Around 20 differently abled writers showcased their creations in a first-time attempt

At first glance, the poems, essays and inspirational texts displayed at Jamal Mohamed College in the city on Friday, looked like any other book exhibition. But a closer look showed it was like none other – the authors were present at the stalls and most of them were propped up on clutches.

Around 20 differently abled writers showcased their creations in a first-time attempt in the State to acknowledge and unite writers with disabilities from various parts of the State. Organised by District Differently Abled Welfare Office and Poornodhaya Trust, the event saw 19 of 40 invited writers from Salem, Nilgiris, Madurai and Puducherry make their presence. Rain in certain districts made travel difficult for some invitees, said Kalaiarasi, director, Poornodhaya.

The recognition by a government agency and an NGO was a pat on the back for differently abled writers, said Ekalaivan, who has more than 12 books to his credit. The writer who came to the dais supported by callipers said many talented writers stopped after publishing two books due to economic constraints. Appealing for a better platform to express their creativity, he said the State government can give precedence to books written by differently abled writers while making purchases for district libraries.

“Those who move forward by supporting themselves on their hands have as many scars on their hands as on anyone who walks barefoot. But it is those hands that hold a pen to create poems and essays. The joy they experience when a letter of acceptance arrives from any publication cannot be rivalled,” he said. It is only with government support in releasing books that the progressive thoughts of persons with disabilities can reach the public, he added. Presently there are no awards for differently abled under the creative writing category by the State government, he said appealing the State to recognise works in Tamil by persons with disabilities.

According to R.Shyamala, district differently abled welfare officer, the event was the first platform to accord recognition to writers from various districts. An association would be formed soon and a public exhibition of their works is likely in the near future.

Honouring each of the writers with a memento, K.Balamurugan, Regional Passport Officer, spoke of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking as a living example of overcoming the odds. Ezhilan, a writer and director of a spoken English centre in Salem said Hawking was an inspiration to all persons with disabilities. School and college libraries could take the initial step in stocking books by differently abled writers as a gesture of endorsing their creativity and inspiring youth, said R.Murugesan, Governor, Lions District 324 A2, presiding over the event.

A web portal to showcase books of various differently abled writers can give reading public better access to their works, he suggested. Earlier, the book exhibition was inaugurated by R.Kadhar Mohideen, principal, Jamal Mohamed College. Helping Hearts Club of the college coordinated the event.