|Tuesday, 06 September 2011 14:33|
Meet Manjunath V., Srinivas Murthy and Ashok. They are all in their early 20s, undergraduate and visually challenged. They are the three visually challenged people to anchor news bulletins in the history of Indian television. They anchored Kannada news on Doordarshan Kendra's regional Channel Chandana in Bangalore Jan 4, the second birth centenary of Louis Braille, founder of the Braille script.
She might have missed the sight of Aamir Khan's eight-pack abs in 'Ghajini' but still enjoyed every bit of the movie. Her recent trip to a village might be sans any color or shape but she can recount every minute of the journey. She loves the rain and enjoys the sound of music. Life could not be better for her than this.
In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done.
Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.
The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to walk or talk or even move.
“We told them so.” “Crazy men and their crazy dreams” “It’s foolish to chase wild visions.” Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built. In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever.
He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task. As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.
It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife. He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.
For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.
Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal. Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realized with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are.
Even the most distant dream can be realized with determination and persistence.
Cary Supalo, a blind biochemist, wants to help blind chemistry students succeed in science. Last Wednesday, Cary Supalo, a blind biochemist, introduced a group of students and teachers to the tools he is developing to help visually impaired students succeed in chemistry. Supalo, who graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1999 and is currently a member of the National Federation of the Blind, said many blind students feel they suffer from a lack of opportunity. He questioned whether or not the "passive approach" many teachers currently take toward blind students in the classroom would encourage anyone to pursue a career in science.
PUNE: City-based Sagar Morankar, a 22-year-old visually challenged student has been granted Pratham P K Sirdeshmukh Maharaj Scholarship for his dedication in dhrupad (classical) singing. Hailing from Chalisgaon, Jalgaon district, Sagar came to Pune when he was in 1st standard in 1993 and took admission in Pune Home for Blind, Koregaon Park.
Amar Jain, a Visually Impaired Law Student in Mumbai wants to set example of Independence that a visually impaired can avail in the present day available technology. I hope you will praise and support this initiative and that the Government and Institutions also open themselves up to include such facilities that provide independence. Here is the news:
ASUDANI brothers and records have become almost synonymous with each other. This time, Asudani brothers have created new records. The youngest Rajesh has become the first person to have cleared National Eligibility Test (NET) for lectureship and junior research fellowship (JRF) in three subjects. Whereas, Rajesh and Vinod have become first ever blind persons to qualify as psychologists in India. Both have also been invited to participate in the first-ever Kavi Sammelan of blind poets organized by Madhya Pradesh Sahitya Akademi on November 2 at Bhopal. Rajesh, Vinod and Ghanshyam also attended and presented research papers in National Conference on Information and Communication Technology for Differently Able Persons (NCICT for DAP), and Second Convention of AccessIndia held at Ahmedabad last month. NCICTT for DAP was organized by Ahmedabad chapter of Computer Society of India, and convention was held by AccessIndia, which is an e-group of the blind persons.
CHENNAI: R. Priya, a visually challenged girl of V.V.V. College for Women in Virudhunagar, had an unusual project in mind for her M.Phil dissertation -Rehabilitation programme for women at the Vellore special prison.' In a rare gesture, the Prison Department permitted Ms. Priya to interview 50 of the 72 convicts lodged in the special prison. Many of them were serving a life sentence. "They were very kind to me and answered all my questions. Besides the rehabilitation aspects, I focussed on their socio-economic background. Almost all the women inmates are illiterates and hail from a rural background," Ms. Priya says.
It was May 1981, I was on a train from Delhi to Ernakulam, Kerala . I had just completed Masters in O R (Operations Research) from the prestigious St.Stephen’s College, Delhi and was going home. The journey was symbolic, in the sense that it marked the end of a rather exciting and enjoyable student life. As I settled onto my berth, my thoughts drifted towards the future. Yes, I was at the threshold of a professional career. Some of my friends had already got job offers. Few of them had even begun work. I had decided to take a couple of months off to relax at home before embarking on my search for a job. My mother had died of cancer barely 6 months earlier and I felt it was important for me to spend some time with my father.
