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Signs of changing times

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Television viewers in India got a taste of a different kind of programming recently in ‘Dus Ka Dum’ and ‘C.I.D.’, two popular shows on Sony Entertainment Television. While ‘Dus Ka Dum’, a game show hosted by Bollywood star Salman Khan had youth with hearing impairment as guests on the show, C.I.D.’s storyline had a hearing impaired girl who communicates to the investigators in Sign Language about a crime.

In ‘Dus Ka Dum’, there was a Sign Language interpreter for signing the questions. The guests were from D.E.E.D.S., an acronym for Development, Education, Empowerment of the Disadvantaged in Society, an organisation that works for hearing impaired people. Khan had earlier endorsed their short film and had organised a sale of his paintings, the proceeds of which went to D.E.E.D.S.

According to D.E.E.D.S., among the different disabilities, the problems of people with hearing impairment are the most neglected. There are over 1.2 million N.G.O.s in India working in diverse fields but unfortunately not even 0.1 per cent of these support the cause of people with hearing impairment. Perhaps this is because hearing impairment is a disability that is not immediately discernible, feels DEEDS.

Both the shows helped highlight the importance of Sign Language, which unfortunately is not a recognised language in India, a long standing demand of people with hearing impairment.