Published: 14th March 2019
Born with a 90 per cent disability, Mohammad Asim is fighting for his right to a fair education
13-year-old Mohammad Asim shares his amazing story about finding strength through his disability and fighting for what is rightfully his
For Mohammed Asim, life has been a battle for the most part. But the thirteen-year-old from Kozhikode does not need your pity or empty gestures, he knows exactly what he wants by the end of this fight. Having been born with ninety per cent disability in his limbs, Asim knows his way around most challenges. For the past few years, he has been fighting his longest battle yet with the state government, demanding something as basic as education.
Asim was home-schooled for class I and II. It was in the next few years that he began to develop a desire to study in a classroom with other children his age. So his parents enrolled him in Velimanna UP School, the only government school in the area. He learned to write with his feet and work around any challenge that came his way.
However, it was when he passed out from class VII that Asim and his family found themselves in a tight situation again. There was no government high school in their area that he was able to attend. “There are schools in some of the nearby panchayats, but, with his disability, we don’t want to make him travel that far. It’s not fair that he has to pay this price simply because of a condition he cannot control,” says Mohammed Saeed, his father.
Making waves: Asim wants to ensure that his efforts will make a difference in the life of other children like him
In 2014, the former government headed by Oommen Chandy saw Asim’s request as a special case and issued an order to upgrade the school. Asim also won a court case which guaranteed his right to an ordinary education and recognised the need for a high school in Asim’s hometown, Omassery. But the promises remained on paper and Asim’s growing group of local supporters realised that they would have to take the fight to the streets. “I already lost out on a year because they were not able to do their work, I will not lose anything else that I deserve,” narrated a determined Asim.
Last year, Asim and his family marched with their well-wishers all the way from Kozhikode to Trivandrum where APJM Sheikh Dawood, the grand nephew of Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, inaugurated a march to the collectorate, followed by a dharna. Despite meeting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan personally and sending handwritten letters by Asim to MPs and MLAs across the nation and state, only more empty promises followed.
Boy wonder: Asim recently gathered attention for a video where he was seen speaking to Rahul Gandhi
But resilience like the kind that Asim possesses does not die. He gained attention earlier this year when the President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi, visited the state and found the time to meet him. On his Facebook page, the politician wrote, “I met Asim in Kerala, today. He is a fighter. He is going to make us all proud.”
What does Asim want to be once he gets the education he so strongly desires and deserves? “My dream is to become a social worker,” he says in a very serious tone, adding, “I was inspired by the countless activists and social workers who came to help me. I have a few plans and ideas of my own and I want to use it to help other children like me.” With hopes that branch out so graciously, how can we prolong the kind of dreams that the future is made of?