Srinagar: A stray bullet left Arshad Ahmad
Pandit crippled waist downwards, but he did not let it come in
way of leading a normal life as he modified his four-wheeler
to fit his special needs.
Tragedy struck Pandit in 1995 after he was hit by a stray
bullet during an exchange of a gunfire between security
forces and militants. The bullet in his spinal cord left this
Srinagar youth, then around 20 years of age, paralysed for
rest of his life.
"For the next two years I remained bed-ridden," Pandit,
now a 37-year-old, said on the sidelines of Innovators`
Meet at the University of Kashmir.
Deciding to further his studies, Pandit completed a
Masters degree in Immunology and Molecular Medicine. "It was
my elder brother who would drive me to places. I was
completely dependent on him," he said.
The dependence on others and the urge for being
independent led Pandit to search for a modified vehicle in
which he would drive to work.
"There were no modified vehicle which I could have
driven because I was having paraplegia, which means paralysis
waist down, so I could use none on my legs and the modified
vehicles available then required at least one functional leg,"
He went to a mechanic and discussed car designs and the
ways to make modifications into a vehicle for himself.
"I came up with a design, it took me several months to
figure it out properly," he said.
Today, Pandit, who works as a consultant at Advanced
Centre for Human Genetics in the Valley`s leading SKIMS
hospital and has a PhD to his credit, drives the vehicle which
he has modified to fit his special needs.
The Maruti Alto car, which he owns, has a modified
accelerator, brake and clutch controls -- all in his right
"My necessity made me an innovator," he said.
"It has given me independence. Now, I can go anywhere I
want. I can see paradise with my eyes now," a proud scholar
said, who is in contact with other innovators to upgrade
the safety measures in the car.