Turning 18 with HT: ‘We have it in us to achieve what we want’

Blind since birth, Pardum wants to join the civil services before he turns a leader with the mission to reform society; he urges Indians to stay united and give Hindi its due.

punjab Updated: Apr 10, 2018 10:46 IST
Yojana Yadav
Yojana Yadav
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Turning 18 with HT,blind,School prefect
Pardum Verma

Pardum Verma, a Class 12 student of the Indtitute for the Blind, Sector 26, Chandigarh, loves the scent of the garden in spring, likes to play the tabla, is fond of Udit Narayan songs and listens to poems of Suryakant Tripathi.

Name: Pardum Verma

Born on: April 10, 1999

Badge of honour: Class 12 student at Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, Chandigarh

What turning 18 means to me

It is the beginning of a meaningful phase. I get to vote, think independently and chart my own course. It’s not any different for the blind. We have it in us to achieve what we want.

What I want to be and why

I took the Staff Selection Commission test last month but I want to be a civil services officer. My favourite subject is political science. I also studied history, Hindi elective, music (instrumental) and English. I plan to take admission in Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, and prepare for the IAS. Our country is still not free from corruption and poverty. I want to work for India’s development.

My idea of India

India welcomes all and is accommodating. Sabko sharan milti hai. The sad part is Indians get sold easily. We became slaves to the British for two centuries because of this weakness. Today’s India is tilted towards America. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is building good ties with the US but he needs to maintain a robust relationship with Russia also. India shouldn’t forget that in the 1960s when we fought two wars against China and Pakistan, it was Russia that stood by us. The US is behind the USSR’s disintegration and it can’t be trusted.

What makes me happy

When my family, comprising my parents, an elder brother and an elder sister, are happy. My father, Ram Narayan Verma, is an auto-rickshaw driver in Chandigarh, and my mother, Rita Verma, is a housewife. My brother is pursing a post-graduate diploma in computers and my sister is studying in a college at our native place, Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. The happiness they shower on me when I do well is overwhelming.

Playing the tabla and singing makes me happy too.

What makes me angry

When people don’t stay united. We would have been independent in 1857 had we stayed united and fought the British. Some wanted freedom from taxes, while others wanted to safeguard their kingdoms. A century later when we got independence, we paid the price with Partition. It was totally avoidable.

My fear and fantasy

I don’t fear anything. Kuch galat karenge tabhi toh darr lagega (Only if one does some wrong intentionally is one scared).

I want to be an influential leader who can reform society. Samaj ko sudharna hai.

Am I happy where I am

Yes, my CBSE Class 12 board exams got over on Friday. I plan to pursue a music course till the college admission in July. I’ll be improving my tabla skills under the guidance of my guru, Bapu Ram Tomar.

What money means to me

Nothing comes free. I want to be financially independent and provide a comfortable life to my parents, who have struggled to bring me up despite the challenges. My father drove the auto-rickshaw at night for years. He chose to stay in Chandigarh because of the facilities here for me.

What makes me proud of India

The fact that India has never started a war. It is a peace-loving country.

What social media means to me

It is the best way to stay in touch and updated. I am the admin of a WhatsApp group with 175 members from Maharashtra to Rajasthan. We discuss current affairs, historical facts besides sharing jokes and anecdotes. I use the voice feature of my smartphone to navigate my way on social media. There are apps to assist the visually impaired.

Change I want in Chandigarh

People need to be empathetic. There have been instances when motorbikes have hit me while I cross a road. We are blind, not you. Respect traffic rules and give way to pedestrians.

Change I want in India

Hindi, our national language, should get its due. English is an international language but we should take pride in communicating in Hindi. It should be compulsory in all schools.

What religion means to me

I believe God is one and has been divided by religions. When I was younger, I’d pray hard just before the exams but now I’ve realised, it’s hard work and good deeds that count. God helps those who help themselves.

My role model and why

My father struggled to provide me the best education despite his limited income. He drove the auto-rickshaw even after a serious accident. He doesn’t give up.

Principal JR Jayara is also an inspiration as he has been running this institute since 1998. Despite his visual impairment, he exudes positivity and loves poetry.

First Published: Apr 09, 2018 12:40 IST