Blind prof cheers for Dhoni's men

Cheering for team India led by M S Dhoni in the cricket World Cup comes naturally to Delhi University teacher Nitin Malhotra as he listens to the radio commentary.

“I have never seen the tricolour but it is always in my heart, like all Indian fans,” said Nitin Malhotra, 30, who is blind.

He and his sister Yamini, 28, who too is blind and a teacher in Delhi University, have set standards for others by doing their bit for creating a friendly environment for the visually impaired.

“Disability is not incapability. Rather, a disabled person is one who has different and special needs,” said Malhotra who overcame odds to became a Political Science professor in Delhi University’s Kalindi College.

Yamini, 28, Malhotra’s sister, is teaching at the Delhi University’s Vivekanand College. Both campaign for the rights of the visually impaired, joining hands with NGO Sambhavana.

“People have different perception about differently abled persons,” said Malhotra, recalling the challenges he faced in his journey from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh to the college in Delhi.

“We want to help others by creating a friendly environment for the disabled people by eliminating physiological and physical barriers in the society,” said Malhotra, who is married to low-vision Aarti, who is pursuing PhD in Hindi and wishes to teach Hindi in Delhi University.

Malhotra said his triumph over disability would not have been possible without the encouragement from his parents.

“Nobody expected me to become a professor,” he said, adding that his parents came to know about his blindness when he was six-month-old.

He did his schooling from Delhi Public School, Vasant Vihar, and graduated from Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College in Political Science.

Malhotra, who is now pursuing a PhD on the accessibility policy for the disabled, wants to change the mindset of the people towards the physically challenged.

“People ignore us, thinking that we are good for nothing. Even educated people have the same perception,” said Malhotra.

“Like most Indians, I am also fond of cricket,” he said.

“I cannot play and see cricket matches but am fond of listening to the commentary,” he said. In his free time, Malhotra enjoys Sonu Nigam’s songs.

He cannot watch movies, but he can feel the difference between Hollywood and Bollywood cinema.

“Bollywood movies are more emotional. These have a lot of background music for human appeal while Hollywood films are more action oriented and have light music and more dialogues,” he said.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is a favourite. “The Big-B has a soothing voice while King (Shah Rukh) Khan’s voice has intensity,” he said.

Malhotra has a message for the physically challenged: “Never give up and keep trying harder for success.”

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