It is an extraordinary story of an ordinary man. He was a coconut tree climber and a semi-paralysed who had to trek across a plateau to earn his livelihood. With grit and determination, a 59-year-old Shashi G from Thiruvananthapuram, dug a road for the past three years to make his house accessible to three wheelers to be able to travel on a vehicle to earn his livelihood.
Shashi G fell from a coconut tree 18 years ago. As days passed, his right arm and leg were paralysed which made it difficult for him to walk, as reported by NDTV.
To sustain himself and his family, he made a lot of requests to the village panchayat for a three wheeler so that he could earn without depending on anybody.
The panchayat refused because as there was no road to his house, and thus, it was useless to have a vehicle. Despite many requests, his petition was reduced to a topic of jest amongst the villagers.
In despair, the 59-year-old picked up an axe and started digging the plateau near his house. After working six hours daily for three years, he successfully built a 200-meter road to his house.
Initially, no one believed he could do this and constantly mocked him. But, they were surprised at how he defied his physical disability to construct the road.
Shashi G and his wife, teary eyed, reminisced about the three years of struggle and determination.
Now that the road is built, the panchayat has not yet arranged for a three-wheeler for him. He still hopes to earn his livelihood without depending on anybody else.
This heroic story of Shashi G resembles the story of famous Dashrath Manjhi of Bihar, who single-handedly carved a road through the mountain after his wife’s death due to lack of timely medical help.
India is not a disabled-friendly country. Time and again, we have seen physically disabled people denied work and education and dignified means of earning livelihood even after they prove that they are capable of doing the same. We also need to change the mindset we have. Instead of helping a man who is struggling alone to carve a road to his house, the villagers laughed at his idea. Wouldn’t it have been a faster and easier process had everyone come together? Despite all his struggles, the panchayat still denied giving him a vehicle. This says so much about the lack of humanity. How can we expect the next generation of people to have progressive and inclusive thought when we are setting such bad examples ourselves?
The Logical Indian requests the local governing bodies to help Shashi with a vehicle. We also salute his spirit and determination to work and be independent instead of claiming disability benefits.