By SHABIR ALI
“I would take a tape recorder to class and record the lectures. Then I would listen to them repeatedly and in the examination hall dictate it to my scribe,”
He was born blind but that did not dampen his spirit to pursue education and realize the dream of his parents.
Tariq Bashir Khan, from a remote village in Shangus, Anantnag, was born visually-impaired and over time gradually lost his eyesight.
“I faced many difficulties during my studies, but I never let my will and strength die. Till class IX the problem was not so severe but in class X I lost my eyesight completely, which forced me give up studies for five years,” Tariq says.
Tariq dropped out of class X and would sit home all the time, helpless and hopeless. Then, one day, he listened to an interview of a blind person on the radio and he was inspired to resume studies. “As I was not able to do any work at home, I would listen to
radio most of the time. One day, a blind person who had achieved great success in his life was being interviewed. Listening to how hard he had struggled to achieve his goal inspired me and I decided to carry on my studies,” Tariq says.
He faced many difficulties but Tariq managed to overcome them and passed class X and XII with first division. “In matriculation exam, the state board authorities were initially reluctant to allow me a scribe to write for me but later agreed,” Tariq recalls.
He didn’t face any such difficulty in class 12. “I had laid to rest all the doubts of board officials while they were supervising my matriculation exams and so in class 12, they easily granted me permission for a scribe,” he says.
Tariq went on to graduate and then sat for the entrance test to post graduation
in History in Kashmir University. He qualified and completed his degree in 2009.
He did not stop there. Tariq appeared in the entrance test for M.Phil and topped the exam. “But I could not complete M.Phil as I was selected as a lecturer the same year,” he says.
What is remarkable is that Tariq did not take help of the Braille that is used to teach visually-challenged people. He instead used a tape recorder to learn and remember things.
“I would take a tape recorder to class and record the lectures. Then I would listen to them repeatedly and in the examination hall dictate it to my scribe,” Tariq explains.
Tariq wanted to go further. He qualified the civil services prelims exam but the authorities thwarted his dream to sit for the mains. “In 2011, I qualified the KAS prelims for which I was provided a scribe. But when it came to the mains, they refused to provide me a scribe saying there was no such provision for the mains. I pleaded to them but they did not listen,” Tariq complains.
Tariq is satisfied with what he has achieved but is pained by the discrimination the disabled have to face from the government and the society as a whole. “With the help of God, I have achieved what was beyond my imagination. My parents wanted to see me as an educated person and their dream has come true. But the authorities not allowing me to appear in the high-profile exams on the grounds of my disability is
something that pains me deeply,” he says.
For those at the helm of affairs and the society at large, Tariq has some advice: don’t treat people with disabilities as useless. “Specially-abled people can also do well provided they are given a chance. But here both the authorities and the society treat them as nothing more than a burden,” he says.