New Delhi: Manish Arora, 18, has one dream - to be a geography professor some day. However, his career just hit a roadblock as he got to know he cannot pursue the course of his choice. And this has nothing to do with his percentage in the boards. It has to do with his physical disability. Delhi University (DU) has declared Manish 80 per cent disabled and asked him to take admission in the Physically Handicapped category in Shaheed Bhagat Singh College. But the college is refusing to give him admission.
Come again, another day
Manish has been doing the rounds of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College for the past two days to take admission in Geography honours. All in vain, as the college is coming up with insensitive and ridiculous excuses to deny him admission. "I have been going to the college for the last two days. On the first day, they advised me not to take admission in the course as it involves mountaineering. The next day when I told them I would still want to pursue Geography, they still refused to give me admission," said Manish.
Shaheed Bhagat Singh College teacher told a handicapped student that he cannot study geography as it involves mountaineering.
Manish, who scored 60 per cent in the 12th boards, also wants to do a Ph.D in Geography later. "Geography interests me a lot. I really hope that I manage to get admission in Geography course," added Manish.
The 18-year-old has finally approached Dean, Students Welfare (DSW), Delhi University with his application. The college has now asked him to get it in writing from DSW for admission in some other course!
"Activities like mountaineering are not compulsory. Going for excursions depends on students. These days students need not even go out for field work on surveys as they have Geography Information System (GIS) labs to work in," said Neha Sharma, a final-year student of Geography Hons. at Miranda House.
"We cannot allow anything like this. The college should give us in writing what they actually want. But it seems that they are no more interested in giving admission to this student. Denying admission to someone just because he is not fit for mountaineering is not a valid reason. This act will only discourage the student. Moreover, today we have received more complaints in the PH category," said Dr. Gulshan Sawhney, Deputy Dean, Students' Welfare, DU.
Nisha Singh, member, Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC), DU said: "Candidates under the disabled category can take up any discipline they wish. I don't think one has to do mountaineering for Geography Hons. There could be other areas of practical application that can be given to such students. No college can refuse admission on
this basis." However, BC Sehgal, principal, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, said: "I am sensitive to differently-abled students. The said candidate should have come to me. He can visit me tomorrow with all his documents and I will assure him admission in Geography Hons. within half an hour. I don't know about the teacher who advised him to not take up the course, but I will definitely reproach the teacher for the same. I will make Manish sit in air conditioned room, offer him cold drink and make sure his admission is through that day itself."
Last week, Kanika Saxena, a Delhi University aspirant, had a tough time appearing for Bachelor of Business Study (BBS) interview and group discussion at the department of business economics in South Campus.
Wheelchair-bound, Saxena had to be carried to the first floor for the interview as the building did not have a ramp for the physically disabled. "The department should have organised the interview on the ground floor. It was humiliating. The university should create a barrier-free environment for people with disabilities," said Saxena. Several differently-abled students have many similar stories to tell. Saxena's mother Archana was left fuming after the incident. "The apathy towards the problem is apparent from the fact that the university is still not universally accessible. They lack basic facilities such as ramps, way-finding signages, adequate lighting and accessible toilets," she said.