SAMBHAVANA, literally meaning possibility, was formed in 2001. The immediate context of its formation was provided by the discriminatory attitude of Delhi University and its affiliate colleges, when they refused to appoint meritorious disabled candidates on teaching posts merely on pretext of their physical disabilities. Since then, Sambhavana has been involved in a host of activities; and our struggle is no longer restricted to Delhi University alone, instead, we have extended it at the national level. We have been involved in the advocacy of the rights of persons with disabilities. We have focused on education, employment, accessibility, rehabilitation, awareness building programs, social inclusion of disabled in all walks of life, and bringing the disability perspective in the mainstream.

1. Employment of Disabled in Delhi University: a Classic Example 

Sambhavana’s long struggle for the rights of disabled commenced from Delhi University. The latter has passed a regulation in 1994 announcing 3 % reservation in all appointments for physically challenged persons. Subsequently, in 1996 the parliament also enacted for the same in the Persons with Disabilities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation Act (PWD Act). Even the high court of Delhi had passed a judgment in favor of the employment of persons with disabilities at Delhi University in 2001. However, all these measures failed to bring any change and the discrimination against disabled continued. 

We then started organizing massive dharnas (demonstrations) to build pressure on university authorities, which materialized into success, and three disableds were appointed as lecturers. This gave us hope and we resolved to launch bigger battles.

With the intervention of Delhi High court in 2007, we could successfully pressurize Delhi University and its various colleges to give persons with disabilities their rightful share in the teaching posts. As a result, more than 150 physically challenged persons have been appointed on teaching posts at Delhi University and its affiliate colleges. The matter is still before the court. 

This time, we did not limit our key demand to 3 percent reservation, instead we prayed for the implementation of hundred-point roster. After the perusal of extremely haphazard and pathetic condition, the hon’ble High Court stayed all appointments in DU and its affiliate colleges until the disability reservation is filled-up and hundred-point roster is maintained by all concerned parties. It became a classic case, because nothing which could match this stand had ever happened in the history of judicial struggles for the rights of persons with disabilities in India. Owing to this pressure, the University has framed roster to implement 3 % PH reservation on teaching posts In a scientific manner. Incidentally, this move has benefited not only the disableds, but also the other marginalized groups in the University. Now we have taken the similar stand on the non-teaching posts; and we hope to win this battle as well in the near future.

2. Delegation to Prime Minister

In February 2005, we met Indian prime minister; and we could convince him to constitute a group of ministers, and a group of secretaries to take care of matters related to disability. The outcome of our efforts has appeared as the national policy for persons with disabilities. Another significant achievement of this delegation has been that following our recommendation a disability cell was constituted within Planning Commission.

3. Delegation to the Minister of social justice and empowerment

In July 2007 we approached Minister of social justice and empowerment where we raised miscellaneous issues, such as Employment; discrimination in Banking; demand for Social Security, such as Insurance, medical facilities, Housing,  uniform Disability Certificates; reservation in promotion and Computer Aid etc. Above all, the honorable minister has agreed to conduct a special drive to recruit persons with visual impairment and blindness in grade C and D in central government offices. The Government had also agreed to fulfill the backlog in all grades by 2008. It is a different matter that huge backlog still exists in almost all the Departments and ministries.

4. Issues of Accessibility, Friendly Work-Environment and Inclusive Education: SAMBHAVANA's Struggle with Delhi Government

We have been impressing upon the Directorate of Education to make its schools accessible for physically challenged in order to achieve the goal of inclusive education. We tried to bring to notice of the Directorate of education the fact that in the home exams, visually impaired students were not given the alternative questions for the questions based on map or diagram. Now they have rectified the lacunae. 

We had filed and won a case against Directorate of Education (Delhi) and a blind school for violating the requirement of special training in the appointment of teachers. 

Similarly, as a result of our successful efforts, The directorate of education (Delhi) had also made necessary corrections in their data base so that the visually handicapped employees do not face certain problems, for instance, their names being picked up for election duty; or they are transferred to inconvenient distant locations etc. 

Following are repeated representations and media campaign, the Delhi government had issued a circular to make all its hospitals and health centers accessible for persons with disabilities.

