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CTH Story of Dr Satendra Singh
Dr Satendra Singh Phalswal, who in his own words about himself, says, "A student by choice, a doctor by profession". A firm believer in medical humanities, Satendra, is a human being par excellence. His students say that he is a great teacher, his friends say that he is a wonderul buddy, and his seniors have all allocades for him. Apart from being a doctor and a teacher, he is involved in many other activities like he is member of Medical Education Unit, Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Cell, Founder of Infinite Ability, involved in "Theatre for Oppressed", writes for medical journals, working as a member of many editorial boards of international journals etc.He has never learnt to lose and quit. Justice and equalty for all, is what he has always strived for. He likes to swim, loves holidaying at lakes sides, takes interest in photography and what not. Humble, polite, intelligent and a person with great sense of humour, Satendra has acheived all what anybody would dream of in a life...
Tell us about the rehabilitation programmes you underwent in your childhood. Were you a cooperative child or a difficult one?
I contracted polio at the age of 9 months and then it was an uphill journey for my parents. They did everything for me, acupressure, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy as well as operations. To be honest I don’t remember much as it was part of my life almost since its inception. I was a cooperative one but hyperactive as evident by two fractures in my right leg.
What has been the greatest motivating force your in life?
My mother’s blessings. She is not with us physically but always guiding us from the heavens.
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I followed the footsteps of my brother, who is now a Vascular Surgeon at Hyderabad. In our times there was no awareness and I had both Biology and Maths in XIIth class. There was a role model in my family to follow and also I want to explore more on Poliomyelitis.
Recently you have been instrumental in starting an interest group "Infinite Ability". What are the real objectives behind it?
I have observed that persons with disabilities have enormous potential, equal anger and almost same amount of compassion within them. It’s all about channelizing your energy into something constructive. Infinite Ability is a platform where disability can be explored through creativity by those in the medical field (students especially) as well as general public utilizing medical humanitarian approaches. The group is still at its infancy and will evolve on its own with contributions from all who have experienced some sort if disability in their life, be it temporary or permanent.
When you have some emotional outbursts, how do you overcome or handle them?
It’s but natural for PwD to have emotional outbursts in our system. Over the time I have developed thick skin and have become very patient. People around me are very supportive and I try to sort out the problems with cool head even though it involves fighting a long and lone battles.
How does your spouse take your disability?
She never found any ‘dis’ in my abilities and she is the main person behind whatever little I have achieved till now.
India is a disabled unfriendly country. According to you, where does the initial dent has to be made?
Nothing for us without us. There has to be a mandatory inclusion of person with disabilities in all spheres involving us.
Would you like to share some of your experiences with us when you felt discriminated due to disability?
It’s pretty normal to discriminate PwD in every sphere of life. Harsh reality but true. I have experienced it in a bus, was kicked out of reserved compartment despite having train ticket, sometimes among colleagues (very few of them) to as far as Health Ministry. The last experience was interesting, where I was not even called for a UPSC interview. I had applied under general category and they rejected me on the basis of disability as they told me that 'disabled cannot teach in a medical college'. It was only because of a court case that I was allowed to appear on the last day. I must mention that I am already working on the same post in a government medical college with my full participation.
What message would you like to give to PwDs?
Have patience. Stay longer with the problem and you will find solution. Do not tolerate injustice. Try to find a solution politely. Avoid confrontation as far as you can and when the water is above your head, fight for your rights. Only we can fight for our rights and with the advent of internet and RTI no one can stop you to fight your own battle. My personal experience is that if you work hard and hard then success will come on its own to you on a golden platter.
What do you think about Cross the Hurdles?CTH is a very nice initiative in the sense that it’s empowering PwD to work for a change. It’s an encouraging development of disability culture and peer support. Hats off Abha and CTH Team.
Dr Satendra Singh
Education: MD (Physiology), FSS, MBBS
Your favorite time pass
Your favorite food
Your favorite color
Zimbabwean cricket team and Anil Kapoor.
Where would you like to go for holidaying
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Your greatest strength
My confidence in my abilities and love of my students
Your greatest weakness
I find difficult to say ‘No’ at times
Your most valuable possession
My wife and my kids
How does it feel to be a father of two kids
It’s a bit of everything, a bliss, a chaos, a learning curve, responsibility and perfect life.
Success in not doing different things, its doing same things differently. For me the ‘process’ (journey) is more important than the final ‘outcome’(destination). If you are honest and doing cent percent than success will himself follow you.
Nothing is a failure, there are always lessons to be learnt and ways to do the same things differently
Your biggest dream
To visit Zimbabwe one day
Who is your role model
What makes you angry
People higher at the hierarchy doing nothing, disabled persons pitting on themselves, tolerating injustice and not fighting for their rights
Whom would you like to be born as
Dr Satendra Singh