People with disabilities have to face umpteen logistical problems and prejudice on a daily basis. They aren't presented with equal opportunities and many educational institutions aren't equipped to help them out. Despite this, many emerge as geniuses and prove everyone wrong- like the science maestro Stephen Hawking. Recently, we saw that a woman, Priyanka Thakur with 51% physical disability had ended up becoming a judge.
Now meet, Jyothsna Phanija, a visually impaired woman from Hyderabad who has become the youngest person to complete a PhD in English Literature from an Indian university. All this at the ripe age of 25.
Jyothsna was born with a hundred per cent blindness. However, that didn't stop her from pursuing her dreams. She completed her doctorate from English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad and inspired everyone.
Till she was in the 10th standard, she studied at a blind school but was later denied admission in junior college by the principal.
Talking about this, Jyothsna said, "Though I secured highest marks in tenth standard, the principal of Kaikalur Government Junior College, refused me admission to the college as I wanted to study History, Economics and Civics. This infuriated me and I took it as a challenge. Those two years, I was determined to show the non-disabled people what people with disabilities can do."
She wanted to pursue social sciences including History, Economics, and Civics. This discrimination infuriated Jyothsna and she took up the challenge to show “non-disabled” people what people with disabilities are capable of.
After that Jyothsna was on a roll- she won gold medals, scholarships and aced her exams. Finally, she got her PhD on Post Colonial Women Writers.
She even cleared the National Eligibility test by 2011, published ten research articles in books and journals, presented six papers at National Seminars and Conferences.
However, her problems didn't end as she faced a lot of discrimination when she went for interviews. People asked her how she will teach, how she will control the class and how would she take the class attendance. Despite all this humiliation, she didn't give up. She kept going for more interviews. Finally, she was selected for the post of Assistant Professor of English, at ARSD College, (University of Delhi).
Currently, she is teaching English Literature and Language to post-graduate and under-graduate students and is an inspiration to many. Kudos to you, Jyothsna, we're saluting your zeal.