Qaimoh: Fayaz Ahmed Shergojri is perhaps the shortest man in Kashmir valley. He also suffers from a neurological weakness and speech impairment. His height catches everyone’s eyes when he walks on the streets or boards a passenger vehicle. Fayaz does not feel shy or bad about his height and is satisfied with what Allah has given him. “I have no complaints with Allah. He is the best knower of things. I never feel bad about my short height but take it as a gift from Him. Feeling bad about it will mean challenging God’s will,” Fayaz says.
Fayaz is thankful to Allah that he is in a better condition than many other people. “When I see people with blindness, deaf and mute condition, or completely crippled, I raise my hands and thank Allah that I am at least able to see, walk and talk,” Fayaz told Kashmir Reader.
Fayaz wants to earn his living through fair means. After his father suffered a stroke a couple of weeks ago, he ensured that his father’s milk business was not affected. His father runs a milk shop in Qaimoh area of Kulgam.
“Being the eldest among five siblings, I have been looking after my father’s milk business since the day he suffered a heart attack a couple of weeks ago,” Fayaz said.
Fayaz’s passion for learning and independent living is such that he travels daily a distance of seven kilometres to reach a computer-cum-tailoring coaching centre in Anantnag.
“I spend three to four hours at the shop both in the morning and in the evening. During the day I go to learn a course on computers and tailoring in Anantnag. I don’t want to be a burden on my parents,” he said.
Fayaz has been offered roles in TV programmes, but he has refused them. “I believe one should always earn a dignified living,” he said of his refusal to appear on TV.
Fayaz has complaints with the Board of School Education (BOSE) for refusing him a scribe during exams, which has caused his failure in matriculation exams three times. “I appeared in Class 10 exams thrice and failed every time. The reason for my failure was the weakness in my hand. I can hardly write for ten minutes at a stretch. My hand starts aching from the fingers to the elbow,” Fayaz said.
He said that after his first failure in the exam, he approached the board authorities to request a scribe, but they refused. “I told them that because of my disability it is my right to have a scribe, but they did not listen. Had they allowed me a scribe I would have completed my graduation as well. One wonders how indifferent they can be towards the disabled,” Fayaz said.