Showing the way

No eyesight, but a bright future was always in sight

Lost vision at 25, switched to law from dentistry; is currently teaching at GNDU law campus

No eyesight, but a bright future was always in sight

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 20

Dr Mona Goel has been a challenger in a true sense. Having remained a topper throughout during her studies at Apeejay School, she was in the final year of her BDS course when her life came to a sudden halt.

Some doctors suggested that since I had suffered from malaria twice and it could be due to the side-effects of chloroquine but for me the question mark remains. But I had to go on. I completed my BDS even though I knew that this professional degree was of no use to me. What next? I could not just sit back. My brother, Dr Sameer Goel, who is a cardiac surgeon, and my sister-in-law Dr Vandana Goel, anesthetist, hunted for other career options for me. They counselled me to take up three-year LLB. So, I appeared for the entrance examination at PU, took the help of a reader and writer and got through.— Dr Mona Goel

At the age of 25, she lost her eyesight. Her two paternal uncles, brother, sister-in-law – all of whom were doctors – ensured she was taken to the best eye surgeons but the damage had already been done and it was incurable. She even spent five years in England, seeking treatment and trying to earth the cause but now calls it “a complete wastage of time”.

“Some doctors suggested that since I had suffered from malaria twice and it could be due to the side-effects of chloroquine but for me the question mark remains. But I had to go on. I completed my BDS even though I knew that this professional degree was of no use to me. What next? I could not just sit back. My brother, Dr Sameer Goel, who is a cardiac surgeon, and my sister-in-law Dr Vandana Goel, anaesthetist, hunted for other career options for me. They counselled me to take up three-year LLB. So, I appeared for the entrance examination at PU, took the help of a reader and writer and got through,” she shared.

From dentistry, she jumped to law and enjoyed this course so much that she even pursued LLM and PhD in Property Law at Guru Nanak Dev University, regional campus, Ladhewali. “I completed my doctorate in 2014. My research was based on the topic ‘educational rights for the disabled’ and I found that there was nothing much at the implementation level,” she said. Asked how she managed to learn so much of coursework, she revealed, “I was always attentive in class and understood all topics broadly. My friends and bhabhi were a great help as they would read out some topics for me whenever they had time.”

She continued to share her journey, “As soon as I completed LLM, I took up part time job in teaching at the same campus and continued to complete by doctorate as well. In 2014, I got the regular job of assistant professor”. She qualified for the job in the general category. How she managed to teach? “Anyone, who listens to my lecture well, will get the complete gist of things. They keep taking notes of all what I speak out to them. I was pretty comfortable even in online teaching. I do not check answer sheets and the university authorities are aware of my problem.”

Comfortably walking within the campus, she tells, “I have counted all my steps and generally don’t need help inside. But the moment I step out of here, I have my friends, family or my car driver to assist me. Despite the problem, I find that life is good and I am enjoying it as much as I can.”

She was President Medal awardee on the Disability Day in 2018. “The same day I was also picked for the state award but I obviously went to Delhi to receive the bigger award,” she beamed.

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