We divide people basis their physical capabilities; some are called ‘Normal’ while some are called ‘Handicapped’! But we must not forget the fact that each of us is handicapped in one or other form. While it is easy to spot a physically disabled person, most of us are disabled emotionally or mentally as well.
A childish mistake for Pratap, a “dare” at the age of 5, left him bereft of all his limbs. The next 10-years of his life, he was confined to his home. However, he decided to fight back and today, he not only goes to work everyday, but earns well, has a family and is giving back to society in his little way.
35-year-old Raja Mahendra Pratap hails from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. His life completely changed at the age of five, when his friend threw a challenge that Pratap could not hold an iron rod into an open electric wire. At that tender age taking up this friendly bet, Pratap drew courage and held an iron rod into high voltage electric current. Within seconds electricity surged through his entire body and the accident resulted into amputation of legs and hands. Since then, till the age of 16, Pratap could never move out from his house.
As a child we can’t imagine if we are not allowed to go out and play. In case of Pratap, that was a distant imagination. He couldn’t even attend school from the age of 6 to 16. Despite coming from a middle-class family, his doctors, tailor and others would be called home for routine assistance.
Pratap credits his three elder sisters who stood by him and encouraged him a lot during these years of challenge. He gained immense knowledge by studying their books. Since he couldn’t walk, he would crawl on the floor which rubbed off his skin at the joints. Gradually he learnt how to walk. Similarly, with the help of his mouth and ankle, he would try to lift things. Today, he can, not just efficiently use the computer with his mouth and ankle, but also write with the help of his jaws and walk on his knees.
With his inner strength and determination, Pratap managed to clear his tenth and twelfth without attending school. After several years, Pratap was overjoyed when he could step out of his home and then there was just no looking back!
- He cleared his B.Com and completed his Finance and MBA from Osmania University
- He received scholarship from Delhi-based ‘National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People”
- The scholarship amount of Rs 1,000 for a year enabled him to complete his course in Finance
- Today Pratap himself gives scholarship to disabled students
Search For Job
According to Pratap, he would receive many interview calls while job-hunting, however, once the interviewers saw him, their attitude would change from an employer to a sympathiser. The outlook of society towards him disturbed him a lot, but he continued his search for a job.
Finally he landed a job as Assistant Manager in National Housing Bank, Delhi. Pratap’s job also changed the attitude of his father towards him. Currently he is placed with ONGC in the Finance and Accounts Department at Ahmedabad. He has full support of his colleagues and superiors. One of Pratap’s managers had quoted to The Better India, how he recalled when Pratap was asked to fill a form and his colleagues offered to help him, but he refused and did it himself.
Today Pratap draws home a handsome salary and has created a self dependent life of his own. He calls his wife as his source of strength in many ways and together they have a bundle of joy Kalp, who is now a ten-year-old boy.
WATCH PRATAP ADDRESSING A MOTIVATIONAL TALK IN 2018
Do not forget, all people whom we address as handicapped are capable in one or other way. They may look physically challenged, however, their inner strength and go-getter attitude could be way beyond the inclination of any physically fit human.
Pratap’s story is inspiring in many ways. Either he could have chosen to call himself a victim and be a burden on his family for life, or he could have chosen to take advantage through sympathy from society. However, he chose to demand his right to equality, respect and life with his hard work and self reliance.
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