Bharat Kumar was born only with a right hand by birth. A Para-swimming champion, he has made the country proud by winning 50 medals.
At the young age of 8 years, he was sent to Ghaziabad, to his paternal aunt because of poor financial conditions. His old parents are daily-wage labourers, who dig soil. Bharat bathed buffaloes that his aunt had and there is where he developed an interest in swimming. He would take the buffalo in the river, hold its tail and go about swimming.
Now, he is 27 years old. Before becoming a swimmer, Bharat was an athlete. But a foot injury in 2010 Commonwealth Games, forced him to pull out of athletics. None of that made him lose hope. His immense practice and dedication made him a national level swimmer in 2011. He has won about 50 medals in para- swimming contest since then. Among the many medals he has won for India are gold medals at the 2005 Junior National Level athletics and 2009 World Games along with a silver at the 2006 Junior World Athletics in Ireland. Apart from this, he has also participated in 2010 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games held in China.
Practising at Delhi Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Bharat could not afford the diet that an athlete needs. At times he sat down with beggars near a temple to have his food. Bharat needs at least Rs. 20,000- 25,000 per month to take proper training and nutrition requirements. Today, he washes cars to make both ends meet and situation has come where he may have to sell his hard-won medals to survive.
Bharat’s dream is to represent India at Olympics to make his country proud. All he needs is some support and help in buying required equipment and to take part in upcoming international competitions.
India is a home to 21 million PwDs equalling to 2.1% of our total population. An important part of the country’s fabric, PwDs often tend to be ignored by the government and mainstream population. They feel they lack say even while deciding a title for them.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last year coined the term ‘divyang’ and suggested to use it instead of ‘viklang’ for the handicapped. While it was received warmly by many in the country but the community to whom it was addressed isn’t quite happy with it.
After Modi suggested using the term divyang last year, some organisations wrote to him asking to refrain from using the term for them. “We would like to reiterate that disability is not a divine gift. And the use of phrases like ‘divyang’ in no way ensures de-stigmatisation or an end to discrimination on grounds of disability,” they said.
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The CSR Journal Team