The student I still remember

Visually challenged, mentally alert

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I still remember Geetika Suneja, who graduated from Bharati College (Delhi University) in 2001 where I was Principal at that time. I remember fighting with the entire Staff Council to get her admitted to this college despite her low percentage in school qualifying exam. She was visually challenged. She was extremely beautiful, fair complexion, tall with curly hair but she could not see. She wished to study in a regular college. I was in favour of inclusive education. Though we had a rule of reserving 3% seats for the disabled, it was hardly followed in practice. This girl was a very good orator. Her father worked for the Times of India newspaper in Delhi and her mother was a homemaker and fully dedicated to her only child.

I used to teach her Political Science in my office sometimes. I found her to be a keen learner with an urge for new knowledge.  She was also fond of classical Indian music and could sing well. Once we got an invitation from the Indian Association for Canadian Studies to participate in a debate competition on ‘Sustainable Development’. This concept was new to most of our students, mostly Hindi medium.  I decided to take part in this competition just to encourage Geetika. I made a team of two girls, Geetika and Gauri. Gauri was also my student from Political Science (Hons). Those days I had a PC at home. We didn’t have it at our college. I took both these girls to my home and cooked lunch for them for a few days. We discussed the topic at length and I provided them the latest articles on the theme and also translated some into Hindi. They rehearsed well in the informal setting of my home. I also took them to the venue in my own car on the fixed date and time. To my surprise, both the girls did extremely well, especially Geetika. They jointly won the most coveted Trophy beating the teams from prestigious Hindu, St. Stephens and Lady Sriram Colleges whereas people hardly knew our college. It was a very proud moment for me. I increased the number of classes with Geetika who needed special help for being visually challenged. My joy knew no bound when Geetika got second position in the entire university in the final exam in Political Science. No wonder, she is an accomplished journalist today!

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