In the face of hardships, we have two choices. To either give up and let the negativities grow or to get up and fight. Back in 1966, when doctors told Mithu Aloor that her one-year old daughter, who was diagnosed with acute cerebral palsy, had only 72 hours to live, she did not lose hope so easily. It was the determination of this lady that gave us Malini Chib, a disability rights activist, whose much appreciated book ‘One Little Finger’ was made into the movie, Margarita with a straw, starring Kalki Kolechin.
Today, 50-year-old Malini Chib is an inspiration for everyone who thinks that a person’s disability comes in the way of achieving big things in life.
Due to lack of oxygen during birth, Malini was diagnosed with an acute cerebral palsy. It’s a neurological condition which causes impairment of movement and speech. But a person’s intellect and the ability to reason remain unaffected. Because India is not a disabled-friendly country, Malini’s parents flew her to England, where she was admitted to one of the best special needs schools. Her mother also took up a training programme in special education from London University.
Today, Malini Chib holds 2 Masters degrees from London, one in Gender Studies, and the other in Library Sciences and Information Management. She has also set up the ADAPT Rights Group (ARG), an organisation that fights for the inclusion of the differently-abled.
For Malini, it’s difficult to communicate verbally. She uses a lightwriter, a device which helps people with speech loss to communicate. She wrote her autobiography on a lightwriter by using just one finger that she could move.
‘One Little Finger’ is an emotional and inspiring account of a girl with physical disability, whose intellect and emotional abilities are intact, and but showcases her struggles to find her identity.
Her book was widely appreciated and throws light on the fact that a person’s physical disability does not make him or her any less capable of feeling normal human emotions. In her books, she draws attention towards the society’s lack of will to include people with special needs, into the mainstream. As one of the excerpts from her book reads:
“I have had a hard time accepting that I am trapped in a rejected body. A body that is not sexually attractive. Like most women, sometimes I craved to be in the arms of a man. Most men look at me as asexual.”
Malini has come a long way, fighting for her individuality and the prejudices of society. As an academic, a lecturer, a writer and a researcher, she conducts empowerment sessions, making people and the government sensitive towards the needs of the differently-abled.