After a month or so, I began my job hunt in right earnest. I developed my CV. I made it a point to mention that I was Visually Impaired, since I was clear that my potential employers needed to know about my disability before they hired me. Every morning the newspaper was scanned, jobs were identified and applications were sent. Surprise! Surprise! contrary to my expectations, the response was far from being overwhelming. Infact there were just the three or four polite regret letters that said “Your CV is indeed impressive, however we do not have a suitable job for you at the moment. Will get in touch with you as soon as something comes up.” A little disappointing, but then I pressed on. My father sent my CV to some of his friends who had volunteered to try and help. An uncle of mine who had retired from one of India’s top Industrial groups wrote to some of his contacts. Nothing seemed to be working out. I guess, people did not want to take a chance with my disability.
I believe that God had spoken to me and had given me definite direction. He said” Son, if you want to do something in life, go out and do it yourself. Go out in Faith and the World will be at your feet.” I had made up my mind. I decided to take the first available train to Delhi , since that was the city I knew best. When I shared my morning’s experience with my father, he readily agreed. He said “Son, go for it.”
Determination sees him through
The first visually challenged person to enter the civil services, T. D. Dinakar, had to wage a five-year battle to get there. Despite progressive laws for persons with disabilities in India, equal opportunities for them in jobs remain an unfulfilled dream. He shared his personal experience, hopes and despairs with Vidya Venkat. "I was denied a civil service posting though I had cleared the UPSC examinations for a Group 'A' post in 2002. This, several years after the progressive Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) (PWD) Act was passed. I approached the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in New Delhi for help, but in vain. People who had scored lesser than me were given postings, but not me.
The Commissioner too never responded to my appeal." In 2003, Dinakar filed a case in the Delhi High Court. "I had spent a lot of time and money in clearing the exams and decided not to give up," he says. In 2005, the single judge who heard his case demanded an explanation from the Union Public Service Commission and the Department of Personnel and Training for not implementing the PWD Act. The UPSC preferred an appeal and put the blame on the DoPT for not identifying any posts for the visually challenged.
"It was only after an interim order in this case came in 2007 that the DoPT offered me a Group B posting saying vacancies were available there. I refused it. Then the court offered me a job in the Indian Railways Personnel Service." In March 2007, Dinakar joined the services. It is two months since he started reporting to the Southern Railways office in Chennai. But he is not fully satisfied. His contention is that he should be given an IAS posting. Also, though he belongs to the 2001 batch, he is being paid on par with the 2007 batch officers, disregarding his seniority. 'Is it my mistake?' "Is it my mistake that the DoPT failed to identify posts for persons like me?" Meanwhile, Dinakar's case has inspired several visually challenged persons to enter the civil services. Ravikumar Arora, who is partially blind, got the IAS whereas Krishna Gopal Tiwari, who is totally blind, got an Indian Railway Personnel Service posting. Dinakar studied at the PSG College of Arts and Science in Coimbatore. He lost his vision due to retinal degeneration at the age of 20. He gave up his job at an insurance agency to fulfil his dream of becoming an IAS. But today, this trendsetter is disillusioned. "I advice other visually challenged persons not to aspire for the civil services. It has lost its original charm. Besides fighting for my job, I feel I have lost more than gaining." He is disappointed at how most people are unaware that with enabling technology, visually challenged persons can work independently. "During the UPSC interview most of the questions were centred on whether I could do paperwork or be sure that the peon in office wouldn't cheat on me." Despite all these, Dinakar maintains a radiant smile on his face. He borrows from the title of Koestler's famous book on blindness in American society: "We remain an unseen minority." He cites an example: Visually challenged cannot use the ATM to withdraw money, because banks have not adapted these facilities for them.
Source: The Hindu
CUTTACK: It was sheer determination and lots of perseverance for this 15-year-old physically challenged boy to achieve what even thousands of able students of his age failed to accomplish. Jagannath Gauda of Gochhabadi village of Buguda block in Ganjam district has never felt let down for being born without the forelimbs. He has once again proved that if there is a will, there is definitely a way when he passed this year's Matriculation examinations in second division as a regular student.
