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Explained: Why is August 13 celebrated as International Left-Handers Day?

The country’s famous left-handers include Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and industrialist Ratan Tata.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 14, 2020 7:40:48 am
The day, which honours ‘sinistrality’ or left-handedness, was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, the founder of Left-Handers International Inc., and has been celebrated every year since.

Every year, to celebrate left-handers in a world dominated by right-handers, and to raise awareness about everyday issues that lefties face, August 13 is marked as ‘International Left Handers Day’. The day, which honours ‘sinistrality’ or left-handedness, was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, the founder of Left-Handers International Inc., and has been celebrated every year since.

Studies show that around 10 per cent of the world’s population is left-handed, with men more likely being so. According to the Indian Left Hander Club, the country’s famous left-handers include Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and industrialist Ratan Tata.

Other famous left-handed personalities include scientist Sir Isaac Newton, French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, painter Pablo Picasso, former US President Barack Obama and media personality Oprah Winfrey.

Left-handed troubles

Throughout the ages, natural left-handers have faced several disadvantages. In several cultures, including in India, such persons have faced discrimination owed to superstitions, and have often been punished to “cure”their left-handedness.

A prominent example is Britain’s former monarch George VI, who was born left-handed but was forced to use his right hand. It is believed that his famous stammering problem– subject of the 2010 film ‘The King’s Speech’– is
attributable to this compulsion he faced in childhood.

The historical bias against left-handers is best reflected by the English word ‘sinister’, synonymous with evil or menacing; its Latin root ‘sinestra’ meaning ‘on the left’.

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Among the everyday struggles that left-handers continue to face are while using objects designed for right-handed folk, such as scissors,keyboards, right-handed desks, guitars, and even video game consoles.

On August 13, many left-handers take to social media to celebrate their uniqueness as well to express their grievances. Here are some of the top Twitter posts today:

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