100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Latest National news:
Bungendore divided over high school as NSW govt takes ownership of land
Bungendore High School is a step closer to reality, but residents are split on the location the NSW government has…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Can't sow, can't grow: 'Relentless' rain hurting Hunter farmers
Matthew Dennis runs Nebo farm in East Maitland and said he is down a minimum of 70 per cent in…
Zero evidence to back Clive Palmer’s claim of staff taking ballots home, AEC says
United Australia party prepares legal challenge in one seat after candidate allegedly follows and records electoral officers
'Our fair share': ACT to push Labor for light rail support
ACT Labor is banking on a quicker Commonwealth Park to Woden rollout under federal Labor.
‘Work in progress’: Australia’s new parliament the most diverse yet
Diversity advocates welcome new additions but say there is still a long way to go before parliament reflects Australian society
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Letters: OK, Mr Albanese - let's see what you've got
Newcastle Herald readers have their say
When Australians woke up to Scott Morrison but didn’t simply move the goalposts – they dragged them off the paddock
Voters wanted more action on climate change, having seen first hand the impact of fire, drought, flood and ocean surges…

Railways to confine term Divyangjan to Hindi communications

By S. Vijay Kumar

The Ministry of Railways will confine the usage of Divyangjan to Hindi and replace the term with ‘Persons with disabilities’ in English communications. On the suggestion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the word Viklang was replaced with Divyaang (divine body) to refer to persons with disabilities in 2016.

After the change in nomenclature, people with disabilities were referred to as Divyangjan, particularly by the Ministry of Railways in all its communications, signage, announcements etc. Even the ticket reservation portal of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) introduced Divyaang as the option to avail rail travel concession for differently abled passengers.

Raising it in the Lok Sabha, Member of Parliament D.N.V Senthil Kumar of Dharmapuri constituency in Tamil Nadu called for replacing Divyangjan with an English reference since it was not understood by many rail users, particularly in southern India.

“Being an MP even I don’t know what it means…when everything is in English [in the IRCTC’s reservation portal] why have this terminology, which I am told is a Hindi word derived from Sanskrit. It would make it difficult for a common man who doesn’t know Hindi to understand the meaning and avail the benefits extended to differently abled passengers,” Dr. Senthil Kumar told The Hindu.

Department’s advisory

After he raised the issue, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, wrote to the Ministry of Railways asking them to use the term ‘Person with disability’ in English and Divyangjan in Hindi in their portal and communications/signage/announcements while addressing persons with disabilities. The IRCTC was also told to make appropriate changes in their reservation system.

The note said India was a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Central government enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, in line with the convention. The term ‘persons with disabilities’ was used in the English text of the Act while in Hindi it was mentioned as Divyangjan.

Acting on the advisory, the Railway Board on May 7, 2022, issued instructions to General Managers of all Zonal Railways to ensure implementation of the change in terms.

In 2019, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had marked the word Divyangjan as controversial and similar to derogatory terminologies such as ‘mentally ill’ or ‘lunatic.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.