I SIT FOR MY CAUSE
I was born on 1st September 1987 – blue, fractured and bleeding. My parents weren’t really sure why so they piled a list of doctors to see and judge me. It took a while (including a visit to a doctor who said I’d live the ‘life of a wooden doll’, not sure what that meant) before I was finally diagnosed with a disability called arthrogryposis which basically meant that the muscles in my arms and legs were underdeveloped and would stay that way through life.
However, my parents wanted to give me a normal life. That meant ordinary school, normal exams and boring teachers. I topped the country in Business Studies in class twelfth, I guess it helped that I was studying when my classmates were playing Cricket. I went on to attend St. Stephen’s College, Delhi School of Economics and the Indian School of Business.
I decided to sit up for my rights in 2012, starting the Nipman Foundation that works in the area of health and advocacy for Persons with Disabilities where I serve as CEO. I am a visiting Research Fellow at World Enabled, a Pineda Foundation initiative. I am also a member of the CII National Committee on Special Abilities that promotes inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the corporate sector. Girls, I’m quite handsome – at least Umoja Travels, India’s first accessible travel company thinks so as they’ve chosen me as their brand ambassador. I’m on the board of Directors at Vishwas, a non-profit working on disability and development. I also get a chance to wear my business suit for Board Meetings of of Nipman Fastener Industries – I’m an Executive Director at a leading automotive fastener manufacturing company in India.
I have worked with Zomato to add wheelchair access filters to their restaurant listings. My Foundation has been an access partner at the NH7 Weekender, the Jaipur Literature Festival and the Serendipity Arts Festival. I took the Delhi Government to Court getting the Disabled exempted from the Odd-Even car rule. Since August 2016 I have been advising the NITI Aayog’s (formerly the Indian Planning Commission) on various issues related to disability. I have worked with the CISF to ease security procedures for Persons with Disabilities at airports. I am the Curator of the Nipman Foundation Microsoft Equal Opportunity Awards that recognise institutions employing PWDs and a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum.
I am the founder of ‘Wheels for Life’ (www.wheelsforlife.in) - a crowdsourcing platform connecting those who need wheelchairs to donors who can financially contribute for them
I love tweeting, drinking tea and sipping wine. When not drunk, I write regularly on Disability and other issues. My writing has appeared on Scroll.in, the Indian Express, NDTV Blog etc. I also authored a comic titled ‘No red card for the disabled’.
I haven’t even started mentioning my wonderful parents, cool brother, dear friends and censored parts of my bio. Read my articles, follow me on twitter (@nipunmalhotra) or attend my next talk to know more