CHITRAKOOT: For Jagadguru Rambhadracharya of Chitrakoot, who is himself blind from the tender age of two months, serving blind and differently-abled is a style of worshipping Lord Ram. This Padma Vibhushan awarded saint has singlehandedly established an intermediate college and Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University (JRHU) for blind and other differently-abled students of the country.
At present, 1,346 differently-abled students are pursuing various courses in the university and 200 others are studying in the intermediate college established by the saint, who now aims to ask the Central government to give B grade by NAAC, a national differently-abled centre or a Central University. “There are many schemes, reservation and a law for protecting their rights but the policy-makers should ask for themselves, has these blinds or physically handicapped children got what they deserve from the society,” questions Acharya Rambhadracharya, a PhD and scholar of 22 languages.
He still remembers the day when at the age of 11, young Girdhar Mishra, as his real name, was left at the home by the family as he was blind. On that day, the boy decided that he is not going to sit back in the house and let other pity on him but rather he will get educated and make others like him talented enough to stand on their own and get treated by the world with dignity.
“I always say, dream big and put all efforts to achieve your dream. Let difficulty come in your way because the more difficult the task, the more you are on the right path, which also stands true to my ‘small’ effort for doing something for these students,” says the lifelong chancellor of the university, which is perhaps the only of its kind in the country, providing food, boarding and education free of cost to all the students enrolled.
Jagadguru Rambhadracharya is angry by the policy-makers who endorse reservation for these differently-abled student too. “There should be ‘circumstantial reservation’ for these students, the more the level of disability, the more he or she gets the priority in getting employment in the 3% reservation provided to them. Then there should be no upper or lower caste because a blind is a blind, why treat them differently,” he said.
He is also unhappy by the way society accepts these children. “We want equality in feeling and behavior towards us, why treat us with sympathy? We are much talented then normal persons. Just give us opportunity and see sky is the limit for us,” he said.
The students are upbeat. “Earlier, my friends, relatives and even family members to an extent, treated us badly but now after being enrolled in this university, our lives had changed. The university gives us confidence and we are no longer a liability but rather an asset for our family and society,” said Sheela who is pursuing BEd from JRHU. The university provides professional courses like BEd, MEd, MBA, BCA MFA etc along with traditional courses.
“But this is not the end, I will continue to work for these children so that my efforts help out all the 6 to 7 crores differently-abled people,” Rambhadracharya said.
Times of India