ABU (Senior Group) Fine Work

"We blind people are second to none"
Rajender Kumar Kushvaha (30, male, India)

When society comes across the moving verses of Surdasa contained in "Soor-Sagar", then, we tend to get an impression about the visually impaired that every visually impaired person has a sixth sense which automatically starts functioning on account of absence of sight. That is why a visually impaired person assumes special abilities. But, that is not the case. A visually impaired individual is also having the same natural instincts and inclinations as any ordinary human being. He, too, is full of social consciousness, the curiosity to learn and find out and the ambition to prove himself successful in society. Whenever he comes across conducive environment and circumstances, he makes use of them, joins themainstream of people and demonstrates that the visually impaired are second to none.
However, about a century ago, the visually impaired were considered completely dependent, pitiable andhelpless. If a visually impaired child was born into a family, the society would look at that family rather differently. But, with the passage of time, the darkness of the world of the blind started getting dissipated. Louis Braille, the great personality who spread the light of knowledge in our lives, appeared on the scene. Whenever we, the blind people, introspect about our success, we cannot forget Louis, the Great. The point is clear: just as various educational equipment and scripts have been invented by sighted people, similarly, our Messiah , Louis Braille, by making the rare invention of the Braille system, has conclusively proved that our minds, too, have the outlines of creative development. We are not confined to mere bookish knowledge.
It was only some time back that we heard that a sighted lady having immense courage,named Sunita Williams, returned to earth after setting arecord of remaining in outer space for 195 days. Her space odyssey was carried out with the support and contribution of top scientists. But, on the other hand, at a time when there were neither the resources of themodern era nor was there any satisfactory development of education for the visually impaired, a blind lady, Helen Keller, created new records of higher education. Helen Keller was not only visually impaired, but she could not hear either. Yet, despite all these disabilities, this lady demonstrated to the world through her accomplishment, that visually impaired ladies do not, in any way, lag behind their sighted counterparts. She is the greatest idol of inspiration for us.
Today, we have high level of technology developed throughout the world. Various types of Braille equipment and educational resources are available for the visually impaired. With the application of all these technologies, the blind have, now, proved themselves successful in every sphere of education. Now, the visually impaired are in a position to compete with every able-bodied person at school, college and universities. Several examples are available in which we have topped the university. Thus, our social profile is raised and the blind get special respect and prestige in society. The result is that blind persons are able to perform much better at competitive examinations and to hold responsible and respectable posts in government and non-government Departments and continue hitting the headlines because of their particular achievements.
For example, look at the attainments of a blind lady, Nafisa Parvez Bohariwala. She is carrying out, with complete commitment, the challenging responsibilities of a Manager in a famous bank.
Similarly, Atul Ranjan Sahay is well ahead not only of the visually handicapped, but also the general public, in his search for new dimensions of human capabilities. He is, today, the Chief of Business Excellence, Jisco, an auxiliary company of the noted Tata Steel.
For example, how can we forget Dilip Loylka. If we are asked the question: "Who is the first visually impaired Chartered Accountant (C.A.) in India?" We shall announce his name in response. Not just that, he is also the proprietor of a petrol pump located near Kolkata earning the largest profit in that area. His active life is an inspiration for all.
It is a matter of utmost astonishment when a visually impaired person is presented in a government or private office after taking dictation at a speed of 100 words per minute and either typing it out or entering it on a computer. This can be an ordinary matter for us. But, the general public are often heard as stating after this: "The blind are second to none." Today, we have our presence in almost every department. The visually impaired are, today, working not only as teachers, lecturers and professors, but also as efficient advocates in law courts.
Keeping in view the intellectual and mental capabilities of visually impaired persons, the government has, now, identified for them, posts in administrative services as well and many of our visually impaired counterparts have been successful in this sphere also, during the last few years. All this is the outcome of our will-power and resolve.
It would be unfair if we did not talk of games and sports in the context of the above accomplishments of us, the visually impaired. We are deeply interested in Cards, Chess, sprints, kabaddi and swimming. Even our Cricket World Cup has also been organised during 1995~96.
All in all, we can conclude by saying that we are, now, equipped with skillsof institutional management and leadership abilities as well. We have, now, become fully alive to our responsibilities and basic rights, like everyone else. We, the visually impaired, can not overlook the fact that apart from our own hard work, commitment and diligence, our success and achievement carries with it the contribution of many well-meaning members of society. Now, society has a more positive attitude towards us. Therefore, we are now, getting convinced that--we , the visually impaired, are second to none.

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