The St Joseph’s Cathedral Church in Hazratganj is a place where prayers are answered. And that seems to have been the case for Salamat, 27, a physically challenged youth, who now has ‘this ability’ to stand on his own feet to earn a living.
Barely able to walk due to polio, he runs a ‘Mobile Specialist Centre’ on his small tricycle in front of the church gate. Salamat repairs cell phones, downloads various software for people, recharges coupons, charges batteries, provides headphones, data/memory cards and a host of other phone related services.
Little do people know that he is a B Tech in computer science and is fond of great scientist Stephen Hawkin, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at the age of 21.
“Despite being wheelchair ridden and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication, the scientist continues to do his research and earn for his family. Today, he has three children and three grandchildren,” said Salamat.
“Life has been a challenge for me, but I have accepted it like Stephen Hawkin …who excelled despite severe disability. If he can lead a great life, then why can’t I,” he asked.
Salamat could be an example for those physically challenged youths who limit themselves inside their rooms because of their disability. Both his legs are affected by polio, but he has never lost hope of a good lifestyle.
What more, he earns enough to take care of his old parents who once disowned him because of his disability.
Son of a rag picker in slums of Khadra Daliganj, Salamat was considered useless by his family when he was affected by polio at the age of three.
His father Nasir Mansoori handed him over to his brother-in-law in Bihar who gave him the liberty to choose his profession. Instead of indulging in rag picking, he joined a nearby school and studied for his future. After initial hesitation, his mamu agreed to pay for his education.
However, Salamat’s maternal brothers and neighbours laughed at him and considered him as a burden on the family. He cleared his High School with 61% marks and Intermediate with 64% marks. Salamat also cracked the entrance exam of Gaya Institute of Engineering and Technology but didn’t have money to pay his fees.
He then got a scholarship and some support from teachers and passed B Tech in computer science with 74% marks. He tried for jobs but his disability came in the way of his success.
“As my legs were weak, I had a tendency of falling off the chair. This resulted in me being fired from jobs twice, so I decided to start my own business. But here again I didn’t have the money, so I decided to start a mobile store on my tricycle and today I am earning more than my brother who is an Imam in a nearby mosque of Khadra,” said Salamat with a feeling of pride.
“I have established a small business. God willing, tomorrow my work will surely increase,” he added.
Salamat holds no grudges for those who made fun of him. “When my parents disowned me, then how can I blame others for laughing at me. I took everything as a challenge to improve myself,” said Salamat with a smile.
He wants to marry a woman who can understand his emotions and stand by him. An ardent fan of Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, he loves to watch cricket and football – games that he was never able to play.