Disability isn’t the end of life; work hard to make dreams come true, says Zeenat Maqbool

Jahangeer Ganaie

SrinagarA 27-year-old girl from the Summer Bugh area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district is ascending the ladder of success despite experiencing a tragic accident in her childhood.

Zeenat Maqbool, a resident of Golapura Summer Bugh Budgam, whose right leg was amputated a few years ago, is currently working as a laboratory technician in a private superspeciality hospital.

Speaking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Zeenat said her family was very excited about her birth as there wasn’t any girl in the family, but the joy turned short-lived when she met with an accident.

“I was just eight months old when my father placed me on a wooden structure and my right limb got twisted as it got stuck in it, following which I was taken to the famous Kashmiri bonesetter. Instead of curing, it got fractured there,” she said.

Zeenat said she was later taken to B&J Hospital Srinagar where doctors informed the family that the leg was fully fractured and it was very difficult to cure it. She said that even after receiving treatment there, there was no improvement in the leg.

“For three consecutive years, my parents moved from pillar to post for my treatment, but there was no improvement in my leg and at the age of 3, my surgery was done, but unfortunately, that too was unsuccessful,” she said.

She further added that during the operation, a bone of the left leg was taken out and put in the right leg, and as the surgery remained unsuccessful, both legs were operated on. The right leg got weak, deformed, and shortened in size, besides reduced muscle mass, she said.

“My family tried their best but didn’t get any success despite taking me to doctors, bonesetters, and faith healers. During these years, my right arm also got fractured but that was recovered shortly,” she said.

“Due to continuous unsuccessful efforts, my mother became very depressed. Losing hope, she took an extreme step and ended her life when I was around 7,” Zeenat said.

She said her mother’s loss was the biggest loss of her life.”Living a life without a mother, that too with a damaged limb, is very difficult, as the condition of my limb worsens with each passing day. , and she never had shoes of her choice because of unequal foot size.

“I continued my studies despite these challenges,” Zeenat shared. “Till the fourth grade, I attended school with a damaged limb without support, but later, my condition worsened, and I could no longer move freely.”

Her father eventually acquired crutches for her, but using them proved difficult, resulting in torn clothes, boils, blisters and injuries. Despite these obstacles, Zeenat persevered and excelled in her studies, earning distinctions up to the 10th grade in a local school and then completing her education in Nowgam Srinagar.

Zeenat said that despite her health challenges, she pursued medical subjects and excelled in her studies. She completed her 12th class with flying colours, with her father providing unwavering support and motivation.

“In 2015, I transitioned from walking on sticks to crutches, which affected my posture and increased bleeding in my limb,” Zeenat said. “Concerned about my health, I consulted a non-local doctor in Srinagar, who advised me to seek treatment in Amritsar.”

In 2016, she underwent below-knee amputation, followed by a year of bed rest and prosthetic limb fitting. Learning to walk on an artificial limb posed challenges, but Zeenat embraced the opportunity, enabling her to walk without support for the first time in 22 years.

“This was a turning point in my life,” she said. “In 2017, I enrolled in college, pursuing further education despite my father’s accident and other family challenges.”

Zeenat completed her BSc and Diploma in Medical Lab Technology at Govt Women’s Polytechnic College Bemina and pursued further studies in Chandigarh. She is now employed as a lab technician in a private superspeciality hospital and is preparing for government job exams while pursuing her master’s and PhD studies.

“Until completing my diploma, my family supported me financially, but I have been managing my expenses independently since completing my BSc,” she said.

Zeenat expressed gratitude for her supportive family, especially her father, and credited her success to their encouragement. She acknowledged the challenges she faced and the strength she gained from overcoming them.

She plans to establish a laboratory offering affordable tests to benefit patients, drawing from her own experiences as a patient. “My message to other specially-abled persons will be that their disability isn’t the end of life; rather, you need to be courageous to fight all odds and overcome challenges,” she said, adding that the loss of one organ doesn’t mean the end of life as your brain is working and that is enough to dream and work on your dreams to make them come true.

“I am grateful for the trials I have faced, and alongside my hard work and dedication, I attribute my success to my supportive family and inspiring teachers. By embracing our abilities and focusing on our strengths, we can overcome challenges and inspire others to do the same,” she concluded—(KNO)