In times when youngsters in urban landscape are succumbing to the pressures of adulthood, meandering towards depression and eventually, some even ending their precious lives, there is an inspiring tale of a 22-year-old girl living in a village nestled in the interiors of Maharashtra.
Shirin Tabassum hails from Yavatmal (formerly known as Yeotmal) district of Vidarbha region. Though born with no arms and only one leg, Shirin is blessed with a towering willpower and jest for life. So, her disability could not stop her from moving from one achievement to another in life.
“I don’t have arms like you. I have only one leg. For people, I am a physically-disabled person, but for me, I am not. People care about my disability more than I do. I was born like this. Did I give up? No, I didn’t. I have not and will never give up. I want to become a collector and this is my story.”
Shirin has completed graduation and dreams to become a collector so that she can work for the betterment of farmers.
Shirin believes that ups and downs are a part of life and everyone encounters the bad patches of life, followed by happy times. On being asked if she ever feels depressed about her physical disability, she ruthlessly rejects it.
“Why should I be depressed? No arms and only one leg do not stop me from doing anything. I do things as any normal able person does. God has given me a beautiful life and I am very happy with the way I am,” says Shirin.
In the last few years, Yavatmal has earned a bad name with highest number of farmer suicide cases and one of the major factors behind them ending their life is depression.
Moved by the plight of farmers in her district, Shirin decided to use her story to inspire them and not to give up in life.
Shirin began travelling to villages and interacting with farmers. She motivates them to not be disappointed with crop loss and to try their best the next year.
“I tell them my story and how I live. I urge them not to commit suicide and to spare a look at me before thinking about giving up. I ask them if they would want their kids to die like this,” says the young girl.
Gradually, noticing her dedication and commendable work, the administration appointed her as ‘Chetana Doot’.
“Since last one-and-a-half-years, Shirin has been working with the district administration as ‘Chetana Doot’. She is a confidant and sharp girl. She interacts with farmers and narrates her own ordeal. She gives lectures to our staff members as well. She has the never-give-up spirit and she is an inspiration for all those who are depressed,” said Rajesh Khawale, Resident Collector, Yavatmal.
Shirin attributes her love for life to her parents, who are her pillars of strenth.
“We never lost hope for Shirin. Her father is her right arm and I am her left. She does all activities by herself. Shirin uses a mobile phone, cuts vegetables and the most amazing thing is she even applies mehndi as well,” says Shakila Bano, Shirin’s mother, who goes on to add that her daughter is not a physically-disabled girl for them.
It is natural for parents to be proud of their wards when they fare well in life and Shirin’s father has all the right reasons to be proud of his daughter.
Watch Shirin has no arms, but applies mehndi
“Shirin is my backbone as she has tremendous strength and positive energy. She works with farmers to bring our brothers out from depression. When I see her work tirelessly for farmers, I feel very proud of her. Though we are poor, we will do whatever we can to help her achieve her dreams,” says Shirin’s father Shaikh Shamshir.
Watch Shirin has no arms, but she cuts vegetables
Celebrating the spirit of life, Shirin who has an elder sister and a younger brother, is setting an example for those who are depressed and want to end their life.
“Bad phases of life do not hint at giving up. You have to fight it,” says Shirin, adding, “I am not dependent on anyone, and I want every teen to be the same.”
Watch Shirin has no arms, but she writes with her foot
Watch Shirin has no arms, but she sews with her foot
One of the leading causes of suicide in India is depression. Stress, pressure and number of other reasons are taking a toll on the mental ability. Teens and young adults are more prone to depression and many have committed suicide. This year, World Health Organisation has chosen depression as theme for World Health Day, to be marked on April 7.