This movie is an attempt to understand the psychology behind non- acceptance of such special children in the society by their parents, teachers, friends and all others.
A very well-known and acknowledged movie, ‘Taare Zameen Par’ ('Like Stars on Earth', as mentioned on IMDB) was released in the year 2007 and was directed by actor Aamir Khan. It is a famous movie which is based on a particular syndrome of ‘Learning-Disability’ and the concept of ‘inclusion’ in schools as well as in our society also. It showcases the struggles faced by disabled and slow learners in understanding a concept, dealing with day-to-day life problems, starting from tying shoelaces to understanding the knowledge concepts in a classroom. It also takes into account the problems faced by teachers in handling those children with special needs, difficulty confronted by their parents in understanding their child properly, problems and troubles faced by friends, peer groups, near and dear ones in accepting the child wholeheartedly. Also, this movie is an attempt to understand the psychology behind non- acceptance of such special children in the society by their parents, teachers, friends and all others. However, movie revolves around a message that special children need special training, care, love, attention by their well wishers so as to succeed in their lives. It gives a message to the viewers for developing an understanding with special children and to realize that ‘Every child is special’.
Right of Person With Disability (RPWD) Act 2016 clearly mentions that there are equal provisions for children with disability to have equal access to the resources, to have equal education, to have inclusive classrooms, to admit them without any kind of discrimination and provide them education and opportunities for sports and recreation activities equally like other children. Still, we cannot find the concept of ‘inclusion’ in our schools. Students are not treated well because there are no stringent laws against such teachers, parents and school authorities who violate the regulations of the acts and orders. In this movie also, with special focus on a dyslexic child, Ishaan Awasthi, who was suffering from this learning disorder, which affect the area of brain that process language and involved difficulty in reading due to problems in identification of speech sounds, learning and in building the relationship between letters and words. In spite of excelling in art, but poor in academics, these children do not get required support and attention as compared to other children. This movie portrays the distressed life of such children both at home and school in which they could not cope up with their daily life in early childhood. But a right teacher could finally discover and reveal the hidden art talent in the child and motivate to build inner confidence, to open up in the peers, to demonstrate the artistic creativity in front of others and what not. A teachers’ role can be life changing for such students.
Its not very difficult to recognize that the child is a slow learner and needs appropriate guidance, time, support as well as resources to learn at his/her own pace. But, it’s made difficult unnecessarily. We do not accept such children in spite of having talents and desires, we neglect those children. As portrayed in this movie also, a powerful imagination is destroyed in the classroom. The kind of paintings he draws actually reflects the imagination, creativity his mind has. But the continuous poking by his parents, teachers, peers made him trouble-maker as well as lead to discouragement of his emotions, his feelings, his desires, wishes and dreams. The question which arises here is that ‘How can creativity not deserve a right place in academics’? ‘How cannot a different vision be accepted’? ‘Why only curricular activities and traditional exam based system is considered as an indicator of intelligence or evaluation’? However, things are little different now in real world as co- curricular activities are also a measure of assessment. But, for a child with special needs, different training is required.
The movie is an epic example of the harsh realities in the real world. The characters like conventional and stereotyped father, caring mother, understanding sibling, callous teacher, mocking peers and motivating art teacher can be found in our daily lives also. It reflected parental negligence more profoundly, which resulted in isolation and seclusion of the child. It highlighted the barriers faced by special children in schools, homes and adjustment problems in the society.
Every child has multiple intelligence (Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence) that makes him/her different from others. Also, one major aspect, which came as a driving force, is that ‘it is not only IQ (Intelligent Quotient) that is paramount, EQ (Emotional Quotient) and SQ (Spiritual Quotient) are also equally important’. A child can be developed holistically if a teacher plays the role competently and efficiently. Empathizing with the child, encouraging the child with giving real life examples of famous personalities, idols and talking about their achievements will be beneficial, as this movie also portrayed.
The movie is an eye- opener to all those parents who neglect their children with special needs due to their monotonous life, for teachers to empathize with children and give them more love, care, affection, for teacher educators and policy makers to make stringent training programs for pre- service and in- service teachers to deal with children more efficiently, for society to accept every child like the same way.
Still, our country’s government needs more motivating movies to work in the field. People living in this society can only empathize with these children and accept them only after watching such movies. More such movies will enlighten and strengthen the need of ‘inclusion’ in this exclusive world!!!
The author is a research scholar in Central University of Gujarat and an intern at Academics4nation.