Tariq Ahmed- From Blind Man to an Assistant Professor

January 08

Life is not always fair and it has its share of bends, both up and down, but then it is also about what you make out of it. It is up to one to choose the prism you want to look at life through and sometimes even the most hopeless situations turn cheerful, depending upon the way you look at life. A visually impaired boy diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (A disorder of the eyes that causes loss of vision) at the age of 9 went on to become an assistant professor and set an inspirational example on how to make the most out of the helpless situations.

Tariq Ahmad Bhat, a resident of a small village Undoo in South Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) District was born with retinitis Pigmentosa. “The situation at that time appeared hopeless, I gave up my studies for eight years,” Tariq says. At the age of fifteen post passing his matriculation exams, Tariq could not further pursue his studies due to the growing blindness and eventually he gave up his studies for eight years and ran away from his parents a couple of times. This disability however did not stop him from leading life the way he wanted to. Today he is a professor with wonderful colleagues and a wife who has not made him feel like he lacks anything, in fact she has been as the life partner by a local non-governmental organization.

During eight years, the clouds of darkness loomed over Tariq’s life as he lost on all the hopes to continue his studies. “I had become dependent and could not even stand or walk on my own, I was restricted to the four walls of my house for a period of eight years,” Tariq recalls. He remembers how out of sheer frustration and disillusionment he left his parents twice. “The thought of being disable and dependent for the rest of my life caused anxiety and frustration , but then at the end of every dark tunnel, there is light, but one has to stay the course and walk their way through the dark to see illumination,” Tariq Says.

Tariq Ahmad Bhat lost all his hope when his colleagues and friends achieved one milestone after the other. “However this did not discourage me, in fact it rekindled my zeal and passion to continue my studies despite my blindness,” he told. When all hope seemed to have faded and troubles too much to be contained in the heart of a fifteen year old, a ray of hope emerged from a radio program which focused on various techniques for the visually impaired to study. “The radio program aired on All India Radio helped me restart my studies after a gap of eight long years,” Tari recalls while speaking to The Kashmiriyat.

“I recorded these programs on audio cassettes as it was a time when communication was not as swift as today, I used to record important subject matter in the cassettes and then listen to them repeatedly.”

Tariq’s father was a teacher and his sister works as a principal in a Government School, his brother too is posted as a teacher. “I expressed my desire to study to my father after having learnt various techniques to study further through the radio programmes, after which my father helped me with the admission process.”

Tariq recalls how his father used to recite his lessons loudly from his syllabus books and he would record the same. “i later used to listen to these tapes for many hours together, this process continued until I completed my graduation in Arts from government Degree College in Anantnag.”
When he was pursuing my post-graduation, at Kashmir University’s History department, his faculty members encouraged him to go on to pursue his dream of teaching, Tariq remembers.

Tariq throughout the course his examinations since 11th needed a helper to write for him. “The condition to the helper being allowed into the exams was that he must be at least one class lesser than me in education. At times, the examiners deputed a separate invigilator for me to make sure that i was reciting the answers to the helper and that he was not writing on his own.”

Tqriq Ahmed Dar later cracked the National Eligibilty Test and also qualified the state eligibility test. He also cracked the prelims examinations of Kashmir Administrative services (KAS), but was disallowed to appear for the mains exams. A few months later, Tariq was appointed as an assistant professor at a Utersoo college which is very near to his village.

Today Tariq is happily married with three daughters.

“I felt my son was disabled however today he attends programs throughout the valley and has transited into a motivational speaker of the contemporary times as the newer generation instantly feels hopeless,” ,” his father proudly told The Kashmiriyat.

He attends events throughout Kashmir valley and has been felicitate on several occasions. His journey from complete darkness to showing the way of light to thousands of his students is surely a million dollar story, his father feels.