Ulgulan Talks! : Interview with Gopika Anand

The Sangyan
4 min readAug 8, 2022

--

In this third interview of The Sangyan’s ‘Ulgulan Talks!’, an endeavor to voice the issues of the larger interest of ‘We, the People’, Abhishek (the interviewer) talks with Gopika Anand, a young woman from Ranchi, Jharkhand, primarily regarding the impact of climate change in her life in reference to her disability. Gopika works at Deepshikha, Institute for Child Development & Mental Health. She had pursued M. Tech during her academic career.

This interview was conducted in the first week of August 2022 through online mode in written format. The due informed consent of the interviewee has been taken before the publication of the blog. Further, the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ of the interviewee shall be respected.

A traditional cooking setup from a tribal village with “The Sangyan: Ulgulan Talks!” written over it on the smaller platform and below the earthen chimney. The setup has eight small earthen chimneys over a small platform that settles over a larger platform all made up of soil and other natural ingredients and is brown in colour.
The Sangyan — Ulgulan Talks!

Hello, please talk about your life journey in some detail for our readers.

A Mother, A Wife, A Woman with Disability and Miss India wheelchair, 2013. I became a wheelchair user due to Spinal Cord Injury after I met with an accident in 2003 at the time I am pursuing my education at the age of 21. After rehabilitation and completing my education, I excelled at my job as a Senior Scientist at Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, Mumbai. After marriage, I came to Ranchi and since then I have been working with Deepshikha, Institute for Child Development and Mental Health. My aim in life is to make this world a better place wherein the person with disability can live with self-esteem and dignity.

Please talk about your condition/disability and comorbidities, if any, in some detail.

Spinal Cord Injury, D-3 D-4 level. I have got spinal cord injury 19years back, due to an accident. The injury level is D3-D3. This condition is defined as paraplegia. There is a loss of sensation and mobility below chest level. I am a wheelchair user since then. I went to Spinal Cord Injury Centre for rehab for 5 months immediately after my accident, wherein I was trained to become independent in my daily activities.

An image of Gopika Anand driving her modified car. She got her license for driving in 2011. The car has modifications for driving with hand.
Gopika Anand driving her car modified for driving by hand. She got her license for driving in 2011.

Please talk about your experience with climate change (read extreme weather and climatic conditions like heatwaves, cyclones, floods, etc.) that affected or worsened your experience or condition. Please provide a personal account if plausible.

The extreme change in climatic conditions like extreme cold and extreme heat causes physical and health issues. In extremely cold conditions, the muscle gets stiffened, body metabolism also changes, and the body reacts in a different way. Aches in the body parts where sensation could be felt. In extremely hot conditions, the stomach gets upset regularly, resulting in weakness and dehydration, and urinary problem also results due to water loss.

What do you think about climate change (read extreme weather and climatic conditions like heatwaves, cyclones, floods, etc.) acting as a threat multiplier and resulting in capability deprivation from your own personal experience? Please provide a personal account if plausible.

Definitely, climatic change act as a threat multiplier, as it worsens the physical condition which already has low immunity and gets affected immediately by the extreme condition. It results in deterioration of the physical condition, making it weak and vulnerable.

Please tell us about any measure/action you took to mitigate the negative impact of climate change (read extreme weather and climatic conditions like heatwaves, cyclones, floods, etc.) in your life to avoid worse-off experiences. Please provide a personal account if plausible.

I regularly go for chest physiotherapy, as being a paraplegic my lungs gets affected the most in extreme condition. Yoga, good nutrition, and precautionary care help me avoid the situation.

What else you think that needs to be done to counter the worse-off experiences of climate change (read extreme weather and climatic conditions like heatwaves, cyclones, floods, etc.) in respect to your specific condition? Please suggest from your personal experiences.

Proper exercise, good nutrition, physio and occupational therapy other precautionary measures to protect the body from heat and cold waves would be effective.

Any further comment you want to make in respect to climate change and disability.

Climatic change has adverse effects on disability, as extreme climatic conditions tend to worsen the current physical, mental, and physical condition of a person with disability.

This was Gopika Anand, talking about her life journey and her experience with disability and climate change. We, at The Sangyan and Ulgulan Talks! thank her for giving her precious time and an opportunity to know about her and her story.

Abhishek Kumar is an NCPEDP-Javed Abidi fellow on Disability who is currently working on the “Impact of Climate Change on People with Disabilities. The author can be reached at <abhishek.ncpedp@gmail.com>.

The interview has been published on the blog of The Sangyan as part of its public engagement and discourse initiative called ‘Ulgulan Talks!’.

--

--

The Sangyan

Law. Environment. Disability | Curator ~ Adv. Abhishek Kumar | Working on the 'Impact of Climate Change on Persons with Disabilities' | thesangyan.in | 🇮🇳 |