GUWAHATI, Oct 7 - Life had literally come to a standstill for Dildar Ahmad of Kashmir who was confined to bed following a spinal injury sustained in an accident in 1996. For eight years, he remained bedridden and later, he was able to move in a wheelchair. All this, however, failed to deter his never-say-die spirit and Ahmad has now embarked on an incredible journey across the length and breadth of the country, driving a modified vehicle.
Even more inspiring is the fact that his journey around the country is not a pleasure trip; rather it is a mission with a message � that of spreading awareness about spinal injury and its cure.
Ahmad, who arrived here on Monday after covering a number of States, told The Assam Tribune that he wanted to see the standard of life and the financial position of wheelchair users across India and contribute to their cause, particularly with regard to treatment and rehabilitation.
�I have named my journey �India Spinal Cord Drive,� which is being coordinated by the Spinal Foundation. We are jointly sponsoring it. My objective is to interlink the different non-government organisations working in this field to form an umbrella organisation and reach out to the needy,� he said.
The Spinal Foundation has a toll-free number written on Ahmad�s car. From the number, anyone can get all information regarding the causes and remedies of spinal cord injuries.
�I am on a wheelchair due an accident which took place on September 5, 1996. As there was little awareness and rehabilitation at that time and being from a remote village, I could not go outside Kashmir for treatment and rehabilitation. My life came to a standstill and I was on bed for eight long years just waiting for death which never came. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were the only chores for me,� he reminisced.
Ahmad finally resolved to redefine and reorient his life. He took a bank loan and started a transport business and then became a supplier of building materials.
�When I consolidated my financial position, I began to think of other wheelchair users � first those of Kashmir and then of the rest of India. I purchased a car in 2007 and modified it in 2009, and have since been driving my own car,� he said.
Ahmad started his countrywide campaign on August 19. He said that lack of awareness about spinal injuries and their treatment had been a stumbling block in the path of rehabilitation of such victims.
�I want to spread as much awareness as possible and hope to bring some positive changes into these people�s lives. Many NGOs are working in this field, but there is an apparent lack of coordination. My aim is to interlink the different NGOs and form an umbrella organisation,� he said.