This is a new scheme launched by the government of Maharashtra. In a country where a person with disabilities cannot even cross a road without bumping into extremely elevated footpaths (no don’t start with even the able-bodied cannot, because they can), marriage for a person with disability is something like an average citizen of India catching up with the living standards of America all of a sudden.
I think it is a good move although I am sure many NGOs and persons closely working with people with disabilities are going to oppose it, and many on valid grounds. Many will also term it as dowry by the government especially in the case of female persons with disability. There are always two sides of a coin, and sometimes more than two.
Being a person with 75% physical disability (the criteria in Maharashtra is 40%, certified) and having had many friends with various disabilities I fully understand how important the idea of marriage is.
Marriage is not as big a deal as it is made out to be by our society. I am happily married and am not saying that I regret it, but it is certainly not a cake walk. It comes with full-blown responsibilities and struggles. Of course now that I’m married and have a loving family I wouldn’t trade my present status with anything else. But, whenever I get a chance I advise my friends (who couldn’t get married and are desperate to get married) that enjoy life as it is, you are not missing much. It is a typical “the grass is greener on the other side” feeling.
Having said that, the institution of marriage is as important as any other institution of the society and I strongly believe that it is one of the biggest steps towards integration. A marriage gives you your own family, your own clan and you become a separate individual, away from your parents and siblings. To be frank, eventually all parents want to be left alone and all siblings end up having their own families and persons with disabilities who live with them mostly live on the fringes. Of course there are exceptions.
Marriage is also a big motivating factor. Many people who simply go on living their lives all of a sudden want to have purposeful careers after getting married because they need money for their family. I know a few individuals (persons were disabilities) who are just wasting away their lives because they don’t have families to take care of, nobody is counting on them.
Monetary incentives like these are an encouraging step. I know, there are great chances of people being exploited just to get money but this happens with every sort of incentive. Pros and cons are always there. I agree Rs. 50,000 is not a big amount but for many sections it can make a big difference. Many people don’t want to marry persons were disabilities (especially if they are male persons were disabilities) because they think they won’t be able to support their family financially so this money can give a head start. It will definitely cater to the lower strata but it is the beginning of a realization. In developed countries governments provide finance for independent living and they also pay employers for creating accessible workplaces. It is a step towards a similar mindset.
But what sort of marriage would it be if it is done for monetary benefits? Tell me how many marriages are really based on human feelings? An average individual marries for money, social security and looks. The same can be applied here too.
What do you think?