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"Story of a Nightingale"
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     M. K Zeenath, a teacher and passionate music lover from Kalpetta, Wayanad. She is working at Kolathara Higher secondary school for handicapped since 2007. She had completed her primary education from the school where she works at present. After her secondary education, she joined Chembai College of Music in Palakkad for a diploma course. She couldn’t manage higher education after the diploma due to personal and family issues.  Zeenath has started her journey of Music from her childhood. She adored listening to songs and singing. Songs she listened from the younger age was her close companions. Zeenath has participated in several competitions in school youth festivals and twice for state level for Arabic recitation and Mappilapttu. She had performed at several stage shows and got the opportunity to participate in one of the music events conducted by the ‘Kamukara Foundation’- a venture to identify the talented artists in music. Zeenath was part of the Judging panel for 2 years in a show named Ishal Night, telecasted on a local channel named Wayanad Vision. According to Zeenath, a woman with disability was extremely restricted from traveling alone. She said " when I started working I was afraid to travel alone, but I took that as a challenge and decided to move on with inspirational words from one of my colleagues. At the same time, there were a lot of negatives and demotivation from several parts of society.

     She adds “My family is always concerned about me for traveling alone and on the other hand, society was concerned with a sympathetic viewpoint.” She received appreciation from many people for her efforts when she was successful on her journeys alone. Every single step that a person takes will help them to mobilize.  She said she never supported reality shows. According to Zeenath, most of the reality shows people's emotions as their business strategies to get more viewers. Coming to participants, channels will always focus on the disabilities of People with disabilities to earn sympathy from the audience. She added that, music reality shows focus more on performing rather than the songs. Persons with disabilities face difficulties managing this situation. She pointed out that many talented singers among people with disabilities lose opportunities due to this approach to music reality shows. Zeenath was using a device; named 'Combo Player' to teach music for her students. The device is supportive to manage the following functions that includes pausing, replaying etc. Later, she switched to mobile phones when it became common. She said “Years back it was difficult to get music tracks and mobile phone is a revolution to overcome those challenges.  When it was asked about the required support to overcome the barriers having visual impairment, she opined the necessity of advanced mobile phones at an affordable cost for the following feature excellent recording quality and comfort of videography features since the computer is not affordable and difficult to carry by every person with disability. Zeenath comments” if you are independent you don’t need to obey the words of others. Self-dependency in every aspect is freedom especially in the life of women”

Performance by Zeenath

Credit: Respective owner