Challenging Destiny – The Story of Suresh Meghwal

by Prakash Gupta

“I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is not”.

-Malala Yousufzai

Suresh who lives in the village called Majam of Gogunda block is different from other children of his age. He has been paralyzed since birth. Suresh is unable to walk properly as he drags his feet while walking. Despite this, he still walks alone to school daily; such is the passion for learning in this child.  Though he is differently – abled, he does not let his disability come in the way of his doing what he wants to do. He loves to write, even though he does so with much difficulty, as his hands have a tremor while writing. However, unlike other differently-abled children, Suresh’s story is inspiring and surprising. While interviewing the head of the upper primary school, Madam Seema we came to know about Suresh.

Suresh n Mom
Suresh with his mother
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We went to his place to know more about him. Suresh belongs to the Meghwal community whose traditional work is to skin dead animals to make footwear. Many of the Meghwals still practice the traditional occupation. Suresh is the only child in his family.  His father owns a small patch of land where he does cultivation and rears goats. The tiny plot of land (around 0.3 hectare) enables him to grow food enough to feed his family from one of the two cropping seasons. Due to lack of water, his family does not grow Rabi crops. During that part of the season, his father works as a labourer in the city. His mother runs a small grocery shop and they live along with his grandmother in a kutcha house built under the Chief Minister’s housing scheme.

Several people criticize the ‘No Detention Policy’ of the RTE act on several grounds. But Suresh’s case makes us ponder over the merits of the policy. Suresh is currently studying in class IV, but he is unable to read and write to pass any kind of exam whatsoever (be it written or oral). It is because of the ‘No Detention Policy’ that he has been able to study till now.

“If I fail him, I am sure he will leave the school immediately. He does not want his disability to be a reason not to study. Though he cannot hold a chalk or a pen properly, yet he will continue to put all his efforts till he writes it”, said Seema.  ” I wish RTE had some special provisions for disabled students like Suresh”, she added.

His mother wants him to study but she is afraid that poverty and the disability of her son might stop his education. “It is the motivation of Madam Seema that makes me to send him to school”, his mother said.

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