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Where you focus your energy determines where you will go. If you focus on the setbacks and challenges it brought you, you can’t move forward. Courage and determination has proved that no one can stop you from achieving what is meant for you, all it requires is just the morality, hard-work and perseverance.

Growing up with scoliosis; a medical condition causing uneven musculature on one side of the spine and topping UPSC civil service exam which is country’s most prestigious examination is Ira Singhal from New Delhi. It was back in 2010, passing Indian Revenue Service Examination (IRS) was not enough as authorities cited her “inability to push, pull and lift.’ She was refused a posting because she suffers from scoliosis or curvature of the spine. Ira’s success is a story of her acute struggle as she has never allowed her disability to stand in her path because she knew that this rule cannot stop her from achieving what she has already achieved. She filed a case in Central Administrative Service and after 4 years of patience she won the case and finally given a post.

Let me introduce you now to Nagpur’s Shrikant Pantawane, who dreamt to drive a three wheeled vehicle was an auto-driver and son of a security guard, started working early in life as a delivery boy to support his family’s unstable finances. Shrikant still sits behind a three-wheeled vehicle, but now it’s not his auto-rickshaw, but an aircraft. Yes, he is first officer at Indigo Airlines. Once when Shrikant had gone to the airport to deliver a parcel. His conversation with a tea-seller outside the airport apprised him of a pilot scholarship program by the DGCA. There was no stopping for Shrikant after this. Shrikant passed the examination with flying colours and got his commercial pilot license.

Yet another, Poet Haldhar Nag was bestowed India’s third highest civilian honour Padma Shri  by President Pranab Mukherjee. The most notable about the achievement of the 65-year-old man, who writes in Kosli language, is that he has hardly attended any formal schooling; only upto class III and being born in a poor family in Odisha, Nag was forced to drop-out from school to support his family after the death of his father. He did odd jobs like washing dishes, and cooking at a school for years until he opened a small stationery shop near a school. It was during this period that Nag started writing. His first poem, ‘Dhodo Bargachh’ (The Old Banyan Tree) was published in a local magazine in 1990. I wonder why so much credit is given to the formal schooling and literacy. Literacy actually means an ability to read the written matter. In that sense, almost everybody is an illiterate, because out of millions of scripts and languages we know just a few. Wisdom and feelings are natural, and so are the expressions, verbal or written in an script. Today, the World is full of literate ignorant people. We need more of illiterate wise people to make it a better World.

Above all, these are the real Indian heroes to be proud of .  One should ever let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. If you got a dream you have to protect it. It is when people can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. Fearing your dreams is a choice and the only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist.

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