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Story of visually impaired Tariq: How father, brother recorded everything to make him Assistant Professor

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By Sameer Ahmad

Anantnag: It had been a tough journey but visually impaired Tariq Bashir has made it through and now is an Assistant Professor.

“While I heard people say ‘he can do nothing’, today I tell them ‘I can do anything,” Tariq says.

Tariq began to lose his vision at an early age and when he was eight it ‘all went black’.

According to Tariq he was born with ‘Retinitis pigmentosa’.

“This condition changes how the retina responds to light, making it hard to see. People with retinitis pigmentosa lose their vision slowly over time,” Tariq says.

Tariq Bashir Khan born to Bashir Ahmad Khan, and Tahira Begam lives in Andoora Shangas village of south Kashmir’s Islamabad.

Tariq’s father, Bashir Ahmad, confides that he began to have eye sight issues at an early stage and by eight his vision was impaired in total leaving him blind.

“I could not let his problems browbeat him, and as a father I had to do everything that won’t make his tough and him dependent on anybody,” Bashir explained.

In his father and brother Farooq Bashir also a government teacher, Tariq found two people that would lay down the foundation of his career that will open gates of success for him.

Tariq says: It was a collective journey of my family and my friends as well that helped me all along.

Tariq with his family.
(from left to right) Wife, Tariq, his father, his mother.
Children: Tariq’s daughters.

Since his ninth standard it was all voices that made him study and his concentration to remember things.

“My father and brother would read loudly all the text books and notes and I would listen carefully. Later they began recording my study materials so that I would listen to it later and replay according to my needs,” he says.

However there came a pause, a big one, when he was in standard 12.

His family says it was an eight years pause.

Prior to his eight years pause, he had to stop for his brother, who had to reappear in his tenth standard. So Tariq would let is brother clear his exams first as they would study together.

“He was admitted in higher secondary and cleared his eleventh, but then there came a halt. We were going to doctors, inside and outside valley and it took a long time to motivate him to go back to studies,” Bashir explains.

Eight years later, Tariq returned to books rather to casettes, never to make a halt this time.

Tariq has a huge collection of casettes that his father has over the years recorded for his son.

He cleared his 12th standard in 2003, after an eight years stopping.

Tariq says one of his motivation came from Radio.

“Radio used to broadcast a Punjabi programme “Akshar Akhanday” especially for Blind. I was encouraged by that programme,” he says.

After completing his graduation in 2006 with 1st Division, Tariq joined MA in History programme with Kashmir University.

“In 2009, I Qualified Preliminary examination of Kashmir Administrative service (KAS) bu was not allowed by public service commission (PSC) to sit in the KAS mains examination for not being able to provide him a helper or brail facility. I lost the opportunity to join the civil service,” he claims.

Unfazed by the lost opportunity in civil service Tariq concentrated on other competitive exams and qualified National Eligibility Test (NET) and State level Eligibility test (SLET). This became strength for khan to qualify the screening and interview for the post of lecturer at higher secondary level Conducted by PSC.

His family says in 2011, Tariq was appointed as lecturer and was posted in a government higher secondary school in his own area.

“The then principal of the higher secondary school was apprehensive about his ability to teach and thus denied him permission to join the school. It was only after the intervention of the Then Director school education Kashmir, he was allowed to join. He was posted in DIET Anantnag where he proved  himself as the best lecturer,” Tariq’s father, a retired head master says.

In year 2016, he cracked PSC and was selected as Assistant Professor in History subject as serial number seven in the open merit.

Tariq, was married in 2011 and has 3 daughters.

He thanks all his friends who have over the years helped him in various forms.

“My friends would get me all the required study material and my father would call them to explain to him things that I would need to understand,” Tariq says.

“First my father would understand things and then he would record and explain to me. So my father has equally studied what I have studied,” Tariq explains.

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