24 August, 2020
The society around us is most often skewed towards the majoritarian views and behaviours; that’s what is called normal as well. Anything and anyone that does not fit into this concept of accepted normal is almost always looked upon, a little differently. Sometimes a little suspiciously, sometimes it piques interest, and sometimes it is ridiculed as well. This is also the problem that left-handed people live with for most of their lives. At least now, there is a lot of awareness about this matter. But even then, if a kid starts using left hand more often, people tend to try and correct. It’s not a defect, and it is all to do with how your brain functions, and that’s all there is to it!
If you are left-handed and gave faced some issue or the other for the whole of your life, you may be happy to know that around 13% of the world’s population is left-handed. This is said to run in the family mostly, and hence, it’s quite possible, others in your family have it too. Interestingly, the need to create awareness about this matter was felt long back. Thus, 13th August of each year is being celebrated as the left-hander’s day. It was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Left-handers International, Inc. And since then, every year, across the globe, a small set of people, observe this day to tell the predominantly right-handers about how it works differently for them.
Though there has been quite an amount of research conducted on the topic, it is not yet fully clear why people are born left-handed. Yes, genetics play a role in it; but, that is not all. It is also to do with how their brains behave and which side of the brain dominates the motor functions. For the left-handers, the right side brain is dominant and for right-handers, it is vice versa.
There are a lot of myths associated with people being left-handed; that they are weak, unlucky, unhealthy, and so on. Studies, however, have proved that left-handed people are more likely to have dyslexia, ADHD, and psychological disorders. However, there is good news as well. Most left-handed people are said to be creative, highly adaptable, are better at sports, and can live a normal life just as much as right-handers do.
Some famous lefties from across the globe are Barack Obama (and a few other American Presidents as well), Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Napolean Bonaparte, Leonardo Da Vinci, Marie Curie, Aristotle, Jimi Hendrix, Albert Einstein, Hellen Keller, Lewis Carroll, Neil Armstrong, Mark Twain, Mozart, Paul McCartney, Julius Caesar, Beethoven, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Ford, Alexander The Great, Martina Navratilova, Mark Zuckerberg, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Michaelangelo, McEnroe, Angelina Jolie, Steve Jobs, Gordon Ramsay and another long list of distinguished people who have excelled in all walks of life. Closer home Ratan Tata, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek, and even Mahatma Gandhi was said to be left-handed. Clearly these names call the bluff of all the myths about lefthanders being any lesser than the ‘normal’ right-handers!
Observe the day
The day is meant to be observed by having events that create awareness about the issue that left-handers face throughout their life. From overcoming the bias of the society to most products being right-handed, nothing is taken can be taken for granted. People hold talks, create posters, hold events, and try to educate the society about the need to understand the lefties. Left-handed children may need special attention and orientation to help them understand what is different about them. Even teachers are being sensitized to the needs of such children nowadays.
Things have improved a lot, and the society is much more understanding about left-handers now. However, it is important to keep the awareness campaign going. If you are a left-hander, then maybe it is time to use this day to spread awareness at your level by sharing your thoughts, struggles, achievements and much more. Since it most often runs in the family, it could help others in the family to understand and overcome the biases easier.
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