Abhishek Ray

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2006
Disability Research and Design Foundation


This profile was prepared when Abhishek Ray was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
With India in the midst of an infrastructure boom, Abhishek recognizes the need for a common design platform instead of piecemeal, expensive modifications made as an afterthought to comply with laws regarding access for persons with disability. He is shifting the orientation of builders and urban planners from the narrow concept of “disabled-friendly” architecture to the more inclusive platform of Universal Design. With most builders cutting corners on accessibility, Abhishek presents universal design as a cost-effective alternative by which everyone is served without exclusion. Simultaneously, Abhishek directs his efforts towards prominent government bodies such as courts of justice, national banks, railways and airports as well as citizen organizations catering to the disabled. 
Abhishek is creating an environment in which people with disabilities not only enjoy more access but are seen alongside others using the same facilities, instead of being segregated with special facilities for special needs. Abhishek says that the question is not one of acceptability but of accessibility. The disabled get left out of the mainstream because they are hardly visible. Once they are visible alongside the general populace, acceptability levels will rise and many more doors will open for them, including those leading to equal opportunities and employment.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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