Person of the Week: Sushila Nagpal

Dear Readers,

In this interview series where we ask questions to people who are making a difference, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution to our society. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.

 

  1. Tell us something about yourself?

I come from a middle class family, I was not blind by birth but at the age of two I lost my vision because of a disease. It was very hard for my family. At around five years of age I was sent to a special school for blind children in Dehradun, I lived in a hostel there and studied till class 8thand then class 9th – 12th were done in New Delhi. I also did my college studies in New Delhi, it wasn’t easy adjusting with normal students around me, initially I had difficulty in getting a job but I joined a nonprofit that taught stenography and in March, 1986 I got a job at a bank.

Currently, I live with my husband and son in New Delhi and publish ‘Mahila Manch’, a magazine in Braille for vision impaired.

  1. After you and your family came to know about your impairment, how did you find the courage to go ahead in life despite this disability?

My impairment was hard both for me and my family, we lived in a rural area and some people went as far as to say that it’d have been better if I’d have died because I was blind on top of being a girl but my parents and siblings encouraged me. They motivated me to study and go ahead in life. If not for my parents, family, teachers, trainers and society I’d not be here today.

  1. What are some of the day to day challenges that you face and how do you overcome them?

In my opinion whole life is a challenge, many times it’s about talking to others and making them understand your problems, leaving the house, living in hostel and completing education to name a few. And another fact that there weren’t many books in Braille initially for blind students but we took help from others to overcome that, at least now that problem is not there.

Another major challenge is adjusting into society. Getting married, finding a job, raising children, maintaining house are different aspects of this challenge but if there are problems, there are solutions. Don’t think of yourself as a burden, have a positive outlook and be hardworking, respectful and kind toward others.

  1. What are some of the education resources that are available for differently able children and what should parents do?

There is no lack of educational resources, lots of Braille books are there, e-books, laptops, educational software and the internet has provided lots of opportunities. I’d say to parents is that understand the needs of your child, be positive and responsive. There are lots of scholarships that are available to differently abled students, social acceptance and inclusion also provide necessary encouragement.

  1. Do you think we are doing enough in our country for the development of people with disabilities?

India is a developing country and a lot of progress has been made in the development of differently abled kids but it’s mostly limited to urban areas, a lot still needs to be done in rural areas. There is lack of knowledge, awareness and financial resources. Sometimes timely care can avoid disability and superstition is also a factor into dealing with disability. So in rural areas we still need a lot of progress.

  1. Who is your ideal as a person and how do you keep yourself motivated?

There are a lot and I’ll try to name a few

My parents – they encouraged me to study, gave sanskars and a positive outlook

My teachers, especially Late Mr. R.P. Saxena, he was like a father to me.

All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB), New Delhi, Sec. General Mr. J.L. Kaul, under his mentorship I learned to be self-dependent.

  1. How did you came into association with this magazine for vision impaired?

My mentor at AICB Mr. J.L. Kaul motivated me to lead this magazine, he knew my strength and interests and through ‘Mahila Manch’ we hope that the difficulties that I faced should not be faced by others like me. So we cover topics related to overcoming challenges, development and sharing our experiences but it’s also an outlet for self-expression. We publish articles, op-eds written by vision impaired writers.

  1. How has technology helped you in your work?

IT has definitely helped in communication, brail and our day to day work. JAWS and NVDA are two such software’s that are developed to help vision impaired and blind persons. It makes it easier to read emails, connect to the internet. So technology is definitely a helpful tool.

  1. What are your aims for the future?

For future, I want to do more to help other people like me and I want to learn more, I have a desire to pursue Ph.D. I like teaching too and want to do something for girls’ education.

  1. Your message for our readers?

Disability is not a burden, the disabled don’t need your piety, they need your encouragement. Realize their strength and hardship. If possible, try to help in an encouraging and constructive way. Be respectful and polite to others.

 

13 Comments

  1. hats off to u sushilaji and your fighting
    you are an inspiration not only to the physically impaired but to all of us
    may God shower all his laurels upon you

    • Mudit Nagpal says:

      Hello Shobha Ji
      Thankyou so much for your wishes. Your appreciation motivates her to do more for the society and for the vision impaired.

      Mudit Nagpal
      (Sushila Ji’s Son)

  2. Supriya Pattnayak says:

    Dear Aunty

    Just like Mudit I too feel equally proud to be associated with such a strong and great person like you. You are an inspiration for many and I salute you for all your strength, your confidence to go further in life no matter what comes in your way. GREAT WAY to go aunty ..looking forward to your such motivating articles in future too….

    Love
    Minu

    • Mudit Nagpal says:

      Hi Meenu Dii

      I read each comment for Mumma today. She is really very happy and told me to specially reply to everyone with her blessings for you and your loved ones. Thankyou so much.
      Blessings from Mumma-Papa.

      Mudit Nagpal

  3. Sourabh Tiwari says:

    Namaste aunty ji,
    Aunty it was really motivating and inspiring going through your interview.It teaches us how to overcome different challenges in life and use your abilities to build a road towards success.

    I wish more people come forward and do good to our physically impaired brothers and sisters.

    JAI HIND!!

    • Mudit Nagpal says:

      Hey Sourabh

      Thankyou for your views. The basic idea of posting this interview was to motivate and give a good direction to young generation like you and myself. If even 1 or 2 people are benefitted from this, the idea of posting this interview will be successful. And mumma would be more than happy knowing this.
      Thankyou.

      Mudit Nagpal

  4. madan mohan singh rawat says:

    This is proud of us being younger brother of Sushila ji.

    • Mudit Nagpal says:

      Thankyou Mama Ji.
      Your support has brought her to this level.
      She has mentioned it above too that if her family would not have supported her, She would not have been where she is today.
      Her Blessings are always with you.

      Mudit Nagpal

  5. Anita Bhatia says:

    We are proud of you dear, you are an inspiration to the society. May God bless you with all the hapiness….more than you deserve.

    • Mudit Nagpal says:

      Thankyou Ma’am..
      I have conveyed your wishes to her.🙂
      Thanx a lot for your appreciation.

      Mudit Nagpal

  6. I am much impressed with your point of few that life is full of challenges and the main purpose is How to accept those challenge and move further ……with lots success, which I have seen in you. Firstly thanks a lot that your experience of life shown the motivation in front of us & we all elders and children always choose the right path ,according to you as well do something for those people who are helpless and try to motivate them……..
    God Bless You,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Have a bright future!!!

  7. Shanti semwal says:

    Didi ji
    The interview was splendid.
    You are an inspiration for those who wants to show their skill to society that being a disable person we dont need your mercy. Instead of it we want your cooperation and an opportunity to compete with normal person in society

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