Once an object of ridicule, Gattipally Shivpal is now a proud man. He might just be 3 ft when it comes to height, but today he is standing tall in the dwarf community by becoming the first dwarf in India to earn a driving licence.
Shivpal finished his training in 2004 and was the first to complete it like a handicapped in his district. Shivpal, 42, works in a private company in Hyderabad .He realised the need to be self-reliant since it was getting increasingly tough for him to travel, given his short stature.
He recalled not able to being able to drive and having to depend on cabs and any other public transport.
"But a few cab drivers and some random people on the road would pass comments on me. So, I decided to learn to drive a car," Shivpal told Telangana Today.
The resolve became even stronger when he watched a video of a dwarf man in the US driving a car. To gain an understanding of the mechanics, he even travelled to the US. After comprehending that driving a car was not impossible for him, he met a man who customs designs cars in Hyderabad.
'120 Driving Schools Refused To Teach Me'
Shivpal then customised his car to suit his needs. The pedals were heightened than usual so that it was within the reach of his legs. However, his problems did not end there. Despite having a car, it became difficult for him to learn driving as over 120 driving schools in Hyderabad refused to teach him, citing various reasons. Finally, his friend Ismail decided to help him out. Getting a license proved yet another stubling block as the transport department had certain guidelines for height. Shivpal said that after appealing to the authorities, he obtained a learner's license for three months and then received a driver licence after giving a proper driving test with an official sitting beside him
Today, he holds the Limca Book of Records, Telugu Book of Records, and as per him, even the Guinness World Record for holding a driving licence in the dwarf category.
From Being A Student To A Teacher
Shivpal is now teaching his wife to drive. He has plans to open a special driving school in Hyderabad to help many dwarf people become self-reliant. The Telangana Government has approved his gears automatic vehicle.