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Born without arms, Sultan didn’t take a back seat
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Born without arms, Sultan didn’t take a back seat

Post by on Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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Born without arms, Muhammad Sultan Ratherfrom Wussan Bangil area of Tangmarg in Baramulla did not loose his courage, instead he taught himself to write with his feet.

A few years after his birth, he tried to stand seeing other kids doing the same but he couldn’t. The specially-abled boy didn’t stop dreaming big. Once, he started walking, he realized that there was a different world outside the home.

For Rather’s fortune, there was Government Middle School near his home. He started going there to attend morning assembly only. Once he learned to go there, he was later admitted there.

In his early age, he was not interested in studies as he would face difficulties in writing as he had to do everything without his arms. But the teachers of the school encouraged and guided him to write with his feet.  

“With the passage of time, I learned to write by my feet and it was a blessing. For teachers, it was a new experience and they were very helpful. I was the only such student there but despite that they helped me a lot to ensure I study well,” Rather said.

He said the school was the cornerstone of his entire life and that motivated him to progress in studies. Besides that, he also participated in other activities.

Rather said his parents weren’t educated but he dreamed of pursuing education to make them realize that he can compete with other students. He made it a reality and that totally changed his life.

After passing 10+2 from Higher Secondary School Tarhama, he joined GDC Bemina where from he completed his graduation as a regular student.

Despite his physical disability and low financial resources, he successfully competed with normal students and for all these years till graduation, he passed with a good percentage.

“Many would have cursed themselves for being born with such physical deformity, but I accepted it and took it as a challenge,” he said.

33-year-old,Rather taught himself to manage most of the chores without any assistance. “I use my feet to write, to wear clothes, put on my socks and shoes, flip pages of a book or use the toilet. I can do almost everything except fasten my waist belt,” he said.

Soon after his graduation, he went to Kashmir University where he pursued his post-graduation in education, followed by B.Ed. and M.Ed. besides qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET). He has received many awards including student of the year at KU during his PG in 2013.

“We should always remain focused. Ups and downs are part of life. We have to face difficulties in order to succeed in life. I used to go college normally and it was not new for me. I had never thought I will comb my hair with foot and will be able to perform all other activities,” he said. 

“My education journey has been full of hardships. Boarding a bus during rush hours was very difficult for me. Even there is no special provision for physically challenged students like seating arrangement in classes, while writing exams, sports facilities for specially challenged students etc.,” he said.

Rather said there are certain areas where physically challenged people face a lot of problems and even negligence from the authorities which discourages them from moving ahead.

“There have been times when I wanted to give up my studies. Because of some negative-minded persons in our society, who sometimes used to tease and discouraged me,” he said.

Rather was later appointed as Counselling Assistant at the specially-abled cell of the University of Kashmir. He currently pursuing integrated PhD in special education at the varsity.

At the varsity, the specially-abled cell has been created to meet the special needs of such students and the students who are underprivileged.

“We teach and counsel the specially-abled students. There were some students who were disappointed and were ready to quit studies due to various reasons, but we counseled them and today they are working in many sectors and are living a successful life,” he said.

The varsity has also started a program “meet the eminent personalities” in order to encourage the specially abled to move ahead and how to handle the problems.

He said every year, 60 to 70 specially-abled students are admitted in different departments in Kashmir University and get registered at the special cell and that is possible only with the help of special counsellors. They are provided scholarships, aids and appliances as per their need and requirement. 

“In addition to specially-abled students, I also cater to the normal students and counsel them for the better career opportunities. When they see me working and running the computer without arms they get inspired and keep asking me questions,” he said.

On the other side, the special cell has also started creative teaching methods for specially-abled students to ensure them to complete their education without any hindrance. 

The cell provides audio recorders for visually impaired students so that they can record, and listen the lectures at home. Also special classes are arranged for the visually impaired students and those students who have hearing issues.

“We want to give them education. If they do not get proper education they would not succeed in their life. We specially focus on their education,” he said.

Today, optimistic Rather drives his car and comes back to home daily from the varsity. He is also a para-taekwondo player and lives a happy and satisfied life. He is the first person from Jammu and Kashmir who drives with foot.

The Sports Council awarded him a cheque of Rs 80,000 on the occasion of International day of Persons with Disabilities for participating in 9th World para Taekwondo Championship held in Istanbul Turkey in December 2021.

He was also invited as the special guest on DD Kashir in Hum Qadam program last year and Good Morning J&K program in 2017. 

Rather said he wants to help his parents in their old age and the poor students who face some kind of disability. He said that his parents have helped him all along and were always there when he needed them the most.

“I am very thankful to my parents who stood behind me in every situation and the credit of my success goes to them and I am proud of them,” he said.

A team of doctors from Dehradun approached him to plant artificial limbs for beautification and was told that the artificial limbs would remain hanged on his shoulders without any movement or life. But he refused that saying it would burden his shoulders.

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