“Dwarfism” is identified as a form of disability, but still, nothing much is done for these little humans. Shiv Lal, a dwarf told Afternoon Voice, “I am the only licensed car driver. We get many challenges while getting a driving license, jobs, and people think we are circus jokers. They do not take us seriously.”
Shiv Lal who received an Honorary PhD said, “I am married and my son is a normal person but to raise him my wife and I had to deal with various challenges.”
He said people used to tease us, more than the tease and taunts, what pains us more is the society’s blissful ignorance towards our community’s need to live like normal human beings. The focus of attention is almost always on the visible distortion that other individual aspects of a dwarf such as his/her desire to get married, have sex or start a family, often gets ignored or even ridiculed.
Shiv Lal further said, “I have fought all odds and lived a normal life, unlike a majority of my community members who live a hidden life due to societal stigma and shame, and often in unending poverty. Now my mission is to fight for the rights of Dwarfs, because these lives matter.”
Social worker Zenobia Khodaiji said, “Dwarfs face problems that most other people don’t give a second thought to. Public urinals aren’t fixed while keeping people of such short stature in mind. Chairs and desks aren’t dwarf-friendly. Public transport doesn’t have ramps for easy entry and exit for them and even cars don’t come equipped with specifications to suit their needs. It’s high time the government needs to do something for them.”
Their problems are very similar to wheelchair-dependent people says Shabnam Rangwala, head of therapy at ADAPT, India’s first special school for children with cerebral palsy. “In India, infrastructure is not friendly to people like them.”
“People with dwarfism are able to perform all normal activities but need help to do them because of their height and certain other physical characteristics peculiar to them,” said Dr Anshuman Manaswi.