If you are low, uncertain about your future and feel pessimistic came and meet Ghulman Khan. The first time I met him and tried to start a conversation he told “I am very busy these days. I have to study and I shall talk to you later”. Ghulman Khan is 80% physically disabled. He is locomotory handicapped his one leg is not working, so he has problems with walking, his backbone has suffered and he face problems in speaking. He comes from the District of Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh and studies Diploma in Electronics in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
I asked him how come you come to Delhi. I could not comprehend how a person, who could barely walk, could come from a small town to a fast moving city like New Delhi. But Ghulman was determined to study from his initial days. He belongs to a family of agriculture, his father being a farmer. His family background made his study difficult and his coming to Delhi seems almost impossible. Ghulman khan nevertheless chose to study and successfully cleared the entrance for Jamia Millia Islamia and was also selected for undergraduate studies in Science in Degree College Sambhal.
Ghulman Khan was very shy and introvert at the beginning. He didn’t want to be interviewed. He likes being himself solitary and goes ahead with his dreams. When I obliged him to talk he didn’t refused. Being anyone coming to Delhi, whether studying here or working, one has to come across multiple problems. The same goes for Ghulman. “I face problems while travelling in Delhi. But, the people in Delhi are cooperative, especially for me. I get the seat in DTC buses very easily. They are reserved for me. People leave the seat once they see me.” Once I questioned about his experience in other cities, he replied that he hadn’t went to any city except Delhi.
Talking about Delhi and his home city Sambhal, I talked to him about his study in Jamia. “There are ramp facilities for the Physically Disabled in Jamia. Though most buildings have a toilet facility for Physically Disabled students, the Reading Hall of the Zakir Husain Library doesn’t have one. I have written an E-mail to the Vice Chancellor to make a separate provision for the Physically Challenged students.” While I was talking about how other Physically Disabled students face the similar problems, Ghulman showed how he along with other Physically Disabled students of Jamia Millia Islamia have organised themselves in a Whatsapp Group. The students have organised themselves because the issues they face on a daily schedule could only be realised and addressed through themselves. People talk about Gender Rights, LGTB Rights, but they fail to notice how an important section among them goes unaddressed.
“What would you do for other Physically Disabled people around you if you get a chance?” I asked Ghulman. Ghulman replied that he would provide them education. “Education makes one self sufficient. They should come out and study”, says Ghulman. He also adds that Education has been much easier with the coming of technology. When I asked him whether Physically Disabled students any aid from government, Ghulman replies “No sufficient aid has been provided by the Government. I applied for MOMA scholarship but didn’t received it.” MOMA or The Ministry of Minority Affairs provide financial aid to students from Minority Community. But it hasn’t provided scholarship to many students including Ghulman for the session of 2016-17 which was due this year.
Ghulman is currently preparing for SSC, MTS and other competitive examinations. He is adamant about his future and sees himself self sufficient in the next ten years. He has an electronic wheel chair provided by the Delhi Government. He uses it to travel to the college and the library. He has developed to make himself self sufficient. When I asked Ghulman whether he has thought about quitting studies, he replied that he hasn’t imagined one. Ghulman is optimistic. He knows about his shortcomings, so he is well prepared. He didn’t like obstructions coming his way. If at all there are any, Ghulman trudges forward dragging his problems alongwith. True, the obstructions slow him down but he is reluctant to move forward.