Sanyash Kumar Behera is a visually disabled man. But this visually disabled man has created history. He got Rank 220 in unreserved category. And first Position among the 7 blind candidates who qualified Odisha Administrative Service (OAS) examination. Latest Odisha News correspondent Jyoti Prakash Sahoo had a small interaction with Sanyash on his success of getting OAS.
Q. First I would like to congratulate you, not only for getting OAS but also for creating a new revolution for disabled people. I know it is an usual question, but let us know how do you feel?
A. Thank you very much for congratulating me. I am feeling blessed. Actually I started this journey for make people like me more stable. But in a twist I got OAS. I think it will make a great impact, so I am very happy with this. Not only me my entire family and supporters all are very much happy and celebrating my success.
Q. Yes, of course you deserve this. Now you got the 220th rank in OAS. Getting OAS is not so simple even for a common man. And its very special for you. I want to know the credit goes to whom?
A.I want to thank my Parents, my lord Thakur Anukula Chandra, my family, my teachers and my whole Satsang Family. I am a dedicated devotee of Jaiguru. What I am today is because of all of them. So I want to give all the credits to them.
Q. I would like to start from your childhood. So how was it?
A. I was born in Kishore Prasad village of Gania Block of Nayagarh Dist. Gania is an undeveloped block. It is in worse condition like Nagada. We are in 21st century still there is no watering facility, no industrialization, and no railway connectivity. Farmers are still doing only one variety of farming. So in the other days the land remains unfarmed. Still now people of Gania are making marriage of their girls before legal age. People collect herbs and eat. Even I was like that in my village. I came through all this situations. So I can say I started struggling from my teen age.
Q. How were the days, when Sanyash became student? I mean your study life.
A. I have faced many challenges for my studies. Even I have no money to buy old news papers at the cost of Rs. 8 per Kg. I passed high school examination in 1st division from the Bhima Bhoi Blind School. Then there were no options for my formal educations in Nayagarh. So I discontinued my studies. Then I completed BA in Public Administration from the Algappa University.
Q. After being the secretary of State Blind Association from 2004 you are living at Rajkumar slum of Bhubaneswar and working for blind peoples. Even you fought for reservation in OAS for disabled people. So my question was how tough were the fight?
A. When I became the secretary of Blind association, I found many talented blind people. They were not getting any scope to show it up. So I thought why not they try for OAS? But when Advertisement published, I found there was a rule that no blind people can apply for it. So we challenged that rule and filed a case against that at SAT. But that case didn’t reached. So again we filed a public litigation case at Odisha High Court in the year 2011. I personally lead that case in the bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mohanty. Then the high court solved our problem and gave some notice to OPSC department to implement the reservation rules for blind people. But again in the OAS advertisement of 2015, there were no reservation given to the blind people. So again I filed a case at State Commission for Differently abled and also at State Differently abled empowerment department. G V Benu Gopal Sharma one officer of this department worked with me to change the system. And then the advertisement was changed accordingly. And we got the chance to appear in OAS.
Q. Braille literature for preparation is not available in Odisha. How was your preparation for OAS?
A. The first problem I faced was there were no study materials for OAS in brail. So I contacted world’s largest library which is Library of Congress of American Parliament. I requested them to give me some study materials. Then after receiving my disability certificate, they issued me some materials in brail, free of cost. Also I got some audio materials from National Association for the Blind, Delhi and Ahmadabad Blind Association at a nominal cost. Some volunteers like Manisha, Nitindra, Sukant, My wife, son and two daughters helped me a lot for Odia literature studies.
Q. So who was the most inspiring person for you, who indirectly or directly motivated you for OAS?
A. I cant forget Dr. Bhushan Punani. He is the Founder of Blind Peoples Association Ahmadabad. He once said me that if you want to make a remarkable change in the system then you should enter the system. His thoughts and talks inspired me the most. He got Padmashree for his work in disability sector.
Q. Not only for visually disabled people, you are also very much active in social services. Tell us something about your social works. What attracts you to social service?
A. I have seen many bad times and lived poor living. So I know the sorrows of poor people very well. The smile in a poor’s heart and the love I get from poor people attracted me for social service. I have joined rallies for people. I worked with many people for people. Once a girl came to me, she was raped. I begged everyone. But no one listened to me. Then when I got the order to meet the President, then all the officers requested not to make big issue and promised that CM will talk about it with me. And then the girl got justice. She got placed in a government job and also rape victim compensation money worth 50,000 rupees.
Q. When a disabled person like you raising his voice against in justice and that works. Then why can not normal people do this? Is this the fault of people or the Government?
A. It’s not fault of the people or the society. It is the fault of a bad system. You see people distribute Geeta, Bible like holy books free of cost. But has anyone got Indian constitution and learnt in odia language? No we don’t have that facility. So when people are not aware of the rules then what can they do. So I strongly recommend to give more emphasis on constitution study from student level.
Q. Although we have come across many centuries and now we are in a modern time that is 21stcentury. Still not all the barriers of standardization are broken in our society. Still disable people at many places are feeling helpless. So what is your message to the society and especially to the disabled?
A. My message to the society is, don’t waste time on what you don’t have, instead Concentrate on the things properly that you have. God made us all. So everyone have some special qualities. All should make aim and work for it sincerely, one day they will definitely reach their goal.
Q. Thank you Mr. Sanyash for being with me and for sharing your story with us. And all the best for your future works.
A. Thanks to you too. And thanks all the people who support us.