5. Delegation to UGC Chairman

A delegation of Sambhavana met the Chairman of University Grant Commission (UGC) on 10th June 2010. We discussed various issues and submitted a representation, which focused on many issues including:—

(A) The need to further increase financial assistance to visually impaired teachers. 

(B) Special funding for physically disabled students or faculty undertaking research. 

(C) Preference for disabled employees in the nomination for the Coordinatorship of Enabling Units. 

(D) Enforcing the mandatory provision for all colleges and universities to maintain 100 points roster for both teaching and non-teaching posts. 

(E) Need to create a pool of eligible physically challenged candidates for both teaching as well as non-teaching posts by the UGC. 

(F) Separate Liaison Officers for disabled in all universities. 

(G) Disability Observer in the interviews. 

(H) In our conversation, we also shared with the Chairman the need to institute a separate fellowship for disabled as the UGC has already started for some other marginalized groups.

6. Legal Battle with Indian Railways 

We have filed a case against the Indian Railways for their discriminatory denial of concessional e-tickets to physically challenged customers, particularly when the same is offered to some other groups of passengers. The case is still going on in the court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Government of India, New Delhi.

7. Suit Against DDA

We are fighting a case presently against Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in Delhi High Court, where we have not only complaint about the non-compliance of reservation rules, we have also asked for preferential allotment of flats, shops and land as mendated by section 43 of PWD Act (1995).

8. Registered the Concerns of Disabled with the UP Chief Minister

We had submitted a representation to The UP Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati, underlining a number of difficulties faced by the disabled persons in that state. It included issues like Employment, education, health and Housing. The announcements made by UP Chief Minister in early 2009 may be seen in the light of this representation of Sambhavana. 

9. Conferences

We had organized a symposium on the ‘Rights of Persons with Disability: Role of Media, Law and Education’, on 8th of December, 2007 in Delhi University. Our second conference was also held in Delhi University in December 2009, which focused on the ‘Disabled and the Right to Education: Stakeholders, State and Civil Society’. Number of leading experts participated in these conferences. These may be treated quite successful as these initiated good debate in the house; and received media coverage as well. We are planning to publish the proceedings of these conferences soon.

10. Reading Circle

We have been very successfully organizing a disability-reading circle. This group is open for any willing participant to discuss important scholarly works or to participate in seminars. 

11. Music Concert

SAMBHAVANA had organized a SITAR and DILRUBA concert of SHRI BALUJI SHRIVASTAVA, who is a visually challenged, Internationally Acclaimed, UK based Indian classical musician of Seni Gharana. He was accompanied by no other than Ustad Faiyaz Khan and his son Imran on Tabla. The concert was held on 11th April, 2009 at Tagore Hall, Arts Faculty, (North Campus), Delhi University.

12. Mode of Work

SAMBHAVANA is purely a voluntary organization having no employee on our pay-roll. We generally meet at weekends (and for shorter durations in the weekdays as well) for doing all planning and office-work. Otherwise, we carry out various tasks through internet and telephonic communication almost on daily basis. 

All the office-tasks like correspondence, record-keeping and other secretarial work etc are performed by the governing body members themselves: most of them are persons with disabilities. Nevertheless, we have always received crucial support and assistance of our able-bodied friends who wish to contribute their precious time in the struggle for rights of their physically challenged friends. Due to non-availability of grants from the government or any other agency, we have so far not appointed paid employees. Yet, it is the genuine approach and commitment of our friends and colleagues, because of which, we have achieved many successes at various fronts despite our limited resources.

13. Secretariat

Name

Designation

Phone

Mail

Nikhil Jain

President

9818021880

 

Dayal Singh Pawar

Vice President

9868940607

 

Pratap Singh Bist

General Secretary

9818685889

 

Vikas Gupta

Joint Secretary

9818193875

 

Lokesh Gupta

Treasurer

9968480834

 

Naresh Kumar

Executive Member

9999308530

 

Santosh

Executive Member

9810818337

 

Yogesh Chaurasiya

Executive Member

9868485583

 

Pankaj Sinha

Legal Advisor

9910247816

 

Office: 350, Pocket 5, Sector 2, Rohini,

Delhi, 110085

Phone: 91-11-27517615

Website: www.sambhavana.org