Deaf people cannot hear any sounds. Consequently, they cannot speak any words. Except hearing and speaking, the deaf doesn’t have any other physical disability; they can do almost everything that a normal can do. It’s not necessary to hear for a person for any physical activities like running, walking, jumping, etc. Most of the sports events include the skill of running, walking and jumping. Hence, sports are the best field where the deaf can involve themselves and show their talents.
Communication plays a vital role to earn various professional skills in life. Deaf cannot hear and cannot understand well what the other people mean. Similarly, every normal person cannot understand the sign language of the deaf. Hence, normal people get irritated to repeat the same thing, again and again, to make the deaf person understand well what they mean. Due to not having any deaf-friendly environment in society, the deaf cannot earn many useful skills in their life. So, that deaf cannot adjust themselves with normal people and are deprived of earning any professional skills in life.
So what? Then, should deaf be only loafers or labors in life? Of course, does not! There is a very useful field for the deaf to be involved and that is sports. See most of the sports events; all of them are suitable for the deaf. In the long jump, just run and jump, in triple jump too, just run and jump thrice, in high jump too, just run and jump high and to cross a bar. Similarly, see the various types of race; 100m, 200m, 400, 1000m, 10000m, relay race, hurdle race, marathon, walkathon and so on. All the athletics are suitable for the deaf. We can use the signal instead of sound for the command like On the mark, Get set and Go. If so, the deaf can race as normal in the national and international competition.
Just as in a race, it is not necessary to hear to participate in the various events of swimming. Individual games like Javelin throw; shot put doesn’t create any bars for the deaf to participate and compete. Deaf can perform various types of acrobatics as well. There are so many sports events suitable for the deaf; just lacking is the policy of the nation for involving the deaf in sports.
Bodybuilding, weight lifting, shooting, volleyball, beach volleyball, Badminton, Table Tennis, lawn tennis, archery, chess, gulf, etc are the other sports events where the deaf players can compete equally with the normal players. Similarly, hearing power is not that much important for all kinds of Martial Arts and wrestling. Mr. Saryu Prasad Sherchan, the President of NCAD-Nepal is player of wrestling in spite of being deaf. Similarly, Mr. Dhrubaman Maskey from Kathmandu, the black belt in Karate, Mr. Lawa Thapa Magar from Bhairahawa the black belt in Tae-Kwan-do is some of the examples. Rather, Cricket is a little bit difficult game for the deaf since they cannot speak and hear each other for making proper effort to take runs. They just need to watch the ball and each other to make the runs instead of watching on the ground. Consequently, it may create accidents some times. It creates even more difficult when one of the players is deaf and the other is normal. If both the players are deaf then the situation becomes comparatively normal.
Football is one of the difficult games for the deaf to play in teams. The players need to follow the whistle of the referee in a football match and that is the only thing the deaf cannot do. But in some places, we can see using hanky as signals for the deaf footballers which is not effective at all since it looks ridiculous when the referee gives signals from behind the players.
Cricket is more suitable than football for the deaf. So the deaf cricket tournaments are organized in the national and international level. Cricket is such a game in which the umpires use various signals to give their decisions for both normal and deaf players. The deaf cricketers of Nepal have played 11 national level and 4 international level tournaments within 10 years since the NCAD-Nepal was established in 2004. Nepal had taken part in the 2nd World Cup in 2005, 1st Asia Cup in 2007, 3rd Asia Cup in 2017 and had played 3 friendship matches in the various city of Punjab in 2009. These were the international tournaments. Similarly 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th National Deaf Cricket Tournaments were organized in 2009 in Jhapa, in 2010 in Bhairahawa and in 2012 in Pokhara, in 2013 in Bhairahawa, in 2014 in Dharan, in 2015 in Biratnagar, in 2016 in Kathmandu, in 2017 again in Kathmandu, 2018 in Nepalgunj, in 2019 in Biratnagar respectively. Also, there was Deaf Cricket Championship Tournament organized in 2019 in Kathmandu.
The 2nd National Deaf Cricket Tournament was conducted by the ICC licensed umpires Mr. Sanjay Gurung, Mr. Satyajit Sarkar, and Mr. Dil Bahadur Gurung. Among the umpires, Mr. Satyajit Sarkar finds no difference in the performance of deaf cricketers and of any normal international cricketers.
No government or even any developed countries can eradicate the disability forever. There are a number of deaf, blind and other types of disabled people even in the highly developed countries like USA, UK, Japan, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Russia. But the governments of those countries have plan and policy to uplift the living standard of the disabled people. Equal opportunity is given to the disabled as normal in every field so that they can develop their personality. But disabled are deprived of such opportunity in the countries of the 3rd world like Nepal and are not well cared but ill-treated as if they are just the burden of the family, society and the country.
It’s the responsibility of the government to make each citizen self-reliant and useful for society. In the countries of the 3rd world, the government has only one option to uplift the life standard of disabled without any investment at the moment and that is 100% preservation of quotas in every field of profession and skill. For example, blinds are able to make chalk and candles. If so, why do not to preserve the chalk and candle industries for the blind? Normal people have lots of options. Why not the blinds can have jobs to earn their livelihood? Similarly, if there are the other industries like soap, dalmoth, bhujiya etc where the disabled can be involved then why not to give them the job opportunity in such factories? The government must bring the plan and policy for the disabled and make the law and apply accordingly. Consequently, the disabled too, become self-reliant but not the burden of the society. Hence, the quotas in sports (except football, kabaddi, kho kho, etc in which hearing power is necessary) must be preserved for the deaf and given the equal opportunity as normal.
But our government is being deluded. Instead of back warded disabled and Dalits, actually, the quotas in every field of opportunity have been preserved for those who just agitate and create obstacles with various kinds of the strike to trouble the people in general in the name of caste and class.
According to the hierarchy of so-called caste system in Nepal, I am from the so-called highest caste, the Upadhaya Brahman. But I am not getting any advantage of it, rather, being deprived of many opportunities due to my disability since I am deaf. An example, though I was district topper in SLC I could not get the opportunity to study medicine and engineering just because of not being able to hear. Today, though I have earned a master degree in a subject I haven’t got equal opportunity as normal. So, it is clear that the caste is not the base of classification in the society but the financial condition of a family. And the financial condition is directly affected by the disability. But, the government does not have any plan and programs for the disabled who are being uncared for the ages.
This is why the deaf cricket in Nepal is not receiving enough budgets from the government even for the national level tournaments. Organizers of normal sports get many sponsors too. The normal people can talk well with the sponsors and convince them. As a result, they can receive enough funds but the deaf people have difficulty to dialogue and are deprived of such opportunities. Hardly, they get very little support if they could express their problem with the help of an interpreter. Consequently every year the president of NCAD-Nepal is bearing the over expenses of tournaments conducted at the national level.
Considering the performance and the potentiality of the output that the deaf can give in sports, the government must invest in sports for the deaf. Similarly, the deaf must be treated with respect. The quotas for the deaf must be preserved in the sports in which they can perform well. Maybe deaf cannot be a doctor, engineer, lawyer, professor, agriculturist, economist, journalist, writer, scientist, industrialist, business person, politician, teacher, driver, pilot, mechanic, administrator, army, police. So what? We can make them a good player and they can win many national and international championship and various sports events. Thus they will not remain as a loafer or unwanted joker in the society but live a standard and respected life. Hence, instead of ill-treating the deaf it will be wise to make the investment for them in the field of sports where the potentiality is.