Visually impaired who set their sights on success

June 4th, 2009 - 10:36 am ICT by IANS  

By Soudhriti Bhabani
Kolkata, June 4 (IANS) Mohammad Asif Iqbal, 30, went door-to-door to enlist in a private tutorial before appearing in a management entrance exam, but was refused every time. Reason: he was visually impaired. But Iqbal finally cracked the entrance test on his own.

Iqbal, now working as a senior consultant in an MNC firm after passing out from a prominent private MBA institute in Pune, is not the only one who succeeded. There are many who rose above the social impediment and succeeded in different walks of life.

People like Dilip Loyalka, a chartered accountant by profession, Ashish Jha, an IT security specialist working in an MNC software firm, and Vikram Dalmia, a successful entrepreneur, faced similar hurdles and proved themselves winners.

“We’re as able as anybody else in society,” Loyalka said.

It was an interactive seminar, jointly organised by the trade body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Welfare Society for the Blind, where people with disabilities (PWD) came and shared their experience of life and especially their struggle to combat day-to-day odds.

“We (the visually impaired citizens) don’t want sympathy from people but we’re looking for opportunities to prove our ability to work and perform like any normal man,” Iqbal said.

According to the 2001 census, there are over 21 million people in India - equivalent to 2.1 percent of the population - who are suffering from one or the other kind of disability.

Among all types of disability, visual impairment is the most prevalent, contributing almost 48.5 percent of the total figure.

India has a law, Persons with Disabilities Act, that focuses on equal opportunities and protection of rights for persons with disabilities. India recently ratified the UN convention to promote and protect the rights of PWDs (persons with disabilities).

“But the nation has hardly been successful in integrating people with disabilities into the mainstream. So, it is essential to create awareness about the role of technology in empowering people with disabilities,” a CII official said.

She said the CII would also conduct a survey to find out the position of PWDs in India and how they are placed in the industry with regard to proper job facilities.

(Soudhriti Bhabani can be contacted at

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