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JNU better towards differently-abled students, says ex-student Ranjith Rebello


PTI Last Updated at 12 Aug 2018, 22:08 IST India

Jawaharlal Nehru University's differently-abled scholars feel the university is quite inclusive and even the perception towards them on campus is without any bias.

Twenty-nine-year-old Ranjith Rebello, who was conferred his doctorate degree at the varsity's convocation on August 8, said JNU was much better than many universities in India and even abroad in its attitude towards the differently-abled students.

Rebello, who is blind since childhood and belongs to Karnataka, aspires to be a civil servant.

He, however, felt that the varsity needs to be more supportive towards students for their research work.

"The administration has the attitude, 'We have to fulfill our reservation seats'. We are provided support in small things such as being handed over plates and spoons, but the university should also furnish facilities to scholars for their research.

"If we asked for assistance, the administration would say things like, 'How can you do that?' or 'We don't have provisions for this'," he said.

He said that things are not rosy for differently-abled candidates anywhere in the world.

"I have traveled in India and even to universities abroad. It's not a rosy picture out there but JNU is better than any other university when it comes to its perception towards differently-abled students," he added.

Rebello said even his fellow students did not mingle with him when he joined the varsity in 2011.

"In 2011, in my first semester, I faced some issues as my fellow scholars used to maintain their distance. But I told them I don't want sympathy and I want opportunity and empathy. I tried to mingle with them and changed their perception," he added.

Rebello, who did his research on political, economic and cultural aspects of India's relations with Kuwait, rued about not being able to integrate Arabic into his research due to some technological constraints.

Another Ph.D. scholar, Babu Lal Meena, who was conferred his doctorate degree at the convocation, felt that varsities like Delhi University and JNU embrace differently-abled students.

Meena, who is wheelchair-bound and belongs to Rajasthan, completed his doctorate on Russia and India's bilateral and regional engagement.

"I was afflicted with polio when I was one-and-a-half-year-old and lost the ability to walk. Back home, there are a lot of prejudices that I have faced and seen. Many people feel that since we are differently-abled, we are not good for many of things and we will not be able to gain employment," he said.

But after coming to Delhi, Meena said, he felt at ease.

"I think it's only DU and JNU that embrace us as equals," said Meena, who is currently teaching political science at DU's Sri Aurobindo College.

Thirty-one-year-old Jagdish Singh, who completed his doctorate at the varsity, had similar views as Meena. Singh's Ph.D. thesis was on 'Germany and Problems of European Integration: A Study of Angela Merkel's leadership, 2005-2013'.

Singh, who is currently teaching at DU's Satyawati College, said JNU is a different planet. He belongs to Rajasthan and is afflicted with polio.

"JNU is a very inclusive campus. Be it the infrastructure or the way it sees us, it is inclusive in every aspect. I have been to universities abroad but I feel that JNU is very welcoming and warm," he said.

Manish Kanaujia, who belongs to Bihar, was affected by glaucoma when he was in ninth standard and was rendered totally blind.

Kanaujia said he faced many challenges before he came to Delhi and it was only while doing his graduation and masters in Ramjas College and M.Phil and Ph.D. in JNU that he was at ease.

"On the first day of my graduation, I forged a friendship with a boy who has remained friends with me till today. In Delhi, everyone treated me as an equal. Even in JNU, my guide would be hesitant in even saying the word blind but back home, no one would even give a thought before uttering 'andha'," he told PTI.

Kanaujia, who is teaching at Satyawati College, said it is difficult to navigate through the JNU campus since there are many dogs and at some places, the roads are not smooth.

"Apart from this, I always had a great experience here. In my hometown, I am still asked questions like, 'Are you teaching at a blind school?'. My guide always supported me and would even ask his receptionist to be my reader if I did not have one," he recalled.

Kanaujia did his Ph.D. on 'Social Protest in Contemporary Hindi novels between 1990-2012'.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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