Dhaval Khatri was a student of Lotus High School, Ahmedabad and wrote his board examinations in 2005. But Dhaval has no hands. He writes holding a pen between the stumps of his two hands. In 2003 he was celebrating Uttarayan Dhoka with his friends when touched a kite thread that was entangled on a live wire. His hands were amputated at the elbows. Under the inspiration of his mother, Dhaval took three months to learn to hold a pen with the stumps of his hands. He was expecting to score 60 to 70 percent in the exams. Jaganath Mahato of West Bengal has gone one better. He wrote his undergraduate examinations holding his pen between his toes because he does not have hands.

A handicap is a mental or physical disability. Those who are lame, deaf, blind, dumb, or with brain injuries are said to be handicapped because they cannot do all that other people can do or not as easily as normal people can do them. Some people are born handicapped while others like, Dhaval Khatri, become handicapped due to accidents or illness. People have such disabilities not because they want them. It is, therefore not fair to make fun of them and be rude to them. We show kindness towards them. They like to be loved and cared for as anyone of us does. Out of respect for the difficulties they face, today we do not even call them ‘handicapped’. We say they are ‘challenged.’

If by any chance you happen to be handicapped, that should not prevent you from doing what you really want to. You should not feel discouraged. All human beings, whether handicapped or not, have their own problems. Everyone faces difficulties in life. Secondly, if you are handicapped in one way, God will have blessed you with many other strengths that other people do not have. Thirdly, there are so many things you can do even if one or more of your faculties are damaged in one way or another. We can always find happiness in life by doing those things. There are many handicapped people who have done well and become great in life.

On May 16, 2004, Nawang Sherpa reached the top of Mount Everest. In July 2000 he had been knocked down by a bus and his left leg was amputated from the knee down. He used his artificial leg to climb to the top of the world.

Christopher Reeve died on October 10, 2004 nine years after being crippled in a horse riding accident. He had become famous playing ‘Superman’ in the movies.

A strong, healthy, young and handsome man like Reeve could not have had a greater tragedy than that of being totally paralyzed. He faced the challenge and became an even greater hero in real life by spending the remaining years of his life raising funds for disabled people.

On November 6, 2004 among the awards given by The Telegraph was one for Purnima Pramanik, a student of Greenfields School, who was born spastic and is mentally challenged. She has no father. Her mother worked as an ayah to bring up her three daughters. Purnima limits herself mostly to smiling and nodding her head because it takes her great effort to speak. She cannot get up from her wheelchair and struggles to move her fingers. But she does beautiful embroidery.

Ritu Rawal got paralyzed when she was three years old after she got brain fever. After passing out of her college in Delhi University, she did a course in fashion designing. She became a choreographer and later after producing several TV serials, she became the owner of a TV production company.

All these people were not discouraged from learning, growing and achieving success and happiness in life in spte of their misfortune. The problems or obstacles most of us have are far smaller than what these people and millions of others faced and overcame. 

We thank God for his blessings and confront our little difficulties with a cheerful spirit.

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