My Musings On India’s 72nd Republic Day

Republic Day has been celebrated every year in India on January 26, since 1950 to honour the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect. India was a colony of the British for over 200 years and became independent from the rule of the British Raj following the Indian independence movement.

 

(The Hindustan Times)

 

Another article cited:

 

Republic Day is celebrated every year in India on January 26 to commemorate the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect, in the year 1950, and the country became a republic.

 

(The Indian Express)

 

Reading this made me feel warm and secure. On a larger scale we achieved freedom and commemorate this important date for our country every year.

 

On a different level, when will this change reflect in our thinking about autism?

 

Having spent my youth and middle age with my son and many autistic individuals, I think it’s high time to change our thought process and create a paradigm shift around autism.

 

I look forward to the day when our children are celebrated instead of being looked down upon.

 

I imagine…

 

When the diagnosis is pronounced, parents are encouraged.
You are privileged to look after a child who may not conform to norms.
S/he may be different but is not less in any way.
You’re not alone. You have a host of people who will support you through this journey.
Your journey will not be easy.
But when you look back, you will be thankful to this amazing human being who entered your life.

 

pexels-photo-1416736

 

 

Dear Fellow Parent: Your autistic child is not somebody who you want to exchange for any other individual.
S/he is a living, breathing, beautiful being- someone who needs to be nurtured and cherished.

 

I can almost hear you saying, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about, Kamini. Don’t you know how difficult it is for me?’

 

I know what you’re talking about.
I hear you. I’ve been there. I still am on some days.
I wish you love and support on those difficult days.
A shoulder to cry on, a spouse/ partner to talk to, specialists to advise you correctly and a strong you to bail yourself out of the most difficult situations.

 

I respect you for your efforts. And more than anything else, I respect your child.
Because he/she makes the effort to live each day in a world that is not easy for him/her to navigate.

 

It’s not easy. I know.

 

Just as India became independent from the British rule, ‘autism’ should be freed from connotations of ‘less and imperfect.’

 

Just as our constitution was written 72 years ago, by the respected Dr. B.R Ambedkar, maybe a constitution for autistic individuals should also be drafted.

 

It would best be designed by autistic individuals, for autistic individuals and addressed to the autistic population.

 

My message to mothers on this Republic Day

 

“Autism-…-offers-a-chance-for-us-to-glimpse-an-awe-filled-vision-of-the-world-that-might-otherwise-pass-us-by.”.-2

 

Here’s a ‘reminder’ message to autistic individuals.

 

“Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different . . . We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that might give us quiet pleasure.”

 

– Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump

 

I await that beautiful day, when this Constitution gets written.

Kamini Lakhani

Kamini Lakhani is the founder and director of SAI Connections. She has been providing services in the field of autism for more than 25 years and is the authorized director of Professional Training for RDI in India and the Middle East. She is also the mother of a young adult with autism.

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