When one has the determination and perseverance to follow one’s passion, nothing in the world can stop one.
Harish Kumar, 48, a techie and driving enthusiast from Ahmedabad, has proved this more than once in his life. Born without a limb below the elbow joint on his right side, Harish never let his disability stop him from following his dreams. He did it all: completed M Tech from IIT Delhi, started working for a big telecom company, rose to the post of General Manager, then left his job to follow his passion for driving, set national as well as international records while undertaking driving expeditions, and finally started India’s first ever driving school for the physically challenged.
Harish’s story was recently shared in his own words on the Facebook page Humans of Amdavad.
“I was born with absence of right limb below the elbow joint. Initially I was heartbroken about the part that unlike…
When he was following his passion by taking part in expeditions like the Golden Quadrilateral Expedition (Ahmedabad-Delhi-Kolkatta-Chennai-Mumbai-Ahmedabad), where he covered 6,000 km in 129 hours and entered the Limca Book of Records, he was approached by several people with disabilities asking him to teach them how to drive. On speaking with them, he found out that it was extremely difficult for people with disabilities to learn driving as no driving schools accepted them. So he decided to take on the challenge himself and started the very first driving school for specially challenged people in India: ‘Ability on Wheels’.
Read the full post here:
“I was born with absence of right limb below the elbow joint. Initially I was heartbroken about the part that unlike everyone else I don’t have two hands but as I kept on getting old I got used to it. It was something which I’d to accept and mould myself accordingly. I did my schooling and graduation from Dehradun. After completing my graduation I gave an entrance exam for IIT and got selected in IIT- Roorkee for M SC. Further, I got selected at IIT-Delhi and did M Tech from the same and got placed in Telecom Sector. For around 18 years I worked in Telecom Sector under all big corporates and rose from a simple position of Engineer to a General Manager. Meanwhile one of my friend gifted me a book of Limca Book Of Records, while going through the book I read story of Deepa Malik who had undergone a spine surgery and still she created a record in driving. This story made me realize that while being busy with this monotonous life I’d almost forgotten about my passion for driving. I decided that I too want to create a record by going an expedition and that is how I left my job in the year 2012 and decided to follow my passion. In the year 2013, I created a new National Record by being the first Physically Challenged person in the country to successfully complete a solo All India Driving Expedition covering 15,963 kms across 28 states & 7 union territories in 29 days 6 hours & 20 minutes. The following year I undertook another expedition and successfully completed the Golden Quadrilateral Expedition (Ahmedabad – Delhi – Kolkatta – Chennai – Mumbai – Ahmedabad) covering 6,000 kms in 129 hours. Both my records have been featured in Limca Book Of Records as I was the first Indian to drive solo all the way to places and also by driving a normal car without any modifications. After completing my expeditions I was satisfied with my passion and was happy that I fulfilled my dreams so I decided to return back to the corporate world. But many physically challenged and disabled people approached me as they all wanted to learn to drive a car and make such records. They said they are facing many problems, so I asked them about their problems and they said that whenever we visit any driving school they totally ignore us and shun us out. Even if we want to get a learning license from RTO then we compulsory require a modified car. After hearing their problems I thought of starting a driving school for disabled people but before going ahead with the plan I’d to meet the government officials. After meeting the RTO Officials and Transport Secretaries I was shocked to know that there is no driving school for Disabled people in our country. It was really a matter of shame that we do not have a driving school for them. Later state government granted me a permission to start a driving school for disabled people in the city and that is how the first ever driving school for physically challenged people opened up in India. So far 150 people have enrolled here and also got a training for driving and also they have got their license. And even the government has changed the law, regarding issuing license to physically disabled people. So this is the kind of impact I have made on the society through this work. I have even written a book called “Ability on Wheels” where I have shared some beautiful stories of how disabled people got their driving license and much more.
I would like more and more people in different cities to come up with such driving school for disabled people. I am willing to help anyone if they want any guidance to open up such driving school in any other city.”
Harish’s story is undoubtedly an inspiration for everyone! To know more about Ability on Wheels, you can visit the website here.