Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dr. MA S Vaswani - Esha Achiever of the Month - Guest post by Sandeep Koul

Sandeep Koul has interviewed the second Esha Achiever for the Month too. :)
This is the interview, in QnA format.
Question :  “Tell me the story of your life in your own  Words.”

Answer : I was born in 1975 in a poor Sindhi family. I am the ninth child of my parents. I lost eyesight at the age of 2. But I was sustained by my
loving parents and siblings. I never felt the absence of sight. I played with sighted children and participated in all games. I used to bicycle with others in the neighborhood.

My parents had no idea about the education of blind. I could attend school at the age of ten. I could speak only Sindhi and Hindi languages but blind school at Nagpur imparts education only in Marathi medium. I could not speak Marathi so I had to learn Marathi to study
in the school. In spite of language barrier I always secured first rank in the class. The school was located ten K.M. from home and I had to travel daily to attend the school.

From 8th standard I joined an English medium school located only one K.M. from home. The text books of English medium are not available in Braille so I had to depend on my sisters and sisters in law for reading. Besides I had to take extensive notes in Braille.

In 1994 I achieved spectacular success in S.S.C. exam and stood first leaving behind all the sighted counterparts. However, this success did not come smoothly. I was marked absent for Chemistry paper and did not figure in the merit list. Later my answer paper was found and I had scored full marks in Chemistry. This brought my total scored to 662 out of 700 and I jumped to the top of merit list.

I repeated the same performance in H.S.C. exam and stood first in the merit list of Arts Faculty students. I was awarded The Indus Ind Merit
cum Means Scholarship from 1996 to 1999.


I had always cherished the dream of becoming a lawyer. But after teaching in coaching classes I discovered that teaching was my
passion. However, I began to seek employment before completing education.  I applied for the post of L.D.C. and was selected. I was
appointed in Pune and had to leave hometown Nagpur in 1999 after completing B.A. I stayed alone in Pune and continued studies at Pune University as an external student. I did not give up the dream of becoming a lecturer and acquired the necessary qualification. In spite of working full time in the office I completed M.A. in English in 2002 with first class. Next year (2003) I passed The State Eligibility test for lectureship in the very first attempt.
 My interest is not
restricted to studies only. I have successfully participated in extra
curricular activities like Chess, debate, elocution, quiz, essay
writing and poetry composition. I also play tabla.
In 2001 I married a partially blind girl from Nagpur who was also
studying in Pune. In 2004 my son Deep was born. In the same year I was
transferred to Nagpur. I applied for the post of lecturer in several
colleges in and around Nagpur but was not hired for being blind. In
2007 I applied for the post of lecturer in Shivaji University
Kolhapur, about 1200 K.M. from Nagpur. At last my dream came true and
I was selected for the post of lecturer. I decided to settle in
Kolhapur. After joining the Department of English Shivaji University,
I started working on my doctorate. In 2012 I completed PhD under the
guidance of Dr. C. A. Langare. The title of my Ph.D thesis is ”A
        Presently I am leading a successful and happy life with my wife and a
son. I have purchased a flat near the University campus. I spend most
of my time in teaching and research, (the two things I like most).
With computer, scanner and printer I execute all my jobs

Question : How do you motivate yourself to face the world every morning?

Answer : I begin my day along with my wife. We wake up our son and get him
ready for the school. I am eager to reach the department and deliver
my lectures. I never feel demotivated and need no motivation to face
the world. Rather I think it is the world that has to face me.

Question : The kudos palls after a while – so why go on?

Answer :  Although fame and glory are short-lived, they are worth having.
And one can achieve them again and again. Moreover, it helps one in
making good friends, and friendships are long lasting.

Question : It is so easier to accept the pity you are offered       than to
soldier on at an equal footing. What makes you choose the tougher
route, and where do you get the energy to do it?

Answer : I think it is not easy, but very difficult to accept the pity
that I am offered. I think I am equal and in many cases superior to
those who offer me pity. So why accept it? Pity is degrading for its
target. Moreover, most of the people offer pity in the name of god and
out of ulterior motives. I don’t believe in god, and I think offering
pity will do them no good. My thoughts and rationality are the source
of my energy.

Question : Do you not often encounter cynicism (external as well as internal)
and if yes, how do you cope with it?

Answer : External cynicism I do come across, but internal I don’t. Most of
the times I ignore the cynicism of others, and sometimes I try to find
out rational reasons for their cynicism.

Question : Did you have to struggle a lot to get where you are now? Can you
talk about one incident that encapsulates this phase?

Answer : Yes I had to struggle a lot to get here. It is very
difficult to name one single incident to describe that phase. I had to
struggle against all sorts of difficulties and problems which include
financial difficulties, non availability of study material in
accessible formats, travelling alone and all the problems and
difficulties that accompany blindness. The most serious problems that
I have to face are physical disability and social attitude to
disability. These problems I have to face and overcome on daily basis.

Question : What is your current goal? Where are you headed?

Answer : My current goal is to excel in whatever I am doing. I want to
keep my family happy and love them. I want to become a good teacher,
good researcher and a good friend. I am headed to becoming a good
writer. I am planning a few books about which I cannot tell anything

Question : Do you eat non-veg?
Answer : Yes I do.

Question : What is your preferred pastime?

Answer : Surfing internet, chatting with friends, reading and listening to music.

Question  : What kind of music do you like to listen to?

Answer : Gazals, and Hindi film songs of 60s, 70s and 80s.

Question : who has been the one significant influence on your life and how,

Answer : I cannot name any one single significant influence. All my family
members and friends have influenced my life, but none beyond a certain

Question : Do you feel loss of vision has been a debilitating factor, in your personal or professional life? If yes,how do you deal with / overcome the shortcomings?"

Answer : Of course loss of vision has several shortcomings, but it has not been a debilitating factor in my personal or professional life. I overcome the shortcomings with the help of my family and friends, and of course my inner resources.

Question :Do you encounter blind students? If yes, how does it feel?"

Answer : Yes I do. I feel good that more and more blind are studying and
trying to fulfil their dreams. I do all that I can do for them.

Question : Can you say something motivational for our audience, to wrap things up?

Answer : Don’t wait for opportunities or divine grace. Rely on your inner resources and fulfill your dreams. All the difficulties and obstaclescan be overcome.
 I quote a couplet by Nida Fazli
“Safar men dhoop to hogi, jo chal sako to chalo,
Sabhi hai bheed men tumbhi, nikal sako to chalo”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have had opportunity to meet this incredible man a few times. Every time you meet him you start respecting him more and more. Dear Vaswani Sir may your tribe Grow !. Thank you for this interview.