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Disability is not a curse

Disability is not a curse

by Faisal Nawaz


I don't know from where to start but I can say that when disability arises a person has to face challenges and same happened with me. I am happy and thankful to the Almighty that he selected me for it from thousands of persons and made me so special that every one notices me when people have no time to see each other in this world.

I was born in 1983 in a lower middle class family of eight members. I have four brothers and one sister. I am second in number. I am affected with severe Kyphotic problem with restricted chest wall so I find difficulty in breathing and have post polio residual paralysis. My younger brother has neurofibromatosis 2 and Psedumeningoceile and has undergone number of surgeries for the correction of it in various hospitals in Delhi like St Stephens, Lok Nayak Jaiprakash, G.B Pant, Swami Dayanand, Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) etc. In short he is an MR patient, aged 24 years. He is running his small shop at his Delhi residence independently and facing number of problems due to his disability as NF2 can't be cured while rest of family members are physically normal.

Professionally, I am an engineer, working in Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore since October 2009 and involved in the R&D of solar filters using nanotechnology for the Astronomical Applications. I love to work on Instruments and different technical gadgets. I am operating Scanning Electron Microscope , Energy Dispersive Spectroscope etc. It was my childhood dream to became a doctor and serve the humanity. But I am not disappointed that I could not become a doctor. God has given me an opportunity to work for the patient care services in Neuro Electro Physiology Laboratory of IHBAS, Delhi. I worked here for two years as a part of paramedical staff and that was the first step of my confidence building where I learnt number of medical ethics. The passion of learning and curiosity about this field has increased in my mind all the more. I always think in a different manner and try to do the things differently and in an innovative way. On the final day of my PG , I decided to work for the welfare of people with disabilities and for this first I took the admission in PGDHR. Everyone laughed at me that what I was going to do. I has made the goal already that I would work only for the humanity till I am alive. I would do something good for the people with disabilities.

My Education

After facing number of challenges socially, physically and financially, I completed my education with of scholarships during graduation. I completed my schooling from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, did B.Sc Hons Electronics from Delhi University, M.Sc in Electronics from faculty of Applied Sciences, J.M.I, PG Diploma in Human Rights and Duties Education from Jamia Millia Islamia, Master of Technology in Nanotechnology, one year Diploma in Computer Application and Multilingual DTP from NCPUL, one year Diploma in Urdu language from NCPU, Certification in Hardware and Networking from MSME etc.


I did my training during M.Sc from Central Electronics Ltd,Sahibabad, UP and SSPL, Defense Research Development Organization, Delhi


I used to cover 40 kms daily from my house to the College in crowded blue line/DTC buses during peak hours. During my M.Tech I used to come back home at 11 PM as it was an evening course and simultaneously I used to work in IHBAS. Kyphotic patients face much difficulty in breathing. I also faced number of issues socially/physically too but I faced them all bravely. My breathing problem started from the childhood and became severe when I grew up. It was due to more than 50 degree curve in the spine and then surgery was the only option. I was operated twice within a period of15 days for my uninstrumental spine fusion at St.Stephens hospital in 1996. My whole body was covered with plaster (POP) for three months during summers. It was a very tough time for me. Then I joined B.Sc Math Hons in J.M.I in 2000 but then the doctors of the same hospital , admitted me for my polio shoulder surgery and did arthrodesis by putting two cross sectional screws to fused the bone. Again they put the plaster which covered my half of my body during the summer season. I lost one year because I had to withdraw my name from the course and had to take rest for one year at home. I took admission in Delhi University for my graduation and just after one year. I was again admitted for the screw removal as it loosened.

Few months back in August 2011, my childhood spinal surgery failed when I was working in the Lab in Bangalore. Every orthopedic surgeon referred me for the surgery but number of risks were associated if I went for the surgery. Doctors said that there would be a definite downfall if I underwent for the surgery as my oxygen saturation was 65 percent. The whole risk was associated with general anesthesia due to my restricted chest wall. After consulting number of hospitals in Delhi and Bangalore, I decided to go for the surgery in Bangalore based Manipal Hospital and took a chance. But all the departments there discouraged me for surgery. I told them that I would increase this saturation rate after exercises and I did that and proved that after 20 days. There was a noticeable rise up to 85 percent. This increased the confidence of the doctors and they admitted me for the surgery . They had already told that there 50 percent chances of my collapse. And if I survived then I would have to go on prolonged ventilation.They performed the surgery on 6th of January this year which took 7 hours. They implanted a rod with 8 screws, fused C4 to S2, and cut some ribs from the back. It was one the most major surgeries of my life and the miracle happened and I came back from the surgery alive. I told the doctors that I was a different kind a person and whole confidence came from IHBAS. On the second day of surgery, in the ICU, I stood without any help. Now only one issue associated with me was that I was on oxygen which was to be removed in the future but my spine is now fused. My doctors are very happy and appreciate for my confidence and passion to learn medical ethics and passion about to be involved in patient care services etc.

From that day onwards I have started one more assignment. I m doing counseling for scoliosis patients through online or to the Manipal patients by boosting their moral or telling negative outcomes of the scoliosis as it is a silent killer and patient approach the doctors at the last stage as no pain is felt by the patient.

Since last few years I have been working for as a volunteer for NGO's by giving my services in terms of sharing of information, moral boosting, awareness, information about govt schemes etc. I am doing this for my own satisfaction.

I think that disability is not a curse, it is God's gift for special persons.

Some lines by me

koyee saath na de agar mera, chalna mujhe aata hai

Faisal e sifat hoon main, udna mujhe aata hai

mushkil mein, takleefon mein,hansna meri aadat hai

har mouje hawadis se, ladna mujhe aata hai

milta hai sukoon mujhko, sohbat mein ghareebon ki

khudgharz ameeron se, bachna mujhe aata hai

hai zulm ameeron ka, dunia mein ghareebi hai

zaalim ke muqaabil mein, ladna mujhe aata hai

JhootOn ke farebon se, hai bayr sada SE mujhko

sacchon ki hifazat mein, marna mujhe aata hai

mitti se bana HOON lekin, mein asl mein hoon paani

behna meri fitrat hai, majdharon se nikalna mujhe aata hai

momin hoon musalman hoon, main ilm ka talib hoon

gardan ko jahalat ki, DABANA mujhe aata hai

Zaruratmandon se hamdardi, hai pyar khuda ki iss duniya se

Sacchai ki naseehat par, chalna mujhe aata hai

haamid hoon mohammed kA, seerat hai ravish meri

insaan ke aYBOn ko, dhankna mujhe aata hai

मेरा मानना है कि अपने लिए सोचा तो क्या सोचा, जो मज़ा दूसरों के लिए सोचने में है वो कहीं नहीं...मैं अँधेरे में रौशनी तलाशता हूँ क्यूंकि मुझे चुनौतियाँ पसंद हैं. बस अल्लाह से दुआ करता हूँ कि सब लोग खुश रहे!

Faisal Nawaz

The author writes regularly for CTH. He may be contacted at contact@crossthehurdles.org