Talent and ability push aside disability at SBP Museum

Published December 3, 2022
Blind student of Ida Rieu Anamta provides vocals to Iqbal’s poetry as fellow student Sharifuddin plays the flute with their music teacher Sohail Sahab at the electric organ.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Blind student of Ida Rieu Anamta provides vocals to Iqbal’s poetry as fellow student Sharifuddin plays the flute with their music teacher Sohail Sahab at the electric organ.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: There was a lot to appreciate about and be proud of the disabled as the State Bank of Pakistan (SPB) Museum celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities here on Friday.

There was young Anamta singing Allama Iqbal’s “Har Lehza Hai Momin” with school fellow Sharifuddin playing the flute and Sohail Sahab, their music teacher at the Ida Rieu College for Blind and Deaf on the electric organ. All three were visually impaired but what a voice, what poise and what talent.

Other blind students were busy studying historic sculptures and artifacts by running their hands over them to feel the textures while using phone Apps to tell them more about them.

Seated around another table were the deaf and mute students busy creating the most beautiful artwork on paper. Using pencils to sketch, they rarely reached for erasers before painting. At another spot, there were other students with disabilities creating pretty clay pottery.

One turned around to find some more children, in party-wear with gold and silver sequins, rehearsing for a play that they were going to perform at the conclusion of the other activities.

Upstairs there was more art on display in the gallery to appreciate. Oil and water paintings, sceneries and still-lives, hand-made photo frames, Handmade and hand-painted tote bags, cotton waistcoats, doll dresses, gold and silver coloured perforated flowers, etc. by the students of three institutions, namely, JS Academy for the Deaf, Deaf Reach School and College and the Ida Rieu College for Blind and Deaf.

And apart from all these, the programme also included the launch of a very special cookbook. It was sometime back in March when the SBP Museum collaborated with the University of Karachi, the British Council and Manchester Museum for the ‘Our Shared Culture Heritage’ (OSCH) programme.

“At the time there was the diary of Quaid-i-Azam’s chef on display at the SBP Museum giving inspiration to the teenagers visiting Karachi from Manchester to cook the recipes handed down to them from their parents or grandparents who had themselves learned how to cook them in Pakistan,” Director of the SBP Museum Dr Asma Ibrahim reminded.

“Well, those recipes were published by the Manchester Museum last month and the SBP Museum here converted the same into a braille recipe book for the visually impaired titled Manachi,” she added.

Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Murtaza Syed, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 3, was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness about the different and special needs of the disabled through their integration in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022

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