Loss of sight can't silence his voice

Loss of sight can't silence his voice

Prateek Saraf’s grandfather has little hope for the 11-year-old’s treatment for blindness. But he is confident Prateek will establish himself as a singer.

“I decided to bring him to the programme after seeing a newspaper advertisement in the morning. I was sure they would give him a chance to sing if brought here,” said Shiv Kumar as Prateek presented a song at an event organised by the Delhi government’s Social Welfare Department on Thursday.

Prateek suffers from retinal detachment which led to blindness from birth. He is the second of three children in the family.

“Nobody in the family suffers from any kind of visual impairment. But we always keep our spirits high. I do not think he is lagging behind in any form even though he is not like other kids,” said Prateek’s grandmother Kiran.

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Prateek’s grandparents said there is lack of enthusiasm among people to promote “children like Prateek”.

“There is always the tendency among people to suppress children with disabilities. The government and other quarters should promote such children,” said Kumar, a resident of Surajmal Vihar in east Delhi.

Prateek, however, believes he will be a “famous” singer some day. He proudly says he puts in all his free time in practising music. The family came up with a CD of the bhajans sung by him recently. 

“I was rejected in a television programme recently as they do not want to promote blind children like me. I have a private tutor who teaches me classical music for over five years now. But I pick up Hindi songs listening to these on the cellphone. My father helped me realise my love for music when I was five. I used to hum to the popular songs when he said my talent lies in music,” said Prateek.

“My favourite songs are from (the movie) Aashiqui 2,” he quipped. A student of class 4, the 11-year-old now attends a school in Karkardooma. “I went to a special school in Noida for some years before my teachers advised me to attend a regular school.” His grandmother explained teachers believed attending a regular school would help the child keep pace with children his age.

Prateek travels across cities with his grandfather to participate in music competitions. “He has already won over 30 trophies at various competitions. We take him for participation whenever we see an opportunity coming up,” said Kumar.

The family is now looking forward to advances in treatment for retinal detachment. “We have left no stone unturned for his treatment but with little progress so far,” says Manoj Sharaf, the child’s father.

For Prateek, the most special feeling is the support of his family. “They are most enthusiastic about my pursuing music.”
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