Meet G Chandrasekhar Reddy, a resident of Jhatipadar, Ganjam, Odisha.
He has had 80% disability in both of his legs since childhood. And his right hand was severely affected in a later accident. Chandrasekhar’s family thought that this boy would be a burden to the household but Chandrasekhar proved the notion wrong. He never accepted himself as a burden; rather, he stood as a resource for himself despite his physical disabilities.
With the support of his father, a poor farmer, he completed his Diploma in Engineering in Electronic and Telecommunications. After this Diploma degree, the family commented on his disability by saying “Bahut hela, chhota ta tu aau kahin padhibu, ebe gaon re dukan kar,” (“You are a disable person, why to go for further education, better to have a small shop in the village.”)
Chandrasekhar decided to leave home. He moved to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, with several dreams and steely determination. “After coming to Bhubaneswar, I slept in the railway station; I struggled a lot because I had neither money nor anyone to help,” said Chandrasekhar.
After clearing entrance for a degree in engineering, he started approaching private engineering colleges but he was denied because of two disabilities together: one was physical and the other was financial. But Chandrasekhar did not succumb to the difficulties here as well.
He started meeting different officials for justice. Finally, he met the Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Higher Education, Government of Odisha, and persuaded him to help. The intervention of the government and support from a private engineering college fulfilled his dream of becoming a Degree Engineer.
Now he is pursuing BTech free of cost. He could convince a government organisation named VRC for Handicapped to help him in finding accommodation with All Odisha Orthopedically Handicap Welfare Association, Palaspali, Bhubaneswar.
After classes are over in the evening, he works on hardware for his sustenance. Chandrasekhar has been included in the list of the finalists for Mr Wheelchair, India. He also participated in the National Para Athlete Championship. He was also awarded for his art and craft work in a national level competition. To his credit, he has gotten about 45 certificates (from district to state to national levels) in various competitions of songs, arts and crafts, chess, javelin, etc.
Chandrashekhar said, “I will dedicate my life to the service of the people with disabilities, mainly I will link up the youth with disabilities to various jobs.” He expresses his deep gratitude to his friends, few officials and well wishers for giving him solidarity in his journey of life.
Written by: Md Imran Ali