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Make a difference. Be visible - Guest column by Jasmina Khanna

November 5, 2018

In our weekly guest column, we feature Jasmina Khanna, who is a Senior Systems Engineer with Atos Syntel. .

On 30 September 2018 I appeared for an exam. I would like to share an experience rather an observation of how coming out in the society and meeting with people can make a difference.

Before I share my experience I would like to tell you what the exam was about. I practice a form of Japanese Buddhism called Nichiren Buddhism. It is an amazing philosophy based on the Mahayana teachings of the 13th century Japanese Buddhist priest, Nichiren Diashonin. This practice is carried forward in today's times by an organisation called Soka Gakai International and is spread across 192 countries with a mission of praying for happiness and peace for oneself and others. For more details on the philosophy please refer to https://www.sgi.org.

I have been into this practice for almost four years now. They conduct exams every year and these are voluntary for members of Soka Gakai International. This was the third time I gave the exam. They have exams of different levels depending on the growth and the understanding of the philosophy of an individual in faith.

Since I do not have control over my body movements due to cerebral palsy, I am not able to hold a pen and write. All through my life I have been given a writer to write my exams, right from school level to post graduation or any professional exam and me dictating the answers. Same was the case when I started giving exam for the Buddhist philosophy.

In the first year when I gave my exam, not many were aware of the concept of a writer writing an exam for others. That year I was the only one who was appearing for the with the help of a writer. The second year when I gave the exam, there was a senior citizen who was giving the exam with help of a writer. But this year was the most amazing experience. My heart was filled with joy. A visually impaired woman, a girl with Down syndromes, a senior citizen and I, with a physical disability, was among those who took the exam with the help of a writer.

My whole point is that sensitization is important. People with disabilities must come out and make the so-called normal realise how they can help people with disabilities to overcome their limitations by a small gesture of assistance. Being visible to the world can make the difference.

To read Jamina's blogs, visit https://jastalkingaloudcom.wordpress.com.

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