Expressindia.com, 21st May, 2008
Posted online: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 10:42:38
K Manoranjan Nayak was the first from his family to enter a college in Malkangiri district of Orissa. At the time he travelled from his village Upperkatinga in neighbouring Koraput district to Malkangiri every day for his classes.
Despite the toil, he seldom missed classes, though he knew he couldn’t hear the lectures.
But being hearing impaired by birth was never a handicap for 26-year-old Nayak, who later made it to the Jawaharlal Nehru University as a Sociology student. For, he wanted to “make a difference”. Coming from the hunger-stricken Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region of Orissa, Nayak, son of a forest guard, perhaps had learnt early to not give up easily.
And, last week, his constant efforts towards a better life led him to another laurel when he made it to the Civil Services in the physically handicapped category. “When I enrolled at JNU five years ago as an MA student, I knew I was the only student with hearing impairment. Yet, this was the last thing that bothered me,” he says in answer to a question passed on to him on a piece of paper.
And that is exactly how he appeared for his final interviews for the Civil Services as well. “There was a computer on which questions were typed for me; I read them and answered,” he explains.
At JNU, Nayak would quietly take notes and later write questions for the teachers to answer. “Three professors at my Centre helped me immensely with written notes in response to my questions,” he says.
His friend and senior research student at JNU Netajee Abhinandan says Nayak never let his handicap come in the way of his happiness. “You will always find him smiling,” Abhinandan says. “He is always forthcoming with his participation in sports and other extra-curricular activities and never lets himself be sidelined in any group.”
Nayak today is not just a student with hearing impairment — for many at the campus he is a symbol of achievement despite odds. Back home, he continues to inspire four younger siblings with his courage and ambition. His younger sister, too, has made it to JNU this year as a post-graduate student.
But Nayak seems tireless. “I will appear for the Civil Services exams again next year to improve my rank of 726.”