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Posted at: Dec 3, 2018, 2:03 AM; last updated: Dec 3, 2018, 2:03 AM (IST)WORLD DISABILITY DAY

City-based assistant professor to get national disability award today

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 2

Jalandhar-based assistant professor Mona Goyal is all set to be honoured by the National Disability Award, which will be given by the President to all specially-abled people who have shown indomitable courage in their respective fields. To be honoured on December 3 on World Disability Day in Delhi, she is among the three persons from the state who have been chosen for the honour.

Born and brought up in Jalandhar, Mona, who wanted to be a dentist, had to abruptly give up her dream of pursuing the profession after a bout of Malaria while pursuing her final year BDS course in Maharashtra, due to which she lose her vision. While the incident shook her to the core and altered her plans, it failed to shake her spirit. With the prospect of learning to live a life without vision, from scratch, Mona learnt various languages in Braille and went on to be a university topper in law in a few years.

Now, she is teaching students as an assistant professor at the GNDU Regional Campus in Jalandhar. Hers is a story which has inspired many.

She said: “I was 25, and in the final year of BDS when I had several bouts of Malaria within a short time. I understood there was something wrong with my vision. But in a few months I lost my eyesight. I have been told this was due to an overdose of quinine which I had been prescribed when I had Malaria.”

About to sit for her final exams for the BDS at Dental College, Wardha, Mona had to abandon the course and come back to Jalandhar.

“My brother is a doctor and I was pursuing BDS. We had glorious careers ahead of us. And my father was planning to get me married soon. But it changed things. Relatives suggested I should get married but my father and family agreed I needed to be rehabilitated first. One of my uncles gave me the diagnosis and another paternal uncle living in England asked me to accompany me there,” she said.

Accompanying her uncle to England, she was taken by him to the Royal National institute for the Blind by him every weekend where she learnt typing and working and reading with low-vision aides. It was here that she gained interest in reading novels. Back home after two-and-a-half years, she enrolled at the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre in Ludhiana.

She says: “It was during this period that my brother and my sister-in-law suggested that I should study law. After a lot of crying and indecisiveness about the course, I took up law.”

Scoring brilliantly in her degree, Mona secured the seventh rank in the LLM entrance test and stood second in university in the course.

With the help of her teachers she started teaching on the regional campus as a honourary teacher in the Department of Law in 2007 and until 2013, seeing her hard work and calibre, she was made a regular staff. She is also a regular speaker at talk shows on TV and radio. In 2015, she completed PhD in law relating to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She said, “This year it’s a rare occasion when there are three persons shortlisted for the award from Punjab. I feel happy I have been chosen for it. It’s good to see our work being rewarded and hope I am able to inspire many more.”

See also page 2


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