For not having any of the hands since birth, Jagannath started writing with his legs when he entered the primary school of his village. Since I was able to do a lot of things with my legs like brushing my teeth, cleaning my tongue, drinking and eating, I thought of why not give a try to hold a pencil and start writing with my legs. With some initial hiccups, it worked wonders and soon I mastered the art, says a confident Jagannath who has since then not looked back and very easily went on to pass the Class IX examinations in 2007.
He also cleared the Class X pre-board examinations last year from Buguda People's High School by writing the answer scripts with his legs. But during the final school leaving (Matriculation) examinations for which he had to appear the test at nearby Balipadar High School in March this year, the State Board of Secondary Education (BSE) authorities did not allow him to write the answers with his legs.
Instead, the centre superintendent engaged a class IX student of the school to write the answer sheets for him. A reluctant Jagannath had to dictate the answers to the junior girl in a separate room. Although, he was not satisfied with the arrangements, Jagannath was confident of clearing the examinations with flying colors. I could have got better marks writing with my legs, Jagannath, who secured 51 per cent of marks in the examination, rues.
Except for putting and removing his clothes, Jagannath doesn't depend on anyone else in carrying out his daily chores. He can comb his hairs and play certain indoor games like ludo and cards with his legs. He plays football with elegance but loves to watch cricket matches in TV, says his father Surendranath Gauda who works as a village choukidar to support a family of six members, including three sons and a daughter. Seeing the child born without the forelimbs, the neighbors and relatives suggested the parents to name him after Lord Jagannath. But unlike Lord Jagannath, none of this Buguda Jagannth's siblings are handicapped.
Although, his parents tried their best to arrange artificial limbs for the boy but acute poverty has denied them the opportunity. I took him to National Institute of Rehabilitation Training And Research (Nirtar) at Olatpur in Cuttack two years ago but the doctors their demanded Rs.1 lakh for the purpose which I am not able to arrange till date, says his father.
'God has always been planning things for me'
Naga Naresh Karutura has just passed out of IIT Madras in Computer Science and has joined Google in Bangalore. You may ask, what's so special about this 21-year-old when there are hundreds of students passing out from various IITs and joining big companies like Google?
Naresh is special. His parents are illiterate. He has no legs and moves around in his powered wheel chair. Infact, when I could not locate his lab, he told me over the mobile phone, 'I will come and pick you up' and in no time, he was there to guide me. Ever smiling, optimistic and full of spirit; that is Naresh. He says, "God has always been planning things for me. That is why I feel I am lucky." Read why Naresh feels he is lucky.
Childhood in a village
I spent the first seven years of my life in Teeparru, a small village in Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of the river Godavari. My father Prasad was a lorry driver and my mother Kumari, a house wife. Though they were illiterate, my parents instilled in me and my elder sister (Sirisha) the importance of studying.
Looking back, one thing that surprises me now is the way my father taught me when I was in the 1st and 2nd standards. My father would ask me questions from the text book, and I would answer them. At that time, I didn't know he could not read or write but to make me happy, he helped me in my studies!
January 11, 1993, the fateful day
On the January 11, 1993 when we had the sankranti holidays, my mother took my sister and me to a nearby village for a family function. From there we were to go with our grandmother to our native place. But my grandmother did not come there. As there were no buses that day, my mother took a lift in my father's friend's lorry. As there were many people in the lorry, he made me sit next to him, close to the door.
Life without legs
I don't think my life changed dramatically after I lost both my legs. Because all at home were doting on me, I was enjoying all the attention rather than pitying myself. I was happy that I got a lot of fruits and biscuits.
'I never wallowed in self-pity'
The day I reached my village, my house was flooded with curious people; all of them wanted to know how a boy without legs looked. But I was not bothered; I was happy to see so many of them coming to see me, especially my friends. All my friends saw to it that I was part of all the games they played; they carried me everywhere.
