May 10, 2019
‘Destiny may cut someone's limbs but not dreams’. Who else can prove it better than Raja Mahendra Pratap who overcame loss of limbs as a child but did not allow destiny to play a cruel trick with his life. A victim of an innocent childish prank Mahendra Pratap lost his limbs at the tender age of 5 when he accepted a challenge from his friends and held an iron rod into a high voltage electric wire, not knowing the repercussions of his act. By the time he realized what he had done his hands and legs as he had 80 per cent burn injuries. His survival was doubtful and the only alternative that could keep him alive was to amputate his charred limbs.
Though he remained confined to the four walls of his home for another 10 years Pratap kept his dreams alive and strived to achieve his goals by putting a strong foundation to make his life a success, the disability notwithstanding. Anyone else in his place would have given up but not Pratap and he is happy he believed in himself and the results are there for all to see.
His life, the struggle and final success is sure to inspire the differently-abled and even the able-bodied. His determination, hard work and the burning desire to do something meaningful in his life made him what he is today – a self made man earning a handsome salary as Finance and Accounts Officer in ONGC in Ahmedabad and leading a normal life with his wife and child.
Within the four walls for 10 years
Pratap hails Hyderabad comes from a middle class family had to forego school following the accident. It did not deter his desire to pursue his studies though he had just learnt only alphabets till the life-altering incident. Having spent 4 months in the hospital Pratap who came home felt that he cannot spend the rest of his life being a burden on his parents or his sisters. He realized that he was indeed a burden on the family so much so, his father did not want him to come out of the room of their house when there were guests around. Encouragement and support came from his three elder sisters who lent their books for him to study and even monitored his academic progress.
Pratap wanted to be self dependent and in order to do this mobility was important. Initially he began to crawl on his buttocks and move around. Slowly he tried to stand on his knees and once the legs became straight he graduated to walk, which wasn’t easy considering his physical condition. Once his mobility problem was solved, Pratap grew in confidence and began to move out of the house and even began to play cricket and football outdoors. Side by side he continued to study and also mastered to hold different objects with his elbows and his mouth. He also began to write. By now Pratap was 15 and was ready to answer the SSLC exams to test his knowledge and he came out with flying colours having passed in 1st division. He completed his BCom and was the recipient of scholarship from Delhi based “National Centrre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled people” that enabled him complete his course in finance.
After graduation Pratap wanted to join IIMs but could not afford to attend coaching classes and he then opted to do MBA from Osmania University, Hyderabad. After joining MBA he decided to attend classes but travelling to college was a problem. He had to opt for public transport to attend college as he could not afford private transport. He came up with an idea of designing his own shoes and sat with a cobbler for one week and with these shoes he was able to be mobile outside home. By now he had won half the battle.
Having finished his MBA he began scouting for jobs. Though he was called for many campus interviews the interviews lasted just a few minutes because of his disability. Pratap did not lose courage despite such setbacks and decided to appear for PSU exams and got selected as Assistant Manager for a Public Sector bank in 2001. He worked there for 1 ½ years and in 2002 joined the ONGC where continued to work in a senior position.
By now Pratap was independent and went about doing his work without other’s help and that included doing everyday chores on his own. He travels in public transport without any assistance. He enjoys playing carom and chess. For nearly 5 years after joining ONGC he even cooked his own food and once he was married his wife took over the responsibility of cooking and other household chores. The couple has a 10 year old child to complete the family.
On work front Pratap has won the admiration and respect of his colleagues for his accomplishments and for his efficiency and commitment. His positivity comes as a big surprise to his colleagues. He works and uses computer using his mouth and ankle and is able to write with the help of his jaws. Pratap is able to carry out the tasks assigned to him with élan and his colleagues even say that he leads from the front clearly demonstrating that hiring differently-abled is not a charitable deed. Raja Mahendra Pratap’s accomplishments are praiseworthy considering the tough time had to face. Whatever Pratap has achieved today is because of his unflinching faith in himself and the hard work he had put in to avoid being a burden to others. His life is an inspiration to all those who are similarly placed. Despite success he has not forgotten his own struggling student days. He remembers the scholarship he got that enabled him to complete his studies Pratap gives back to the society by helping meritorious poor students to pay their fees by providing them with scholarships. It is his way of showing gratitude. Raja Mahendra Pratap has demonstrated that nothing is impossible if one is determined to make use of the opportunities coming on their way. He is an inspiration to all of us to overcome adversity and face life head on to rewrite our own destiny.