There are according to varying estimates, between 6-15 million people who are deaf in India add to this the hard of hearing figure and you have a rather large total of 25 or more million people who are affected by hearing impairment.
In the vernacular the deaf are referred to as “mute” rather than “deaf” since the general populace does not even realize that they cannot her. Though there are words for deafness, they are by and large referred to as “mute”.
The general impression still is that the deaf are a curse of God upon their parents and a burden on society. This is a most unfortunate state of affairs and yet it is slowly changing for the better. The real issue in India is the woeful inadequacy of facilities of any type for the deaf.
India has some of the oldest schools for the deaf in South Asian region, and yet the bulk of deaf students are functionally illiterate. Obsolete training methodology and teaching systems propagate the state of affairs.
Recently a few organizations have been working towards equal opportunity and rights for disabled persons. This has brought about a change in the paradigm and now deaf people feel that at least the coming generation of deaf children will have things better.
The Govt. in India has recently signed and ratified the UN Convention on Rights of People with Disability. This shows the desire to conform to international norms and appear progressive. It is a very positive move and seen by all as a wonderful step in the right direction. However, despite good intentions, the lack of services and facilities continues to plague the Indian Deaf community.
A few stalwart NGO’s have been working to rectify the situation and ameliorate the conditions under which deaf persons are living. The Deaf Way is one of these.
download :Deafness in India (Powerpoint)