Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: A coffee table book “Inspire…Empower” that chronicles the amazing stories of success, fortitude and victory against all odds scripted by persons with disabilities was released by Odisha Minister for Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Ashok Chandra Panda on September 6.
Brought out by the office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (SPCD), the coffee table book contains inspiring accounts of 18 persons with disabilities who possess unique skills, talents and capabilities. Besides, it also features the story of Odisha’s visually challenged women cricket team.
“The Odisha government’s policy relating to all round development of the persons with disabilities is exemplary and it is heartening to see that they are setting milestones in different fields like culture, sports, social service, art and craft, and science and technology,” Panda said, while unveiling the book.
State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD), Sulochana Das, who was present on the occasion, said that the successful individuals featured in the book have not let their disabilities come in their way to achieve different feats in their lives. “Who can be a better symbol of such achievers than ace shuttler Pramod Bhagat, who has made the country proud by winning the gold medal in the recently concluded Tokyo Paralympics 2020?” she said.
Das added that the SPCD had made a humble attempt to recognise these special individuals by highlighting their achievements through photographs and text in the coffee table book.
Apart from Bhagat, who is also an Arjuna Awardee, the coffee table book features brothers Sriharsa Sukla and Sriharsa Sukla (painting), and Prachurya Kumar Pradhan and Soundarya Kumar Pradhan (chess), V Ramesh Rao and Rakkhal Kumar Sethy (wheelchair fencing), Rashmi Rekha Sahu (Odissi dance), Tapaswini Das (OFS officer), Brajaraj Das (topper student), Sabita Rana (ASHA), Jayanti Behera (para-athletics), Pankaj Bhue and Sukharam Majhi (cricket), Srinivas Rao and Dilip Sahu (singer), Abhijit Kundu (corporate executive), and Niranjan Behera (disability rights activist).
According to the Commissioner, the success of differently-abled persons signifies the gradual improvement in their facilitation at various levels of governance in Odisha. A few years ago, no one thought of a para-sportsperson being bestowed upon the coveted Arjuna Award and winning the gold in Paralympics, or a visually challenged person from the State addressing Parliament on disability issues. But it is a reality now, she added.
The coffee table book is also an attempt to encourage talented persons in the disability sector to put in extra efforts to achieve their goals in life, Das said, hoping that it would not only encourage the achievers featured in it but also motivate many other persons with disabilities to excel in life.