UPSC 2014 topper, Ira Singhal, took to social media to call out the reality of cyber bullying, trolling, and name-calling.

She shared screenshots of verbal abuses, targeted at people with disabilities, to vocalise the need for inclusive schools in India.

Happy Hindi

She posted

For anyone who thinks people with disabilities don’t have to face anything, as the world is nice and kind – just sharing someone’s comments from my Instagram account. A face of cyber-bullying. Unfortunately someone who cannot be bullied is being attempted to be bullied. And this is probably a person who wants to be a Civil Servant. This is why we need inclusive schools and this is why we need our education system to focus on producing better human beings more than anything else.

She attached screenshots of an instance where someone from verbally abused her on Instagram.

In an update on the post, Ira mentioned that her point is not to ‘punish’ someone but to question the mentality of people who deem it okay to try and pull down someone like this.

Schools, being one of the major ideological apparatus that influence our thinking, play a prominent role in establishing what the kids will accept as ‘normal’. When all that the kids see is the mainstream narrative, with no inclusion of ‘marginalities’ then this solidifies their limits of acceptance. 

Plus, most of the schools are not inclusive. From the genders that are not binary, to people with disabilities- these kids are excluded. 

Getting punished doesn’t change your mentality. He will not suddenly become a great person. All that will happen is that our anger gets satisfied. What really needs to be done, is to help people change their mentality and attitude towards disabilities and abilities. 
Sight Savers India

Secondly, Ira added that the connotation associated with the word was wrong, NOT the word in itself.

This is so important.

If we think he is wrong because that word is bad, then we need to make that word become ok. Let us realise that being disabled – andha, behra, kubda, etc are not bad things. These words are bad if we think being that way is bad.

In another interview, she said:

If a person is blind, he is blind. But making blindness an abuse by saying that being blind is wrong, is incorrect. The intent to cause hurt using these words is incorrect.

We need to reclaim words such as ‘andha, behra, kubda‘ and dis-associate the derogatory meaning that is insinuated with them.  

Times Of India

And last but not the least, cyber-bullying culture needs to stop. In 2019, we have no time and zero tolerance for someone spewing venom on social media.

Ira Singhal first sat for her UPSC in 2010, securing 815th position. However, she was denied a posting due to her disability. Refusing to give up, she re-appeared, to top the thing and landed a posting in Hyderabad.

Thank you, Ira Singhal for calling out this evil by-product of social media and also pointing out concrete measures to curb bullying of people with disabilities. 

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