Rajinder Johar was working as a Senior Occupational Therapist at King George’s Medical College, Lucknow when an injury to his spinal chord in 1986 rendered him quadriplegic (paralysis of all four limbs). He was shot by three men demanding money during a home invasion robbery. He was rushed to the hospital where he and his family were devastated to learn thathe would be forever paralyzed. One of the robber’s bullets had irreparably damaged his spine! That alone should have made him give up on life and die a miserable death. Did he throw the towel and curse the once beautiful life he had?
Never one to feel sorry for himself, Johar learned to type using just two fingers and a thumb and started The Voice, a magazine that helped to create awareness for people with disabilities. How did he manage that?
He propped himself up on his pillows, got a phone installed next to his bed, designed a writing tool—a combination of a steel ballpoint pen refill and a geometrical compass—which he strapped to his wrist and started writing!
Isnt it ironic that a man declared 100% disabled after the accident, which rendered him paralysed neck downwards, and a ‘vegetable’ like we Nigerians would say shows an uncommon resilience that has enabled hundreds of disabled individuals to live an independent and financially secure life. They have not only become self-reliant but can now take care of their dependants too.
He contacted hospitals and resource centres for information on the disabled and slowly drew those who responded into the warmth of his Family circle. “We begin with interaction. Most handicapped people feel isolated. They suffer from depression and an acute sense of despair because they feel they cannot communicate with the so-called ‘normal’ world,” explains Johar.
‘Members need only pick up a phone or write a letter to receive a fresh lease of life through counselling, group activities, promotion of individual talents, cultural events, latest news on medical advancements and, in some cases, monetary help’, he said.
He has since received thirteen awards including the prestigious National Award, Red and White Bravery Award, from government and non-government agencies for his selfless services to the disabled people.
Friends, you will eventually run out of excuses. There’s a limit to grief. Tears dry up, and the old lust for life surges back till it becomes a tide, so dust your self up and remind life THERE IS AN ABILITY IN ANY DISABILITY.
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