Two incidents; one will make you feel proud and the other will leave you aghast !!

Time and again we come across incidents which disgust us, make us angry and outrageous about the discrimination that still happens at the hands of some people, who are neither sensitive nor care for those, who without any fault of theirs have to go through a difficult life anyway.
Yesterday, my son brought home a piece of paper asking me to read it. I knew it would be something on “Diversity & Discrimination”, a topic they are studying these days, but what I read made me realize that no matter how much we talk about equality and rights, one section of the society just doesn’t get it. Those who feel they are inevitable and anybody, who doesn’t look like them, should be treated differently. Reading about this incident I also happened to recall something that happened last year and made quite a few headlines.
 I want to share both of these incidents with you today. Both involved discrimination at a public place, precisely in the airplane. In one, somebody stood up and took the matter in his hands, setting an example. In the other, victim had to go to the court and ask for justice and is still fighting for it.
Let’s read…


This happened on TAM airlines… ( I couldn’t find when exactly did it happen, but my guess is, not in recent past also some sources say this never happened. Well, I leave that up to you to decide)
A 50-something year old white woman arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man.Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.
What’s the problem, mam?” the hostess asked her
“Can’t you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t sit here next to someone from a  repugnant group. You have to change my seat”
– “Please, calm down, mam” – said the hostess
“Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I’m still going to check if we have any.”
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
“Madam, as I told you, there isn’t any empty seat in economy class. But I spoke to the captain and he informed me that there aren’t any empty seats in business class too. We only have seats in the first class.”
And before the woman said anything, the hostess continued
“Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class.
However, given the circumstances, the captain thinks that it would be a scandalous to make a passenger sit next to someone so obnoxious.”
And turning to the black man, the hostess said:
“Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your handbag, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…”
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some standing on their feet

Now before you start getting happy and elated at the triumph of humanity, I would like you to read about another incident which happened last year at one of the Indian airlines. And before you start, let me tell you that this article would leave you angry and aghast..!!
This happened in February last year when an airline Spice Jet, forced 41 year old Jeeja ghosh to get off the airplane after issuing her a boarding pass. Her fault…” she had cerebral palsy and was flying on her own.
Ghosh is an activist and director of advocacy and disability studies at the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy. She was to fly to Goa for an international conference to present a paper on “Inclusion and Empowerment of People with disability,” ironical isn’t it?
Shortly after her boarding the aircraft, she was asked to get off.
I was hysterical as the flight officials did not bother to explain why they had stopped me from taking the flight, “She told reporters later. Jeeja is a frequent flyer. Born with CP never prevented her from traveling in the past and except for a little assistance she doesn’t need much.
Jeeja Ghosh said that the captain of the SpiceJet flight had refused to travel with her on board because she did not carry the “fit to fly certificate”. It made her feel, humiliated and distraught.
 “Jeeja Ghosh has experienced similar experience before. In 2008, she was forced to undergo a medical examination before being allowed to board an Indigo flight from New Delhi to Kolkata,” the petitioner said and sought an investigation into the incident.
Two different stories, two victims but the first one had somebody standing for his rights
 Whereas in the second incident, Jeeja had to fight herself, take it to the court. She will win, we know, otherwise this entire furor will be futile. 

On this note, I would like you to pledge that if something like this happens in our presence we will make sure that we stand up and show that we care, not just because we have a child with special needs but because we want to make this world a better place to live in.