Life throws many challenges to all of us. While some succumb to their miseries, there are a few who deal with their problems with grace and dignity.
The 29-year-old Mohammad Iqbaal Ganie, a differently-abled man from Boh village in Damhal Hanjipora area of south Kashmir's Kulgam district is a prime example of that.
Instead of living on people’s mercy, Ganie chose to live a life of honor by setting up a unique shop on his wheelchair.
The specially-abled man is usually spotted selling his stationery, daily-use small items in the old City area of Srinagar on his wheelchair.
Ganie told Rising Kashmir that for the past 16 years, he is living in rented accommodation in Khanyar area of Srinagar and has modified his wheelchair to convert it into a mobile shop,” he said.
As per Iqbaal, from his birth he could not walk on his own, but he never lost his hope. Despite facing multiple problems, Ganie never allowed the circumstances to dampen his passion for earning bread on his own.
“Each day, I buy small daily use items from a wholesale dealer in Maharaj Gunj market, and later sell it in and around the old City on my wheelchair. I purchase items as per the market demand. When schools are open I will usually buy stationery items. Unfortunately there is less demand for such items due to Covid-19,” he said in a fumbled voice.
Iqbaal has also performed ?Umrah’, an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in the year 2019, and says that one should not lose hope. “Life is a gift from God and we should not waste it in bad works. Instead we should try to do as much good as possible, he said.
"Physically handicapped people like me should believe in themselves. If they have strong willpower to work hard and earn then they can definitely earn their living by working on their own," Iqbaal said.
He said that he has disability certificates but so far the document has not benefited him anyway.
“I even visited the former Chief Minister, Social Welfare Minister and many other bureaucrats. They did not approve a scooter for me and left me hopeless. From that time I never sought favour from anyone and relied on myself only, he said.
Iqbaal believes people like him, who are really willing to work and earn, should never beg for money.
Vouching for the sincerity and honesty of Ganie, Muneer Ahmad Haka, a shopkeeper at Khanqah-e-Moula shrine in old City told Rising Kashmir that he was quite impressed after seeing Ganie’s will-power and passion to work.
“I have known him for many years. He is honest and has a good character,” he said.
Haka said instead of begging on the streets, Iqbal is the inspiration for all of those youth who are claiming that there is no employment avenue in Kashmir. He never misses his five-time salat and always performs Ashr Salah at Khanqah-e-Moula each day, he said.
“I request others who are physically handicapped and believe in begging to earn their livelihood to learn a lesson from Iqbaal so that they could also earn with honesty and dedication,” Haka said.
"There are thousands of private jobs, but our youth hesitate in doing that. We should encourage our youth to earn their livelihood with honesty and not by doing wrong things," he added.