Karmic Philosophy and the Model of Disability in Ancient India

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"Disability has been the inescapable part of human society from ancient times. With the thrust of disability right movements and development in field of disability studies, the mythical past of disability is worthy to study. Classic Indian Scriptures mention differently able character in prominent positions. There is a faulty opinion about Indian mythology is that they associate disability chiefly with evil characters. Hunch backed Manthara from Ramayana and limping legged Shakuni from Mahabharata are negatively stereotyped characters. This paper tries to analyze that these characters were guided by their motives of revenge, loyalty and acted more as dramatic devices to bring crucial changes in plot. The deities of lord Jagannath in Puri is worshipped , without limbs, neck and eye lids which strengthens the notion that disability is an occasional but all binding phenomena in human civilization. The social model of disability brings forward the idea that the only disability is a bad attitude for the disabled as well as the society. In spite of his abilities Dhritrashtra did face discrimination because of his blindness. The presence of characters like sage Ashtavakra and Vamanavtar of Lord Vishnu indicate that by efforts, bodily limitations can be transcended."