Getting a coveted seat at a Delhi University college is dream come true for many. With sky high cutoffs and even greater competition, those who make it have already proved their worth. But for some students, this can seem like a bigger feat than others.
Visually impaired Dev Narayan Prajapati, albino Roshan Kumar Sharma and government school educated Neha Gautam are three of the 50,000 students who had made their way to Delhi University colleges on Thursday for their first day of college. What sets them apart is the circumstances they have had to overcome to make it thus far.
“I want to share the knowledge i have gained”
Anybody who would have visited Ramjas Colleges on Thursday, would have surely seen a young boy sporting a baseball cap, a backpack and a white guide stick wandering around campus, looking almost thirsty to drink it all in.
“I have been here since early morning. I have just been walking around trying to familiarise myself with the surroundings,” said an excited Prajapati.
Prajapati, who has been visually impaired since birth, and is originally from Jharkhand, has enrolled for BA programme at Ramjas College.
“I want to get into the teaching line. I want to be a professor and share the knowledge I have gained so far with many more,” he said.
But things may not be as easy for Prajapati. As he studied at the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped at Dehradun, before joining Ramjas, he had easy access to textbooks in Braille. It may not be so for his college textbooks.
“I will have to go to a recording studio or something and get the textbooks audio recorded, so that I can listen to them and study later on. I have been told there are places in Delhi where such audiobooks are available, but I will have to figure it out,” he said.
But that has not dampened the spirits of this young man. “I have been interacting with some seniors. It just feels very reassuring when you see how welcoming they are,” he said.
“It is a new experience”
One of the first things that one would notice while speaking to Roshan Kumar Sharma is his melodious voice.
“Yes. I do sing a little bit,” said a bashful Sharma.
Spend a little while longer with him, and you see that he seems troubled by the sunlight.
“I have had albinism since birth. However, nobody ever asks me about it. I’m not even sure if they notice it about me… I have limited range vision and some photosensitivity because of the albinism,” said Sharma.
Prajapati’s classmate, Sharma has probably more mixed feelings about his first day at college.
“I am not sure what I feel. I would not call it ‘excitement.’ It is definitely a new experience. Until now it was school life, and we were kids. Now we are responsible for ourselves,” he said.
Sharma hopes to prepare for competitive exams such as the civil services and UPSC, and has joined the BA programme at Ramjas.
“Under the BA programme, a lot of the syllabus for competitive exams is covered,” he said.
“Why shouldn’t i get the benefit of a good college?”
The daughter of a driver and a housewife, Neha Gautam has been savouring every moment of the opportunity to her.
“In my family not many have gone to college. In fact, I think I am the first one to actually get into a prestigious North Campus college,” said Gautam, who has been admitted to Miranda House in BA(Hons) in Political Science.
Gautam, who had secured a best four score of 92.25% and cleared the cutoffs in the second round, completed her 12th grade at the Government Girls Senior Secondary School in New Kondli. She is now excited about her prospects at Miranda House, and hopes to crack the civil services exams and become an IAS officer.
“There is definitely some value attached to the brand label. Why shouldn’t I be able to get the benefits of a north campus college?” she said, when asked about why she chose Miranda.