India’s Hawking’ Wants to Work for the Disabled

Dr Akshansh Gupta

Unhappy over choiceof venue at NIT

  • JNU scholar Akshansh Gupta was unhappy at the choice of venue for the inaugural function of the competition in NIT. The function was organised in a senate hall located on the first floor on Tuesday. “Since the hall has no ramp or lift, my assistant Mahajan lifted me up to climb the stairs. Organising such functions is meaningless unless the management ensures disabled-friendly infrastructure,” he said.

Akshansh Gupta, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is developing a software that can function on signals received from the brain.

“I want to make life comfortable for disabled persons. The idea of a hi-tech gadget that can be commanded by brain signals is at the theoretical stage. I am keen to visit laboratories in the US, Australia and other countries to give a practical shape to my idea,” said Gupta (33), pursuing post-doctoral from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

He was at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) here today to participate in a competition for the differently abled and challenges they face while dealing with information technology (IT). The two-event is being organised by the Centre’s Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

A native of Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, Gupta was awarded PhD in December last year for his thesis on ‘Brain Computer Interface’ in the School of Computer and System Sciences from JNU.

He credited his late mother Damini Gupta for recognising his special ability of learning and encouraged him to study.

“Instead of thinking about one’s disabilities, one needs to focus on his abilities. Everyone has his own challenges in life and the one who fights his own odds is a real winner,” Gupta, suffering 95 per cent disability, told The Tribune.

His struggle continues to this day. In spite of his academic credentials, government educational institutes are unwilling to employ him.

“The JNU offers the best on-campus adaptability to the disabled. But it, too, is reluctant to give me employment. My alma mater claims that students may not understand my disruptive speech. Technologies are available world over to meet such challenges. Institutes or government should provide opportunities to all disabled persons possessing special academic or intellectual qualities,” Gupta said.

Recalling his time at JNU, he said it was his best phase in life. “I was named ‘Stephen Hawking of India’ there. Students addressed me Bunty dada. They were always helpful.”

He was pained when someone called JNU the “den of anti-nationals”. “Do I look like a violent person from the JNU?” Gupta said with a smile.

By: Vishal Joshi, Tribune News Service

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