Think Different: Akshay urges for removal of ‘R’ wordhttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/entertainment-others/think-different-akshay-urges-for-removal-of-r-word/

Think Different: Akshay urges for removal of ‘R’ word

Akshay walked the ramp for the mentally challenged at a special fashion show by designer Ramesh Dembla.

Bollywood star Akshay Kumar walked down the ramp with the mentally challenged at a special fashion show here in a bid to get people think differently about the intellectually challenged and sensitise them about their condition.

Akshay,who is the Brand Ambassador to Special Olympics Bharat,came in sporting designer Ramesh Dembla’s showstopper garment,accompanied by two mentally challenged Olympian superstars at the fashion show titled ‘Be a Fan of Dignity’,on Saturday night.

The show was the culmination of an over six month nation-wide signature campaign to remove the R-word (retard) and its equivalent in any Indian language when referring to the intellectually challenged.

Addressing the audience,Akshay Kumar said “I have banned the R-word (retarded) from my vocabulary.”

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“Unfortunately,intellectual disabilities are a reality for a large number of people in the world. Stop the derogatory usage of the word Retard. It is not about being politically correct. It is about being sensitive. Join me in pledging your support to the intellectually challenged”,he urged the audience,which included 4000 children who had participated in the signature campaign to eliminate the R word.

At the show,special Olympian children performed a skit and a beautifully composed music recital.

This was followed by a fashion show put up by designer,Ramesh Dembla,who showcased his collection titled ‘Nishtha’ (meaning dignity).

Forty models,dressed in shades of red,black and gold,symbolising,bravery,determination and pride,walked the ramp,capturing the essence of the cause.

The show also saw 40 ‘Special Olympian Children’ walk down the ramp,holding the hands of the model taking a bow,followed by the actor walking in as the show stopper with two of the mentally challenged.

Several dignitaries from the city and stars from the Kannada movie industry attended the event.

The signature campaign was launched by Special Olympics Bharat aimed at bringing dignity and respect to those who were mentally challenged and also sensitize the mainstream community to their needs while promoting Special Olympics and the amazing athletes.

Special Olympics Bharat is a movement dedicated to empowering people with intellectual disability through sports training and competition.