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Inspiring tale of visually impaired Kashmiri professor

Raouf Dar

Srinagar March 13 (KINS): Tariq Bashir, a 42-year-old resident of Shangus in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district has been visually impaired since childhood. However, that has not deterred him from reaching a place which even a normal person will find difficult to achieve. Despite his blindness, he has pursued higher education and is nearing completion of his PhD (doctorate).

Tariq has been visually impaired since childhood. Over the years, he received immense support from his family who wanted him to pursue higher studies and chase his dreams. He was taken to several hospitals in and outside Kashmir for the treatment but his family was told that he has lifelong illness and there was no treatment available anywhere across the world.

“I and my brother were born twin. We were studying in the same class in the same school in our village. He used to hold my hand and take me to school. Then my father, who was a teacher in the education department, used to study me at home. I used to record lectures of teachers and my father on recorder and listen to them later and make preparations for examinations accordingly,” he told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

After passing class 10th, he had to leave his studies for eight years. “Till class 10th, I used to study in a nearby school. But for higher studies, I had to go six kilometers away from my home and the situation was also not conducive in Kashmir so I discontinued education for eight years. Once I used to listen to the radio, one person who was also visually impaired shared his story of how he pursued higher education despite his disability. It stuck into my mind that if he can study why I can’t. Then I told my family and took admission in class 11th when I was 24-year-old. It was a tough decision to restart studies at this age but God’s will and family’s support, I restarted my studies. I then completed my graduation in arts from Degree College Anantnag. I used to take help of a helper to write my papers as I used to dictate him. Then after, I applied for post graduation admission at Kashmir University and got selected in History subject in open merit,” he said.

During his studies at Kashmir University, he used to stay at a varsity hostel with his friends. “These friends used to take me from the hostel to the class room. I used to record lectures on recorder or mobile and then study accordingly. The university professors also used to give me audio cassettes of lectures,” he said.

After his post graduation, he also completed his BEd degree. In 2009, he also got a job as a teacher in a school in his village where he studied for nine months. During those months, his students would hold his hand and take him to school.

Then he also got selected as 10+2 lecturer in a higher secondary where he studied History subject for several years.

In 2013, he qualified for the National Level Eligibility Test (NET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SET), which is mandatory to apply for assistant professor job in a college or university. In 2016, he got selected as assistant professor to teach history in Government Degree College. Everywhere he got selected in open merit.

Tariq keeps reading material available on his phone and then listens through software and teaches students accordingly.

He has also hired a driver who drives his car from his home to college and then brings him back.

Amid this he also continued his higher studies for the PhD degrees. “I have completed my thesis and my doctorate degree will be completed soon,” he said.

Tariq has a father, mother, and five siblings including two brothers and three sisters. In 2011, he also got married with an educated girl. Presently they have three daughters. “My wife and elder daughter also supported me a lot,” he said.

For him, listening to the radio and reading History books are his hobbies. “People should believe in themselves. I am visually impaired if I can do it, why can’t others? A lot of technology is available these days through which any blind person can study. One should find his or her abilities and capabilities and then chase a right path,” he added. (KINS)

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