading, buying and accumulating books including those that are rare and antique. The words accompanied by the illustrations created by the 5 autistic artists culminate in an unimaginably beautiful artifact.

In the words of the author: “Some of the strokes in the artwork were so detailed, some were continuous, some were broken, and some abstract. Indeed, like life itself.” They say a picture speaks a thousand words. These artists who created magic on canvas find it difficult to share their thoughts through speech but spilt their heart’s emotions effortlessly through their masterpieces.

As the evening sun spread his saffron onto the sky canvas, the movie night started with a fun fact: 27 of the Oscar awards won to date are by actors who portrayed a disabled character on screen. The IIS team used the powerful medium of cinema to amplify the message of inclusion through the screening of three awe-inspiring short films. The three stories were told with ease and conveyed such a powerful yet simple message that the so-called able-bodied community has miserably failed to understand. To exclude someone from the right to lead a basic and normal life for no fault of theirs is downright cruel. Animals do not discard their own kind if they are disabled. We humankind call ourselves the most sophisticated beings on the planet. But I guess we are losing the humane way of perceiving.


Ashwin with other participants enjoying IIS 2023


However, coming back to the movie night, the three extraordinary shorts brought the audience’s attention to sensitive topics very subtly. The movie “Sunshine” touched the chords of my heart. The film depicts a scene of a café where a girl with an intellectual disability (possibly Down Syndrome) works as a host. A female guest who probably has had a rough day enters the café completely drenched. The host recognises that her guest is going through a rough day. She brings her the beverage she asked for with extra toppings to comfort her, but just as the host is about to place the drink on the table she drops it. While she cleaned the floor, she genuinely apologised and admitted that she wasn’t good at her job. That’s when the guest appreciated the host’s effort and comforted her that she would just be fine.

Having comforted her host, the guest on her way out realised that her own life would fall in place. That’s when she calls her husband and comforts him that their baby, who appears to have been diagnosed with a similar condition as the café host’s, would bring sunshine into many lives. At that very moment, the dark clouds in the sky give way to bright sunshine.

I could personally connect to the story because sunshine is something my mother says I bring to her life too — with the beaming face I always wear even in the most trying circumstances while I live with the condition of cerebral palsy.

The main day of IIS 2023 began like the most beautiful morning raga. It was a spellbinding musical performance by the band entirely comprised of blind and visually impaired members. Awe-inspiring to say the least was to watch the musicians playing their chosen instruments. Be they flute, piano, drums, or tabla, it seemed as though the instruments had magically come to life and played on their own.

After that musical saga, it was time for what I call the pocket rocket of the day to take over the stage and mystify the audience: Prathamesh Sinha, the young boy who took the country by storm. In his brief appearance on the second season of Shark Tank India, he was the brand ambassador for “Annie”, the pathbreaking Braille literacy device invented by ThinkerBell Labs, co-founded by IIF Fellow Aman Srivastav. Needless to say, the kind of confidence that kid exudes at his age is unprecedented. While he played MC, he made way for the IIS Fellows.

IIS operates on 5 pillars. Being an engineer myself, innovation is the pillar closest to my heart. Technology and innovation are two things that make a great impact in the disability space. I’d like to talk about the life-changing impacts of two such innovations that were part of the summit this year: Mouseware, and the nonsurgical hearing solution, Impulse.

I wish somebody had invented a device like Mouseware when I was in school or college. Learning computers would have been so much easier, particularly for one living with cerebral palsy quadriplegia. I wondered if technology could devise any other method for me to operate the computer without using my only functional finger.

I am so happy that with Mouseware, kids in my condition need not worry any longer. This device has solved most problems for people with limited or nonfunctional hands. It can be worn on the head and the user can perform all the mouse operations. Pravin Kumar the creator of the device says, “Our vision is to make technology more accessible and affordable. We will cater to individual problems that a huge portion of society encounters on a regular basis and are often overlooked by large-scale industries that develop products for the majority. This is to be more inclusive of various financial, ethnic, and age groups.”

Just imagine one’s plight when he/she cannot listen to what anybody around is saying. One can feel so aloof and left out. Impulse, invented by the twin IIS Fellows Raman and Lakshmanan, solves this very problem non-surgically and economically.

Amidst all of this, there was a story that shone silently and ensured that every pair of eyes in the audience was moist. It was the 12-year-old MC of the afternoon Kiya Bhatt. She has spinal muscular atrophy. It requires a sum of ₹80,0000 just to keep her condition as is. But it hasn’t deterred her from smiling.

There is so much to say, but let me stop here with a closing comment. Like I have evolved from being a speaker to a volunteer, IIS has evolved from an event to a movement. I hope India evolves to be inclusive.


Written by Ashwin Karthik

    Related Videos

  • Most viewed Ferose