The sound of silence
How do they respond to the world of voices
EXPERIENCE BY HAKEEM MUHAMMAD SARMAD
The atmosphere changed as we entered the premises. Silence! Even if someone wanted to talk, conversations were merely in whispers. As we were instructed to go around the place, enthusiastic, elated boys and girls came out of their rooms and made rapid, bizarre signs to each other, giving wide smiles. Soon we started visiting class-rooms. There, in any particular class room the students were not of the same age group and in the same class room, being taught were small girls together with adolescent boys. Throughout the institution there was an aura of bliss. The boys and girls naïvely waving at us, passing us wide smiles. This was December and I along with the Interact Club of my school was visiting the Deaf and Dumb School in Delhi. We took along small gifts, but these children weren’t interested in any of them. What the needed was our attention, affection and our care.
These children don't know the world of sounds. They lead muted lives and their ears and mouths are ever silent. For them Speech does not exist. Noise and music are the same for them, rather, nothing to them. But just that they cannot speak, doesn’t mean that they are not like us, not intelligent. They sure are intelligent. Many of them have brilliant skills. We were taken to their Arts and Crafts room and when we saw their paintings and art-works, we dropped our jaws in awe. One I remember precisely: it was a crafted image of Lord Ganesha from golden, chocolate foil paper. Indeed, it was fantastic. All paintings were a fine and precise brushwork with delicate strokes. Moving on, we visited each and every class room. The students were elated and spirits uplifted, as we entered the class-rooms. They started gesturing and makings signs with their hands but in vain did our minds perceive the meanings. We wanted to talk to them but alas, we couldn’t! They didn’t know to speak and we didn’t know the sign language. However, we worked a way out: we wrote whatever we wanted to say or ask on the blackboard. They replied accordingly either conveying with nods or through hand-movements or writing back on the board. We talked about sports, their likes and dislikes and some random stuff. Some of them turned out to be fabulous dancers, dancing with firm confidence and their bodies moving with streaming fluidity and their movements flawless. We could just stand there and applaud; speechless, as if we were among those seated!
Frequenting the class-rooms, we talked to their teachers and they told us about the students. They seemed to know each and every student of their class very deeply and thoroughly and tried to tell us too explicitly about some of their students. They told us about their teaching methods and what challenges they faced while teaching. Their teachers work and serve the children with utmost dedication. They called them “our children”. The teachers’ hearts are brimmed with care and love for the children and have great deal of concern for each individual student. As we conversed with their teachers, they told us that the parents of these children look down at them with disdain. The teachers said that the parents are non-cooperative toward the development of these children. Their other children are provided with facilities like private tuitions and hobby-classes, but these – serving them equally just like other children born from the same wombs isn’t considered necessary. Do their parents regret having them born? If this is their attitude toward the blessings of Almighty then such fathers don’t deserve to be called as fathers; such mothers don’t have the right to even conceive. Such pity that their own parents are indifferent towards them! Who else is expected to understand them?
These hapless souls demand our care. Let's listen to their silent voices.
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Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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