Anantnag : Dildar Ahmad Shapo, a 40 year old, is a man of great valor who accomplished extremely difficult task of driving throughout India in his own car throughout despite suffering from a spinal injury. This man who cannot move on his own was has honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre for his will and determination in 2015. He completed this extremely difficult journey in a record time of two months and seven days. However attaining this victory was no easy thing for the man who has been bed ridden for a long time. On 5th of September in 1996, recalls Dildar, it was any normal day at the firm, I was doing a part time job in to support my poor family. This job was our only source of income ever since my fathers death.
Around noon when I was leaving to offer my afternoon prayers, I spotted a friend driving a passenger vehicle. On noticing me, he stopped his vehicle and we began to chat. Suddenly his vehicle lurched forward causing me to lose my grip and fall down. The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital room. I spent nearly a month recovering in the hospital which is when I first learnt that I had become an invalid owing to a spinal injury. My distraught family did everything in their power to help. They even took me to Chandigarh for treatment. But nothing changed. I was now restricted to bed and could only move in a wheel chair. The initial few months full of difficulties but soon I learnt to endure my pain. Having a lot of time on my hands now, I took up reading and surprisingly came across a magazine owned by a women, who too was an invalid like me. This gave me hope and inspired me to do something with my life. I decided to start a transport company and took out a loan from the bank for the purpose. My business which started with a single small truck soon grew and I was again able to take care of my family.
After the internet came to Kashmir, my life took a turn for better. Social media allowed and introduced me to a lot of similar people. This motivated me to start leading a normal life. I brought a scooter specially designed for people like me and was now able to travel to places. Soon the scooter was replaced by a specially designed car and I could now drive to meet people living in far off places. This helped me to further expand my business. Right when I thought the worst was over, another tragedy struck. My mother was diagnosed with cancer. Having enough money, I was able to provide her the best medical care but all in vain. Her passing away left me in deep shock and sorrow. My grief made it impossible to look after my business and it started to decline. Ultimately I had to sell it. I started spending my time working with various organizations and helping people like me. Ever since my childhood, I had dreamt of travelling. I finally decided it was time to turn this dream into reality. It wasnt an easy job. Everywhere I went I was turned down but I didnt lose heart. Finally I was approached by The Indian Spinal Injuries Centre. They offered to help me and provided me with maps and all other necessary information like the places I could stop for medical assistance.
On 18th August 2015, I began my journey along with a friend from Qazigund,my birthplace but my friend couldnt accompany me all the due to some personal work. I travelled to most states of the country except the north eastern parts which I couldnt visit due to security reasons. I got to see a lot of new places and this trip besides giving me confidence also opened up new avenues. I can now help many more people like me.
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