I believe in God. I believe in destiny. I feel he plans everything for you. If not for the accident, we would not have moved from the village to Tanuku, a town. There I joined a missionary school, and my father built a house next to the school. Till the tenth standard, I studied in that school. If I had continued in Teeparu, I may not have studied after the 10th. I may have started working as a farmer or someone like that after my studies. I am sure God had other plans for me.
My sister, my friend
When the school was about to reopen, my parents moved from Teeparu to Tanuku, a town, and admitted both of us in a Missionary school. They decided to put my sister also in the same class though she is two years older. They thought she could take care of me if both of us were in the same class. My sister never complained. She would be there for everything. Many of my friends used to tell me, you are so lucky to have such a loving sister. There are many who do not care for their siblings. She carried me in the school for a few years and after a while, my friends took over the task. When I got the tricycle, my sister used to push me around in the school. My life, I would say, was normal, as everyone treated me like a normal kid. I never wallowed in self-pity. I was a happy boy and competed with others to be on top and the others also looked at me as a competitor.
I was inspired by two people when in school. My maths teacher Pramod Lal who encouraged me to participate in various local talent tests, and a brilliant boy called Chowdhary, who was my senior. When I came to know that he had joined Gowtham Junior College to prepare for IIT-JEE, it became my dream too. I was school first in 10th scoring 542/600. Because I topped in the state exams, Gowtham Junior College waived the fee for me. Pramod Sir's recommendation also helped. The fee was around Rs 50,000 per year, which my parents could never afford.
Moving to a residential school
Living in a residential school was a big change for me because till then my life centred around home and school and I had my parents and sister to take care of all my needs. It was the first time that I was interacting with society. It took one year for me to adjust to the new life. There, my inspiration was a boy called K K S Bhaskar who was in the top 10 in IIT-JEE exams. He used to come to our school to encourage us. Though my parents didn't know anything about Gowtham Junior School or IIT, they always saw to it that I was encouraged in whatever I wanted to do. If the results were good, they would praise me to the skies and if bad, they would try to see something good in that. They did not want me to feel bad. They are such wonderful supportive parents.
Life at IIT- Madras
Though my overall rank in the IIT-JEE was not that great (992), I was 4th in the physically handicapped category. So, I joined IIT, Madras to study Computer Science. Here, my role model was Karthik who was also my senior in school. I looked up to him during my years at IIT- Madras. He had asked for attached bathrooms for those with special needs before I came here itself. So, when I came here, the room had attached bath. He used to help me and guide me a lot when I was here. I evolved as a person in these four years, both academically and personally. It has been a great experience studying here. The people I was interacting with were so brilliant that I felt privileged to sit along with them in the class. Just by speaking to my lab mates, I gained a lot.
'There are more good people in society than bad ones'
Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to Prof Pandurangan and all my lab mates. All were simply great. I was sent to Boston along with four others for our internship by Prof Pandurangan. It was a great experience.
Joining Google R and D
I did not want to pursue PhD as I wanted my parents to take rest now. Morgan Stanley selected me first but I preferred Google because I wanted to work in pure computer science, algorithms and game theory.
I am lucky
Do you know why I say I am lucky?
I have to mention about Jaipur foot. I had Jaipur foot when I was in 3rd standard. After two years, I stopped using them. As I had almost no stems on my legs, it was very tough to tie them to the body. I found walking with Jaipur foot very, very slow. Sitting also was a problem. I found my tricycle faster because I am one guy who wants to do things faster. One great thing about the hospital is, they don't think their role ends by just fixing the Jaipur foot; they arrange for livelihood for all. They asked me what help I needed from them. I told them at that time, if I got into an IIT, I needed financial help from them. So, from the day I joined IIT, Madras, my fees were taken care of by them. So, my education at the IIT was never a burden on my parents and they could take care of my sister's Nursing studies.
Surprise awaited me at IIT
After my first year, when I went home, two things happened here at the Institute without my knowledge. I got a letter from my department that they had arranged a lift and ramps at the department for me. It also said that if I came a bit early and checked whether it met with my requirements, it would be good.
