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Posted at: Mar 14, 2018, 12:49 AM; last updated: Mar 14, 2018, 12:49 AM (IST)

More able than most

More able than most

Shiv Sethi

Empowerment is simply a matter of mind. It is, to a larger extent, our state of mind that empowers or disempowers us. In my college library, every day I meet such a symbol of empowerment who, defying all odds, betrays a sense of indomitable courage and dauntless spirit. 

At age 25, Mandeep Kaur has lent a new meaning and dignity to the concept of empowerment. She has not allowed her crippled body to be an impediment in her career growth. Her gentle demeanour instantly gravitated me towards her from the very first day she joined the college. Without the slightest trace of grimace on her face, she told me that the lower portion of her body was lifeless from birth. She cannot walk, but crawls. 

With her remarkable zest for life, Mandeep does not consider her situation a congenital flaw. Her story of relentless struggle has become an ever-flowing fountain of inspiration. She lost her mother in her tender years, intensifying her misery. Despite her father’s reluctance to send her to school, she resolved to slouch her way to the village school with her head held high. The treatment meted out to her was not one of compassion. 

On many occasions, she was reduced to the level of a laughing stock by her classmates, who would call her names. Not bogged down by insensitive remarks, she exemplified an inimitable sense of forbearance. After qualifying her matriculation examination, Mandeep’s father refused to let her study further and go to college. 

She planted the mighty Angad-like foot of her strong spirit on the ground and persuaded her father to send her to college. Eventually, he gave in to her steely resolve. She was now ready to face what would come her way in college with her dogged determination. In no manner could she be called disabled, as she was excellently differently-abled. Defeating the vicissitudes of a crippled body frame, this paragon of empowerment did her major in the course of library science with distinction. Her decision to find a job after higher studies failed to cut ice with her family. They were sure that no one would give her a job due to her handicap. But fortitude of this real-life hero made her win this battle too, and she secured the job of an assistant librarian in one of the best colleges of India. 

After her arrival in the college library, Mandeep introduced a host of innovative changes in its working. Her eyes lit up with more hope for her future. She stands tall in her spirits when the principal and the management of the institute proudly proclaim in various staff meetings that this lady of charisma and indefatigable zest did not get the job on humanitarian grounds; she rightly deserves this position. 

Hearing oodles of admiration coming her way, my friend Mandeep feels humbled and exudes a beatific smile through her mute lips.

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