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Disability no handicap for this Rajasthan youth

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Manoj Machra was born with no hands. In normal circumstances, someone with his disability would have accepted his fate and moved on, but not this 17-year-old: He hopes to get 80-85 percent in his secondary exams and aspires for a career in law.

His sheer grit and determination to complete his education against all odds is now inspiring his peers in a village these days. Manoj uses his toes to write his answer papers.

It is not for the first time that Manoj, a resident of Amarsar village in Churu district, over 250 km from Jaipur, has fluently written this way. This wonder boy has proved his academic excellence over the past few years despite being disabled.

"I secured 78 percent marks in my secondary examination. I cleared the upper primary education with 86.86 percent," Manoj proudly told IANS.

"Now I hope to clear my senior secondary by securing over 80-85 percent marks", he said.

He has taken science and maths as his subjects.

Manoj said that as he grew up, he found in himself a strong desire to complete his education.

"My parents used to worry how I would chase my dream, but I never let my disability bog me down and come in the way of my dream. I worked hard and practised to write using my left leg. Everybody gets surprised when they know that I have been able to secure such good marks without hands," he said.

Manoj who took the help of a writer in his 10th class exam, didn't ask for an assistant writer during the senior secondary examination.

"I am entitled to it, but I didn't ask for help. I did seek additional time to complete my examination paper as I am entitled to an hour's extension," said Manoj.

"In the 10th class exam, I felt I had secured less percentage because I took the help of a writer so this time I did not take help," he said.

He added that he had to practise for hours to comfortably write with his toes.

"I am now very comfortable with writing with my toes. I have just finished writing my senior secondary examination. I have studied a lot and hope to secure distinction in all the subjects," said Manoj.

Manoj aspires to join the legal services after completing his education. "I now want to take up as a subject," he added.

Manoj is the eldest of two brothers. His father runs a fair price shop for providing subsidised foodgrain.

"We and his school always encouraged him to do whatever he wants and we will continue to do so," his father, R.K. Machra, said.

(Anil Sharma can be contacted at anil.s@ians.in)

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