By Ayaz Mughal
It was a fine morning and I was heading towards the Central Library of Jammu University, my sight stuck at a gentleman who had fixed his eyes on library building. He was sitting on the wheel chair, carrying a book, a notepad and a fountain clutched in his fingers. I passed him, stopped, turned and came back to him. With a thought that I should ask him if he wanted me to lend a hand said, “Dear, Can I help you?” “No sir, It’s all right”, he replied with a smile. I again impressed upon him if he needed any help. Again, he replied in the same fashion and started gazing at the library building.
It looked very eccentric to me, which ignited the desire of knowing what he was doing there. I just wanted to know what he was doing there and asked, “If you don’t mind, I want to know what you are staring at. Is there anything special? Please let me know.” He smiled, took a long sigh, kept silent for few moments and replied, “Sir, I am dreaming…..!”. “What…” I exclaimed. It was an annoying reply, which constrained me to think that ought that he might be making fun of me. It infuriated me for a moment but I controlled my antagonism.
However, it increased my keenness and I again asked the same question differently, “I just want to know if I can help you in some way, Please tell me”. He looked at me with a smirking expression and replied, “Sir, I mean what I say. I am dreaming…., I am dreaming to get inside and study while sitting with my fellow friends in the library”, he added.
I quickly replied, “So what? It’s not a problem, I will help you get inside the library hall…?”.
“No… No… No…, It’s not what I mean, Sir.”, he instantly retorted.
“So what?”, I asked.
“I am not dreaming for myself, rather it’s a dream for all my colleagues who wish to live like others but are not able to do so”. He said. “This is our central library, common place for all the students from within and outside the campus. But, unfortunately there is no infrastructure available for the disabled students. No ramps and disabled-friendly toilets available in the building. I wish, if there is ramp alongside the stairs to facilitate effortless accessibility to the library. We have cried a lot of time but the university administration has been adamant and heedless towards the problems faced by us. This is my dream that I wish to be substantiated and I am ready to go to any extent for a tangible outcome so that all my disable friends could take the sigh of relief”, he added further.
I was stunned for some time and he has left an impression on my heart and mind. Suddenly I realized that it is not an issue of central library but that of every public place. Railway stations, Post Offices, Public Offices, Educational Institutions, Hospitals etc.
Hob’ble Governor of J&K and Chancellor of Jammu University Sh. Satya Pal Malik is requested to make necessary arrangement with regard to providing lifts, ramps or some support (railing) for the handicapped people at the public places so that the persons with disabilities may move freely and reach those places without any difficulty.