Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Newspaper Interview with Anantadev

by Gladwin Emmanuel

He is perhaps the only one in the world to teach the Bhagavad Gita through sign language.
Not that it was a matter of choice for him. Anantadev Das had lost the capacity to hear when he was just a year old.
Going to deaf school first in Mumbai as a nine-year-old, Das, founder of Bangalore-based Sanatana Dharma, an organisation involved in cultural, educational, social and spiritual activities for the deaf, says that he found the answers he was seeking in the Bhagavad Gita, the divine discourse spoken by the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself and the most popular of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India.
It was in school that he first met deaf children wearing hearing aids. He studied the English language, learnt grammar and passed SSC. While some of his friends went to America, he had to stay back, more as an obedient son to his mother than as an option.
In an interview to this website's newspaper, with the help of an interpreter, Das disclosed that before his graduation in History and Philosophy from a university in Mumbai, he was searching for answers to questions like why he became deaf, why people kept fighting each other, hated each other and kept secrets to themselves.
Das then plunged into research, met people belonging to different communities, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike, and finally after reading the Gita, realised that “the body and not the soul was deaf.”
Happiness dawned on him only thereafter.
As a special leader and social worker for the deaf, Das who was in Coimbatore for the three-day India Deaf Expo last week, had visited the US and given a lecture for deaf children in a university there.
Currently teaching the deaf the meaning of life through sign language in Bangalore, Das said he wanted people with normal hearing capability to involve themselves more in helping the deaf.
Das has also plans to buy some land and construct a temple for Krishna, possibly in Karnataka.
( Taken from The New Indian Express, Chennai - 9th January 2007 )

Friday, January 12, 2007

India Deaf Expo in Coimbatore




Dear Members,

It is to inform you all that India Deaf Expo 2007, an international conference on Innovative Technology and Education of the Deaf / Hard of Hearing was held from 5th to 7th January 2007 at Coimbatore, India. It was organised by DEAF LEADERS, Coimbatore.The Objective of the Conference is to provide the platform where educators, researchers, social workers, speech therapists, audiologists, linguists and deaf persons can share their knowledge and experiences together and finding good solutions.

About 350 participants attended the conference. Topics of many paper presentations were given as below.

1.Creating a new generation of deaf teachers and improved Deaf education- Mr.Kevin Long, Founder,Global deaf Connection, USA.
2.Deaf education for the changing Times: need for parallel thinking and resourceful persons - Mr.K.Murali, Organising Secretary and Director, Deaf Leaders,
3.Deaf youth can develop through education and communication- Mr.A.S.Narayanan, N.A.D. New Delhi
4.Study on development skills of children with hearing impairment attending phase 1 of ECE Programme- Mr.B.Nageshwar Rao, AYJNIHH.
5.Sign language and comparisons- Mr.Rajesh Ketkar, Vadodara Deaf Association
6.Computer Assisted Language tutor for children with hearing loss- Mr.Arunmugam Rathinavelu.
7. History of use of technology for rehabilitation- Dr.Manjula Waldron,USA.
8.AURED- An early intervention and cochlear implant centre for children with hearing impairment. Mrs. Vashishtai J. Daboo, Mumbai
9.Training sign Teachers: Why and How? for children with hearing loss- Dr. Gaurav Mathur, Columbus.
10. Indian Sign language- Introduction to sign Language- Mr. Sujit Sahasrabudhe and Mr. Mohammed Shafique, AYJNIHH.
11. Sign Interpreters - Mr. Virbhadra Rathod, Vadodara Deaf Association.
12. Visual Collection Album – Rajendra Joglekar, Pune
13..Ayurveda- Mrs. Minal U. Joshi.Pune
14.Empowerment is the Key - Dr. Madan Vasishta, Gallaudet University,USA.
15. Deaf culture by K.Samuel, USA
16. Opportunities for the Deaf- Mr.D.N.Tripathi, Lucknow
17.Government - Mr. Kiran R. Kumar, Vadodara Deaf Association.
18.Role of Parents in Rehabilitation- Suresh C.B. Mysore.
19.A Will and a Way- Mr. S. Poornachandran, Madurai.
20. The Deaf's Well Being- Mr. Anantadev Das, Spiritual Leader, S.D.D.
21.Study of social and cultural integration of NRI deaf persons with family and society in USA- Manjula Waldron, Standord University.
22.Social Inclusion and the deaf- Prof. Sarah Giri, Bangalore.
23 Raise your global hands- Mr. Alim Chandani, CSD student, Development Center.
24. The Spech Problems of the Hearing impaired Children - A Phonetic Analysis- Mrs. Didla Grace Suneetha, CIEFL, Hyderabad.
25. Hearing Aids; Then, Now and Future.-Mr. R.S.Allurkar, Bagalkot.
26. Quality of life of Adult deaf as a function of hearing aid usage and employment status.- Mr.Giriraj Singh Shekhawat. AYJNIHH.

