IM this article to a friend!

June 6, 2003

Deaf topper keeps his promise

From: Mid-Day Mumbai, India - Jun 6, 2003

By: Sandhya Nair

When Divin Visariya (18) applied for admission to Churchgate's Kishanchand Chellaram College two years ago, the principal wrote on a chit of paper, "Will you get me a rank?" He wrote back, "I will." And he did.

Visariya, a hearing impaired student who had topped the handicapped category in Standard X two years ago, retained his position in this year's Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination, scoring 91 per cent marks.

Although he scored 88.5 per cent in the SSC exams, Visariya, a resident of Giri Vihar Darshan in Byculla, had to struggle to find a college in the city willing to admit him in the vocational science category. There were no reservations in that category to come to his rescue.

Soon after he cleared his SSC exams as a student of St Mary's High School, Mazgaon, his parents Varsha and Jagdish Visariya visited all the city colleges offering a vocational science subject (so that he would not have to study an additional language).

While most colleges turned him down, at KC College all he had to do was assure Principal Nachani that he could succeed.

"I asked if he would get me a rank. He did not follow me so I wrote it on a piece of paper. Without batting an eyelid, he said yes," recalls Nachani.

"I did not know if I could do it. I wanted an admission," says Visariya, who wants to pursue a career in engineering. Two years ago Visariya could not follow speech properly. So he relied on written words. Today he replies verbally after concentrating on the speaker provided the language is English or Hindi.

Visariya's parents themselves learned English so they could communicate with him. While hearing impaired children depend on sign language, Visariya was trained to lip-read rather than use sign language.

For two years mother Varsha kept that piece of paper in front of Divin reminding him his promise. "The college gave my son an opportunity. I helped him in keeping his promise," she said.

In class, Divin faithfully attended all the lecturers, told his teachers to face the classroom while delivering a lecture so he could lip-read and was amply supported by his classmates. "All I need is a little help. For everything else I put in my efforts," says Visiriya, smiling at his own ability to speak with confidence.

Divin's HSC score

Electronics: 186/200
English: 78/100
Mathematics: 90/100
Physics: 96/100
Chemistry: 96/100

© 2003 Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd. All rights reserved