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The Mighty Champion

DishaDwarfism

In this film Disha, a spirited individual who lives with dwarfism, talks about advocating for change. She provides an exploration of the types of dwarfism, delves into the societal conditioning that often leads to mockery and laughter for them and confronts these challenges head-on, emphasizing the need for a shift in perspective. Disha highlights the importance of portraying individuals with dwarfism in a positive light in films and social media, drawing attention to characters like Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, who rise above societal expectations. Addressing practical issues, Disha also advocates for a more accessible world for people with dwarfism.
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Transcript

I always feel that I haven't seen anybody laughing at somebody who doesn't have a leg or a hand or who's visually impaired.

But with Dwarfism, people laugh and society has taught them to laugh.

So, Dwarfism is a genetic disorder, uhh, in, scientifically it is known as achondroplasia, it is the most common type of Dwarfism is achondroplasia, for about 70℅ it is achondroplasia.

Apart from that there are several others, but the most common is this.

If I have to do it in a ratio then it is one in 10,000 in India and globally it is close to one in 25,000.

I also have friends in the community who are dwarfs as a couple, but their children are average-sized.

So, it doesn't have to be that a dwarf is born to a dwarf or an average size will give birth to a dwarf.

There is no scientific thing, it's all genetic conditions that lead to dwarfism.

See, i think, the county that we live in no, here the challenges are more, uhh how influenced the brain is.

I have always seen as a child that people with dwarfism are more seen in circuses or if you see them in movies, they are the ones who've been mocked most at.

So, because of this mockery, because of this looking very low towards them, or, you know, always seeing them in the circus or making fun.

This entire thing has become a challenge that uh, somewhere, wherever a dwarf guy, even if he has accomplished, let's say even 10 times more than the average guy, he is still looked upon really down.

It is more of a society-driven challenge that we are facing now.

I don't see a parent stopping a child saying don't laugh. There are people like this.

So, when a child, you know, when I go to a mall or in a public space and kids are laughing at me.

I would not expect that kid to understand that I have a genetic condition.

But I expect a parent to tell them that you should not laugh.

There is a deformity. God makes everyone different. Everyone is different.

Somebody is fat, somebody is black, somebody doesn't have a hand or leg.

But you can't laugh.

So, the laughing thing, the mockery is the challenge.

Currently, in the world that we are, the most influential thing is social media.

So, if through social media, the celebrities or the, I mean the Bollywood people, cricketers or anybody. I would say anybody who's highly influential on social media.

If those people say that somebody who is small, don’t laugh at them, maybe they have limitations but their capabilities are 10 times more than the limitations.

For example, if Amitabh Bachhan someday says that I am tall and it doesn't matter so if someone is small that should also not matter.

Then it will create a lot of impact

There was this movie made Zero a couple of years back I think and Shahrukh did this movie.

So, I was honestly looking forward that Shahrukh being such a big personality, I was looking forward that he somewhere creates an impact and tells people that even if I am short or even if somebody with achondroplasia is having this limitation, there is so much that they can do.But somehow even that movie ended up in mockery.

That movie ended up into getting humiliated because he was short, getting rejected because he was short and see, there is a fair chance.

You know, I have seen this thing called Game of Thrones.

It has been one of the best series globally.

The strongest character, one of the strongest characters in The Game of Thrones is Tyrion Lannister, who is a dwarf and he is playing a phenomenal role and people acknowledge him for what he is.

So, there is a way where you can show people with dwarfism into a very highly potential one and you can show what they can do, apart from getting limited towards height.

If you see in dwarfism the problem is that our limbs are short.

So, hand is short and the leg is short, the upper body is as equal as the average size.

So, whenever we have to climb or whenever we have to, say, jump, that thing becomes a problem.

So maybe a ramp that we provide for a wheelchair guy, I wouldn't want a similar ramp, but maybe a platform or maybe a podium, that can uhh...If it is a bus or if it is a train, a podium in a handicap coach that will help us sit because whenever we sit in a normal chair most of the time our legs are hanging.

and because of that, it creates a lot of numbness.

It creates a lot of numbness in the hands also.

So maybe a little podium in whatever infrastructure that is made in or on a bus stop or a train or a bus or anywhere, even in offices when people hire an employee with dwarfism, just give them a podium for their leg to rest.

So that will provide them a lot of comfort.

I started this community in 2018 called The Little People of India, when I met Mark Dharmai.

Mark is my coach, my friend, my guide and he is an international para-athlete.

He also has dwarfism and he has been representing India in several sports and he’s got so many accolades

So, when I met him, I realised that there are people who can do good at sports, there are people who are doing good in other fields of life.

But there is nobody who has started a community and can talk about it.

Somewhere I thought let me put this into a community first.

So, when we started, we were 7 of us, today we are 400 plus people in a group of WhatsApp and Facebook etc.

Every time there is a, say a sport or an event, we try to participate in that and we distinguish ourselves, being a disabled yet having an ability, being an able yet being a limited person.

So, we show both sides of life.

That we are disabled but we have abilities.

We have abilities but there are limitations.

It is not about the disability one has; it's about how we treat you know, or how judgemental we are.

I think being judgemental is the mental disability that we all have in the society.

You know, I judge people based on their colour, based on their body size, based on the limitations that they have, based on their disability and those judgments make the person with a disability or whatever limitations they have, all the more limited or all the more demotivated.

The moment we become less judgemental, we have inclusion in the society, we believe. We say that we want equality but equality does not even stop at religion and caste.

Equality also means people with different sizes but the same value, people with different disabilities but same comfort.

So, I think equality should stand in every form for everybody and that being judgemental and demotivating somebody because of my thoughts is the thing that we should stop. We should literally stop that.

You know, my father had told me, he also had dwarfism and I think he experienced many more challenges in life than me, but.when I was very young, he had told me that Disha, the attitudes and mindsets of general public is your biggest disability

If you go according to what they think you are capable of then you will make yourself disabled, but if you believe in yourself and go by your own judgement of your skills then you will be successful.

Its the discriminatory attitude and mentality of the general public that will be your biggest barrier, if you rise above those negative perceptions and believe in yourself you will forge ahead.

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