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13 Amazing Superheroes Featured in India’s First Amputee Calendar Will Make You Rethink Disability

13 Amazing Superheroes Featured in India’s First Amputee Calendar Will Make You Rethink Disability

With the goal of celebrating disability and inspiring people, this calendar has been produced by Mission Smile as a part of their project called #RisingAbove.

She is a blade runner, he is a swimmer… she always wanted to play badminton, he loves basketball – and all of these amazing people have battled incredible challenges in their lives to pursue their passions in spite of their disabilities.

Shalini Saraswathi lost her limbs because of a rare bacterial infection while Manasi Joshi’s leg had to be amputated after a road accident. But neither they, nor the 11 other superheroes featured in India’s first amputee calendar, let their disabilities come in the way of them living their lives.

With the goal of celebrating disability and inspiring people, this calendar has been produced by Mission Smile as a part of their project called #RisingAbove.

“Project Rising Above is a belief that we can showcase and celebrate the specially-abled. We  have become better humans and complain lesser. The entire team has learnt a lot by interacting with the models featured…Meeting these extraordinary people has changed our perspective on our ordinary lives,” says Preeti Rai, the co-founder of Mission Smile. The calendar has powerful photos of confident amputees, most of them being award-winning sportspeople, posing proudly with their prosthetics. Meet the 12 superheroes:

1. Mariyappan Thangavelu


High Jumper (won gold in Rio 2016)
Not an amputee

Mariyappan is a Paralympic High Jumper and India’s first gold medallist since 2004. He was born in Salem district of Tamil Nadu. After his father abandoned the family, his mother raised the kids alone – working as a daily wage earner and a vegetable seller. At the age of five, Mariyappan was run over by a bus while walking to school. The wheels crushed his knees and he became permanently disabled. Despite this, he completed secondary school and didn’t see himself different from other able-bodied kids.

2. Shalini Saraswathi


Blade Runner (training for Tokyo 2020). 
Quadruple Amputee

A Bangalore resident, Shalini suffered from Rickettsia with morts, a rare bacterial infection. She had a mere 5% survival chance. Her left hand was amputated in 2013 and her right hand dropped off on its own. Her legs fell prey to gangrene next. She took part in TCS 10K 2016. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, she also like salsa and contemporary dance.

3. Vishwas HS


Swimmer, Dancer
Double arm amputee

This 26-year-old from Bangalore gave India a new leaf to write history on when he won three medals at the Canadian 2016 Speedo Can Am Para-swimming Championships. Vishwas lost both his hands in a tragic accident when he was 10 years old. Years of extensive training and never giving up hope led him on the road to becoming a professional swimmer. His father, a clerk in the agriculture department, lost his life trying to save Vishwas.

4. Manasi Joshi


Badminton Player
Left leg amputee

Manasi Joshi is an Indian Para Badminton player who aspires to win gold at the Olympics in Tokyo. World no. 5 in singles and world no. 3 in mixed doubles, she lost her left leg in 2011 in a road accident. Just before the accident, she won silver in a corporate badminton tournament and went on to win gold in 2012 – this time with one leg.

5. Vinod Rawat


Actor, MTV Roadie, Cyclist
Left leg amputee.

A truck ran over Mumbai resident Vinod when he was six years old. Eventually, he lost his leg because a sum of Rs. 25,000 could not be arranged for his surgery. When he was not allowed to be part of a bikers’ club because of his disability, he founded his own club.

6. T Samuel


Goal Keeper in his school hockey team
Right arm amputee

Samuel, a 13-year-old from Bangalore, was six when he lost his right hand. He was playing with a live wire and was electrocuted. His grandparents couldn’t afford to take care of him any longer so they admitted him into St Mary’s Orphanage.

7. Suyash Jadhav


Double arm amputee

Suyash is a Para Swimmer competing in the S7 category. He is the only Indian Para Swimmer to have achieved the ‘A’ qualifying mark for the 2016 Paralympics through the Para Champions programme.

8. Briju Mohan


IT professional
Left arm amputee

Briju Mohan lost his arm in a bike accident. A Bangalore resident, he works in Cisco and is the co-founder of One School At A Time (OSAAT). Salsa is his forte, and he is also learning contemporary dance form and yoga.

9. Antara Telang

Content Director at Laugh Guru
Right leg amputee

An overgrown tree collapsed over Mumbai resident Antara when she was 18 years old. She lost her leg, but her spirit remained as strong as always.

10. Sheryl Rebecca


Student, Teacher
Left leg amputee

Sheryl, who is pursing her post-graduation in Bangalore, lost her leg nine months ago in a hit-and-run accident. One of her interests is modelling and she has also walked the ramp in her college.

11. Arle Ramchandra


Basketball player
Left hand amputee

Arle Ramchandra is 18 years old and comes from Peddapuram district in Andhra Pradesh. He was on his way to compete at the basketball nationals in Goa in 2013 when he met with an accident at the railway station. He continues to play and compete against able-bodied players in various district-level tournaments.

12. Dhaval Khatri


Double arm amputee

Dhaval lost both his arms at the age of 14. He accidentally embraced electric wires and his hands were badly burnt leading to amputation. Today, the Ahmedabad resident is a renowned painter.

13. Kiran Kanojia


India’s first woman Blade Runner
Left leg amputee.

Kiran was travelling by train to Faridabad to celebrate her 25th birthday with her parents. She was sitting close to the door and still had half an hour to reach the location. At Palwal, two miscreants tried to pull her backpack but were not able to do so. One of them then pushed her and she fell off the train. On her way down, her left leg got caught in the door, shattering her foot. The passengers pulled the emergency chain, but amputation was the only option.

You can find the calendar here.

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