Identify your ability...not disability, says Dr Roshan Jahan
High on confidence, she walked though the auditorium to receive the HT Woman-2018 Award from chief minister Yogi Adityanath. With the smile playing on her lips, Dr Roshan Jahan told everyone loud and clear that physical disability cannot stop a person from achieving his/her goal.
Dr Jahan, a native of UP’s Azamgarh district, is currently pursuing MD in Mumbai. She has also become a motivational speaker and is infusing confidence in physically challenged people. She fought a legal battle and was instrumental in getting the rules for physically challenged people modified.
HT Woman-2018 winner Dr Roshan Jahan Jawad Ahmed Shaikh.
Dr Jahan’s father, Jawad Ahmed, is a vegetable cart vendor, mother Ansari Khaatoon is a homemaker and she is the third one amongst four siblings. “My elder sister, now married, is a dialysis technician. My brother is employed with a mobile company while my younger sister Hafsa is pursuing M.Sc. Despite being from an economically weaker background and he being the only earning member, my father educated all of us. Extended family was against educating us but he fought against people, poverty and circumstances,” she says.
Her parents hail from Azamgarh. Her elder sister and brother were born here. “Later, my father shifted to Mumbai. I was born in Mumbai only in 1992. My grandfather has a home in Azamgarh and all my relatives live here only. So, we come here in holidays.”
MOMENT TRAGEDY STRUCK
The tragic incident happened on October 7, 2008 when she was returning home from Bandra to Jogeshwari in Mumbai after writing her exam. “I fell from the running local train. I was in the first coach and the remaining 12 coach ran over my legs. With the grace of Allah, I was conscious and I managed to clutch the other railway track to save my whole body from coming down the running train. No one pulled the chain to stop the train.”
She told that she was lying on the track between two stations bleeding heavily. “People did rush but just remained a silent spectator. I begged them to at least inform my family but no one came forward. Later, someone called my family and thereafter, I got medical help from the Railways.”
Dr Roshan is all praises for ortho surgeon Dr Sanjay Kantharia. “He performed all my surgeries and has been my mentor and guide till now. After discharge, I didn’t skip my exam and went to college on wheelchair with my mom and passed Class 11 and 12 with good marks. Meanwhile, I got prosthetics (artificial limbs) and learnt to walk with them.”
THE LEGAL BATTLE
With a dream to become a doctor, she cleared Common Entrance Test (CET) for medical with flying colours in 2011 and with third rank in Maharashtra under physically handicapped quota. During the admission process, she was given 99% disability certificate while the eligibility criteria were between 40% and 70%.
“I was denied admission because of my disability. My doctor suggested me to seek judiciary’s help. Advocate VP Patil filed a case against Maharashtra Medical Board and two judges bench gave the order in my favour. I got admission in MBBS programme in Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai in August 2011 and passed it in 2017 in first class,” she says.
For post graduation, she cleared NEETPG-2018 entrance test with 3rd rank all over Maharshtra under physically handicapped quota but again hit the road block due to her disability.
“This time I took out MP Kirit Somaiya’s help. He spoke to Union Health Minister JP Nadda about my passion. Within 2 days, he took a historic decision and changed 20 years old clause for the disabled people. They also increased physical handicapped reservation from 3% to 5%,” she said while talking to HT.
TURNING MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
After winning the case in high court and getting admission in MBBS, everyone appreciated her determination to fight for her rights. “Schools and colleges started inviting me to share my journey, motivate students and infuse positivity in others. I have given talks in many places — Malegaon, Aurangabad, Chennai, Manmad, Bhiwandi and Azamgarh.” NGOs and politicians have started approaching her for motivational speech and she has been selected for TED Talks too.
Roshan started visiting accident survivors. “I have handled 5 accident cases so far. I went to them and showed them that even after losing both lower limbs, when I can fight and live my life normally then why can’t they? I visit them in hospitals and homes and motivate them to live life to the fullest and make them identify their ability...not disability,” she says.
She has bagged 50 awards and trophies including Women’s Day Award at Bombay High Court, Shoorveer Award, Bharat Prerna Award, Maharashta Times felicitation, Urdu Sahitya Academy award and many more.