VELLORE: “Disability is not my inability,” said 57-year old N Manoharan who assumed charge as the headmaster of a government higher secondary school, the first ever post to be held by a visually challenged person in the State.
Manoharan was promoted recently as the headmaster of the government higher secondary school at Melapulam near Arakonam, which was also upgraded this year from a high school. Manoharan lost his vision when he was just 5 years old. His parents admitted him to the government blind school in Poonamallee, Chennai, where he completed his SSLC. He later joined the Madras Christian College to complete his BA and MA in English. After completing BEd and MPhil, he was appointed as PG assistant in English at the government school in Mettur in 1984.
After 26 years of service as a teacher and later as assistant headmaster, he was promoted to the post of headmaster last month when he cleared the departmental exam.
“The latest communication technologies are a big boon to people like me,” Manoharan said, referring to the text-to-speech software that was useful to him. Of late, he has been using Braille text-to-speech software on his computer that makes his work a lot more simple. He also uses a ‘talking calculator’ for preparing bills. “Above all, I trust my colleagues who help me in office and the school work.” he added.
Manoharan attributes his success in life to his wife who has motivated him greatly. He has a son and three daughters. While his son is employed at an IT company, the last two daughters are pursuing dental and nursing courses respectively, and his first daughter is married.
“I have never felt alone; I am a contented person,” he said, adding that he had not taken advantage of his disability at any time in life as people volunteered to extend support and help.
He has no regrets about his disability, as it has been a smooth sailing for him right from his younger days. His advice to youngsters with disabilities is to take up education in order to shape their future. Manoharan spends his free time listening to news and Carnatic music.