Hyderabad: Disability is merely in a person’s mind and this has been proved by the recently released UPSC results. Over 29 differently-abled candidates have made it to the IAS selections. Of these, there were 9 orthopaedically challenged, 8 visually challenged and 12 hearing impaired candidates who have made the cut. These candidates have stated that it took a lot of hard work and support from people who thought beyond their disability like their teachers and parents.
Saumya Sharma, who bagged the ninth rank was a hearing-impaired candidate. She said, “I would study for a minimum nine hours and I want to tell all follow aspirants not to lose heart and always be confident despite whatever hurdles they face. I was suffering from high fever during the exam as well and I was given saline drip by my parents who are both doctors even between the morning and afternoon session of the exam. We stand to lose only our confidence if we give in to our problems and difficulties.” She further stated if they received support from their loved ones, then nothing else mattered.
The UPSC results have once again stressed on the importance of inclusivity in our education system. “When I was in the third standard, my classmates told me that if they sit next to me, they will also get infected by polio,” said Balalatha Mallavarapu, the 167th rank holder of the All India Services Exam in 2017. Affected by a polio drop reaction, both her legs were paralysed and after facing discrimination in school, she was home schooled till graduation. “Why do they believe that we are not capable?”
“The government has amended the Education Act but our education sector continues to neglect special children. Special educators are not hired in schools which is a huge barrier for our children,” says Kalpagiri S, National Convener of Special Educators Forum, India.