The 38-year-old took inspiration from his two elder brothers, who too are blind, to make the Asudanis a household name in Nagpur. When information technology was not even heard of, the trio overcame all odds and battled social stigma to show the world that disability of any kind is not a curse and can be defeated with hard work and determination. Fittingly, the Limca Book of Records took cognisance of their achievements, besides other national and international publications.
"I was literally zero till standard IV. This was the time my elder brothers, Ghanshyam and Vinod, inspired me to study. From that day on, I never looked back, of course with a support of my parents — Hardayaldas and Laxmidevi, who took immense pains to raise us while battling financial crunch, since the family had migrated from Pakistan during the partition."
A glance at his biodata and achievements would shame all normal human beings. He was second merit in SSC exam with 93% and first in HSC in handicapped category with 87%. He joined five years LLB course at Dr Ambedkar College and again topped the exam with 75%. He then completed BA (English Literature) and MA (English), again in merit. He cleared NET in three subjects - English, law and psychology - along with SET from Pune University.
"Unfortunately, we didn't have IT at our disposal at that time, else we would have made more progress. We were completely dependent on others. My sister used to record the books on tape recorder and I used to listen," recalls Rajesh, who is also a poet, writer and a social worker par excellence. He has penned a book 'Adhura Asman', an anthology of Hindi ghazals.
Very few know that Rajesh, who is happily married to Nanda and has two kids, also gives free lectures for blind students on how to crack competitive exams, at Seva Sadan School on weekends. "We've lived our lives and it's high time we give back to the society, especially the disabled. I plan to start an NGO - Disability Advocacy, Research and education (DARE), which will extensively work for such persons, especially youngsters, who will be provided free coaching for competitive exams. I am also doing PhD in disability discourse, an untouched area so far," says Asudani.
A senior officer at RBI now, Asudani dreams of opening counselling centres for those who become disabled owing to accidents or health problems, as they tend to go into depression.
The recipient of several awards and first president of Visually Impaired Bank Employee Welfare Association (VIBEWA), Asudani is also instrumental in fighting for the cause of blind persons by approaching the judiciary many times. "I've won a case against Nagpur University, drafted many petitions and also undertake legal counselling for the needy."
Rajesh always aspired to be a lecturer, but laments that there is huge discrimination against the disabled and he couldn't land a job despite impressive academic achievements. "This prompted me to appear in RBI exams, which are tough. I now want to dedicate my life for the welfare of the disabled and fight for their rights," he sums up with a smile.
Source : TOI , 22nd Nov 2014