Disability, Religion, and Gender: Exploring Experiences of Exclusion in India Through an Intersectional Lens
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Despite the existence of national and international laws and conventions to avoid discrimination in India, exclusion due to an intersection of disability, gender, and religious identity continues, resulting in marginalisation from society. This article investigates the lived experiences of people by exploring how aspects of their identity intersect to influence their inclusion or exclusion within society. Narrative interviews were undertaken with 25 participants with disabilities in the states of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. This qualitative methodology was employed to allow the participants to recount their experiences (both positive and negative) in their own words. A thematic analysis of the data provided rich evidence of the complex social structure in India, manifested by the multifaceted intersectional nature of social inclusion and exclusion. Our research found that for our participants disability was the main factor upon which discrimination was based, but that this discrimination is often compounded for people with disabilities due to their minority religious status, or gender. Marginalisation of people with disabilities is shown to be exacerbated when these identities intersect. Action is needed to ensure the human rights of people with disabilities are realised and that discrimination and marginalisation are avoided for those who have different identities compared to the majority of the population.