Pioneer in disability sector Shri. Javed Abidi has passed away – great loss for entire disability sector

He was such a person who have strength to have a Minister chair an event and point out what he has not done in spite he has power to do so.

He was such a person who chose to work on untouched issues like policy and advocacy instead regular empowerment and welfare activities.

He was a person who promoted the philosophy of “Nothing about us without us”. He was one person who have dedicated life for improvement of lives across disabilities; not just a specific disability.

He was person who have led the movement to have Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 and The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

He was a person who has continued his hard work even when there was oppose from disability sector itself. He was a person who have been instrumental in sensitizing several corporates towards people with disabilities.

That was Shri. Javed Abidi who has passed away earlier today. This was untimely and shocking demise.

Shri. Javed Abidi (1965-2018)
Shri. Javed Abidi (1965-2018)

I know Shri. Javed Abidi for about 18 years. Have interacted with him through emails during my stint at The National Association for the Blind, Karnataka Branch and then later during my journey of accessibility.

I had a privilege to interact with him directly on multiple occasions on the subject of accessibility. He was such a person who never underestimate anyone and explore source of working together in everyone. I coordinate an informal group called Accessibility Enthusiasts in Bangalore. It was one day he invited us to discuss how we all can work together to spread awareness about accessibility.

In 2010, I have represented Yahoo! India along with Sandeep Datar to receive NCPEDP MphasiS Universal Design Award and in 2013, I was honoured with the same award at my personal capacity. Shri. Javed was instrumental in instituting many awards to recognise those who are doing wonderful work in the disability sector. Helen Keller Award and Universal Design Awards are a few among many other wonderful initiatives.

Srinivasu Chakravarthula receiving NCPEDP MphasiS Universal Design Award in 2013. Shri. Javed Abidi is seen in this picture.
Srinivasu Chakravarthula receiving NCPEDP MphasiS Universal Design Award in 2013. Shri. Javed Abidi is seen in this picture.

I was honoured when he said in one of our conversations where I wanted to recommend a company as potential accessibility service providers and have asked him what is the process to have them on-board, his response “Your word itself is enough”. That was how he trust people.

Perhaps this was his last interview; Thanks to Radio Udaan for having this done.

Disability sector has lost a true activist and replacement to Shri. Javed is close to impossible. We must continue his vision of “nothing about us without us” and his vision to have Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act gets enforced.

May the departed soul rest in peace. Miss you Shri. Javed.