S hweta Mandal, a visually impaired student, will be awarded a gold medal for having topped the Masters in Human Rights programme from Ranchi University in 2013. At the 29th Convocation which will be held on Wednesday, she will be accorded the honour by Jharkand Governor Droupadi Murmu.
A feat for any student, she pursued her Masters in Human Rights with little help. She was 25 at the time. Having relied on her parents, who read and recorded course material, Shweta trudged through and emerged victorious.
She also used software that converted text into speech.
Photo credit: Twitter (Representational image)
Explaining Shweta’s learning technique, renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Sushma Sinha said to The Times of India, “Descriptive subjects can be learnt by listening. Besides, people who lose one of their sense organs can concentrate more and learn faster than ordinary people.”
Shweta recounts, “I was six when I was operated upon for brain tumour and had to undergo a radiation procedure. I was fine after that, except for the occasional pain in my eyes, headaches, and vomiting. In 2004, when I was in Class 10, I lost my eyesight, which was a radiation after-effect.”
Having been deprived of complete vision due to this unfortunate mishap, with help and support from her family and friends, Shweta completed her class 10 exams, achieving a stellar 72 per cent. She went on to complete class 12 from the National Institute of Open Schooling with 65 per cent and graduated in Sociology (Honours) from Indira Gandhi National Open University.
Having cleared the National Eligibility Test (Human Rights) in 2014, Shweta is eligible to teach in any government college across India.
Shweta, however, hopes for a career in research in Human Rights, and is currently pursuing her MPhil in Sociology from the renowned Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Of her parents Arun Kumar and Om Kumari, who are doctors and practice in Ranchi, Shweta told Hindustan Times, “Since I wasn’t a born blind, I could not learn Braille that well. My parents were the greatest support for me. They gave me the courage to pursue higher studies.”
The proud parents have vowed to support Shweta for as long as she needs.