AIZAWL, March 5 - The word �impossible� finds no place in the lexicon of this 33-year-old visually-challenged man from Mizoram who has received an M Phil degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University and pursuing a Ph D degree in the same university.
Lalbuatsaiha, son of Zosiama, a resident of Keifang village, about 70 km from here, has achieved the M Phil degree in International Relations for his dissertation �India-Bhutan economic cooperation from 1997 to 2010,� to be the first physically-challenged person from Mizoram to receive such a high degree.
Born on June 27, 1984, Lalbuatsaiha is blind from birth, but this impairment has never stopped him from meeting challenges and scaling new heights. Labuatsaiha is the second youngest of the five children of Zosiama and his wife.
Buata�s childhood dream was to go to school and learn. �My father was a headmaster and I used to accompany him to his school. I would sit with the children listening to what they read and I memorised what I heard. I learned to carry pencil and paper like the other kids.�
�I jotted down in my notebook without seeing it and I would show it to my teachers. Looking back, I realised my teacher�s kindness and foresight. Though what I had jotted down have no meanings, my teachers would still encourage me, saying, �You are excellent, you can take rest now�. My father would tell me later that he used to wipe out his tears secretly while witnessing all these. I can understand how painful it must have been for a parent.�
It was in 1991 that something happened that changed his life forever. An education officer, by the name Vanlaldiki Sailo, of the then Integrated Education for Disabled Children (now SCERT ) visited the school where Lalbuatsaiha�s father taught. �My father told her about me and how keen I was to go to school. The officer, who came to survey the condition of disabled children in government schools, encouraged my dad informing him that many blind and physically disabled children get formal education in central India and many of them get even high posts in the government services. From her, we came to learn that there was a blind school in Kolasib district in northern Mizoram where many children had graduated from and got government jobs,� he recalled.
He was admitted to the Salvation Army�s blind school in Kolasib since 1993 where he studied till he passed matriculation. He completed Class XII from St John�s School under the Braille system. Then he pursued BA in Political Science, also with Braille system, from Govt Kolasib College.
�I did not face any problems in school or college. My friends and teachers were always supportive and encouraging. On my achievements, I would like to thank the Salvation Army for providing me opportunities to study in lower classes. I am also thankful to my father Zosiama for his endless encouragement and all my friends for their support,� Lalbuatsaiha told The Assam Tribune.
While pursuing Ph D degree in South Asian Studies in JNU, Lalbuatsaiha is working as a part time lecturer in Govt J Thankima College in Aizawl.
�I am also indebted to Mizoram State Council of Education Research & Training (SCERT) for all the support it had given me. I am also grateful to J Lalhruaisanga and other Mizo friends in Jamia Millia Islamia and JNU for their endless support,� he said.
Before Lalbuatsaiha, two visually-challenged persons in Mizoram had completed BA. But Lalbuatsaiha was the first one to complete with Honours subject. He post-graduated in Political Science from Jamia Millia, New Delhi in 2009, again the first person with visual impairment from Mizoram to complete MA. He has thrown a challenge to all physically-challenged persons, especially the visually-impaired, in Mizoram that their impairment should not prevent them from meeting challenges.
�Now technology has provided numerous opportunities for the blind people. Even the Mizoram University is now equipped with speaking software for visually-impaired students. If I can achieve why should not they?� he asked.