Inspiring hero, tragic victim, or just human?


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After four years of hard work Gagan Chhabra will defend his thesis Friday June 18th. In this episode Gagan looks back on his project where he has been comparing Norway to India focusing on disability policy reforms and employment experiences of young adults with visual impairments. Gagan shares the love for his projects but also the many hurdles he has met on the journey. Listen: “Ask, don’t assume” March 2019 - “What is ableism?” July 2020 - Read more: Den norske velferdsstaten imponerte Gagan. Men så begynte han å undre seg - June 18th 2021: Public Defense: Gagan Chhabra Scientific publications by Gagan: Transcript Hallvard: Welcome back to a new podcast from Viten og Snakkis and welcome back Gagan Chhabra. How are you doing? Gagan: I’m really swell Hallvard, it's fantastic to be here with you the third time, in the third year. [laughter] Hallvard: It's so good to have you back and it's a special occasion. We first talked in 2019 in March, we made a podcast, I introduced you, your project, your PhD project. And we met again a year later and talked about ableism and now suddenly, you finished. What happened? [laughter] Gagan: I wish I could explain what happened. It has been an inexplicable journey. Like yes, the PhD-journey is at the end, and I am going to be defending my labor of love, my competitive research wherein I contrast disability policy reforms and the experiences of young adults with visual impairments, employment inclusion experiences into, from Norway and India. Hallvard: Yeah. It's been long journey, are you fed up with your project now? [laughter] Gagan: No, a part of me is like quite delighted, elated, ecstatic to be over with, because this has been almost like four years, four months and 29 days. Hallvard: You have been counting. [laughter] Gagan: Through this entire journey and with multiple publications, research publications, and it is it's been quite emotionally gratifying, intellectually rewarding, but at the same time, very arduous task to compare Norway and India. And to ensure that the competitive research stays on track. It delivers the outcomes which it's supposed to deliver, and it gets accepted in the wider milieu of comparative disability research. So yeah, it's been an exhausting journey in that sense, but I'm very, very thankful that it has happened and it's kind of a privilege to do a PhD in the first place and now it's getting over some feeling. Wow, time has flown so quickly. Hallvard: But Gagan, how was the reaction when you first came with this project? Wanting to look at India and Norway together, that's two very different countries. Is it like, is it possible to compare those two countries at all? Gagan: Yes, and oh my gosh! This is the exact question which people have been asking me from, from the time I thought about this project, like 2015. Late 2015, early 2016, I thought it would be nice to compare Norway in India. There was a lot of resistance towards it, because people always intuitively thought “oh Norway has to be compared to the rich developed, advanced, industrialized world. The OECD, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development countries.” You know? Like Norway should be compared to Sweden, to Denmark, to Finland, the US, Canada, Australia, UK, but, what? You plan to compare Norway to India? Why would you do that? First of all, if you do that, can you do that? So many, many people thought in the beginning of this whole journey that this project was quite outlandish, and some were quite outraged as well because,

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