Second surprise was, the Dean, Prof Idichandy and the Students General Secretary, Prasad had located a place that sold powered wheel chairs. The cost was Rs 55,000. What they did was, they did not buy the wheel chair; they gave me the money so that the wheel chair belonged to me and not the institute. My life changed after that. I felt free and independent. That's why I say I am lucky. God has planned things for me and takes care of me at every step.
The world is full of good people
I also feel if you are motivated and show some initiative, people around you will always help you. I also feel there are more good people in society than bad ones. I want all those who read this to feel that if Naresh can achieve something in life, you can too.
He keeps wheels turning with eyes closed –Ahmedabad
Dalpat Rathod lost his eyes when he was just 15. It had all begun with a high fever accompanied by severe fits. His father, a daily wager, had rushed him to the hospital but by then the damage was done. He was cured of the fever but could not see again. "It was like being plunged into darkness. It was very depressing at first but I fought back with help of my parents," recounts Rathod.
The boy who used to love playing and cycling with his friends, was suddenly staring into darkness. And, he had just begun the journey of his life. His die-hard attitude and determination to achieve self-sufficiency drove him through this difficult period. The first break came when the owner of a cycle-repair shop in Shahpur, very close to his house, agreed to take him as an apprentice in his shop.
"The last scene that I remember seeing with my eyes was my father riding his cycle home from work. I cherish that sight and hold it dear. I loved cycling and it was only befitting that I take up this trade," said Rathod. After 'graduating ' from the Shahpur shop, Rathod shifted to another cycle repair shop where he was paid much better. Every day, he travelled all the way from Shahpur to Chandlodia.
It has been 30 years, since then. He had become one of the most trusted workers and used to be entrusted even with the purchase of cycle parts needed for repair. "I took three years to understand this trade. I can do all kinds of cycle repair work, right from dismantling a cycle to repairing punctures," said Rathod. He got married later and has four children now. His cycle repairing skills helped him earn a decent living.
Today he is 65. He has become quite well-known among cycle shops of the walled city. They all fondly refer to him as Dalpat dada. Just some months ago, the shop at Chandlodia closed down and he started operating from home, doing what he knows best - repairing cycles. Though his children are married and doing well for themselves he has not given up his favourite trade.
Source: The Times of India
I'm V. Sivanandam, working as an officer in Oriental Bank of Commerce, Tiruchchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. I became blind at the age of 3 due to some fever. I did my graduation in English literature. Afterwards, I underwent a training course in braille shorthand in A.I.C.B, Delhi. After completion of that course, I worked as shorthand instructor there itself. In May, 1993, I joined as English stenotypist in the Head Office of OBC, new Delhi. In 1995, I got transfer to Chennai. My work at HO was highly appreciated. At the time of my transfer, one of my officials told me, "If you go on transfer, we will become handicapped"! After reaching Chennai, I involved in the union activities. I had aeen an Executive Committee member of Oriental Bank of Commerce Employees' Union (Tamil Nadu and Pohdichery) for the period 10years. I was elected a member of executive committee for 3 consecutive terms i.e 1997, 2001 and 2005 in tough contests. In 1997, I contested independently and secured highest votes in that election. The requirement of my representation was felt by the large number of comrades in the union. I suggested some amendments/new provisions in the byelaws which were implemented effectively. So, my presence in the committee was considered danger by the rival group. In order to prevent my victory in the union elections, rival group issued notices and displayed fosters and threatened me to be away from the union activities. But I did not mind of those. Besides, I also concentrated in my career. In this line, in 1998, I applied for the officers promotion test. But it was rejected by the bank without proper reasons which was not opposed by me. In 2001 and 2003, I appeared for the promotion tests without proper preparation. But in 2005, I passed the test. I was called for the interview also. At last, I was rejected due to the short of 1 mark to obtain a rank. But, in the promotion test of 2007, I scored 62/80 marks and stood at 58th rank overall. And also, I was the only candidate, who cleared the promotion test in the whole Chennai Region. Amongst all these happenings, my marriage took place in 1998. Now I have 1 son namely Gowtham, studying at 5th class.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 12:54|