Vadodara Deaf Association got an award for Best Organisation. Many other deaf persons including Dr.Madan Vasishta, Mr.Alok Kejriwal, Mr.Sujit, Mr. Aqil Chinoy, Mr.Rajesh Ketkar got awards. Shri K.Murali also presented to AnantadevJI a picture of Lord Krishna as a memento.

Many cultural programs including mime, drama, dance and others provided good entertainment to deaf participants.

Best regards,

Kiran R.Kumar.
( Vadodara )

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Anantadevji's Presentation at India Deaf Expo


By Shri Anantadevji


For many years I have been travelling throughout India to meet thousands of the deaf. Mixing with them has given me a lot of opportunities to understand their life and needs when I have signed to them about God, spiritual values and moral importance. I have seen that many of their hearing elders, superiors and siblings have not known how to educate them and make their life better but instead have negative attitudes/thoughts about the deaf. This is a major hurdle for the deaf’s progress in their life and mind. Thus the deaf are struggling hard to cope with the hearing people though only a small percentage of the deaf are fortunate to get good support from their family or their well-wishers to stand on their feet, and be well-being, well-educated, well-developed or well-earned and to match the hearing in many things.

More than two years back I started signing to the deaf adults about proverbs. I found that these proverbs delighted many of them who wished to absorb them to make their life more meaningful. Unlike the hearing, the deaf have not known about these proverbs since their childhood because they have no power of hearing to hear about them though they can have chance to read about them.

What is proverb? Proverb means a saying, usually short, that expresses a general truth about life. Proverbs give advice, make an observation, instills moral values or presents a teaching in a succinct and memorable way.

I would like to expand four following proverbs with examples and illustrations.

1) Dependence on another is perpetual disappointment

In India many deaf persons depend heavily on others like relatives and friends. The latter sometimes thinks that they are a great burden to them. The deaf should learn how to stand on their own feet. Since they are endowed with intelligence by God, they should use it to be advanced socially, educationally or economically and dependence will not be of disappointment to them both.

2) Learning is a treasure no thief can touch

Learning is really a valuable treasure. It can give you lasting happiness and peace. What is learning? It is knowledge which you acquire from reading, listening and studying. When you have learning, no one cannot take it away from you.

3) To loan is to buy troubles

This proverb proves to be true for many deaf persons who have bitter experience of loaning to their friends. Not only them but also many hearing persons. When your friend fails to repay you the loan, you may keep bothering your friend to repay the loan and this lead to your friend’s thinking that you give them troubles. But when you need money badly, you may ask someone to lend it to you. However you must repay the loan in time. So you may not buy troubles.

4) United we stand, divided we fall

The deaf in India must realize the importance of this proverb. It can strengthen their efforts to make the hearing people to recognize their abilities as being beneficial to the society when the deaf are capable to unite strongly. They should sink their petty differences, instead of finding fault with one another, to avoid falling down into deep divisions. We can see that many deaf persons are hopeless and jobless because other deaf persons fail to unite and support them. We, the deaf persons, should try to analyse our problems to unite and interact well with one another. The hearing should set aside their negative image of us and . `Union is Strength’ should be one of the mottos of this Expo and other groups like clubs, associations and institutions.