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Handicapped Behala resident dreams of becoming Physics professor

College teachers back student’s physics quest

By Mita Mukherjee in Calcutta
  • Published 23.07.19, 2:15 AM
  • Updated 23.07.19, 2:15 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Deepak Pandey at his home in Behala (The Telegraph picture)

A student who writes with his legs after losing both arms in an accident has got admission in physics honours at a city college.

Teachers are worried whether Deepak Pandey would be able to manage the rigours of practicals — a must for all students pursuing the course — but at the same time determined to help him out.

Deepak, who cleared the Higher Secondary exams from Alipore Takshal Vidyapith with 72 per cent in physics and in total, told Metro that he was aware of the difficulties he would face during practicals but was keen on pursuing higher studies in physics.

The Behala resident had applied for physics honours at New Alipore College, which is affiliated to Calcutta University. He got admission under the disabled quota.

Undergraduate admissions are now held online and applicants cannot visit colleges till admissions are over. So, the New Alipore college authorities got to know of Deepak’s difficulty only on the first day of classes (July 6), Jaydeep Sarangi, the principal, said.

Deepak had lost his hands when he was a Class IV student at a school in Palamu, Jharkhand, in 2009. He was playing with his friends on a field when he touched a high-tension wire.

Both his arms were burnt till the elbows.

He was brought to Calcutta for treatment and his entire family relocated to Behala.

Teachers at the college are in a dilemma whether he can be allowed to pursue the course because a considerable portion of it involves practicals. They are unsure if he would be able to do experiments effectively with the help of another person.

Physics honours students need to do experiments in mechanics, light, sound and computer studies, which require the use of hands, a teacher at the college said.

For example, in mechanics, Deepak might be required to tighten a screw to a particular extent while doing an experiment. “He might not be able to learn the topic properly if he doesn’t tighten the screw himself,” a physics teacher of Calcutta University said.

“The person handling the equipment for him might follow his instructions but Deepak won’t understand the full application of a theory when he does not do the experiment himself.”

Bhaskar Bhattacharya, the head of the physics department of New Alipore College, said teachers were aware of the challenges.

“But we are reluctant to ask him to go for another subject that does not require practicals... he is intelligent and has a lot of interest in the subject... he dreams of becoming a professor in physics in a college,” Bhattacharya said.

Principal Sarangi said Deepak’s case had been discussed and teachers had reached a consensus that he should be allowed to study the course.

“There will be difficulties but 90 per cent of the problems can be addressed. We are ready to make necessary arrangements to help him complete the course successfully,” the principal said.

Deepak said he was confident of managing the practicals. “I am aware of the difficulties I would face during practicals,” he said. “But I want to pursue higher studies in physics and become a college teacher. I will be grateful to the college and the university if I am given the chance to study the course.”

The college has sought the university’s permission to allow Deepak to pursue the course.

“This is a unique case. We have received the letter from New Alipore College. We are trying out various possibilities... how the student can be offered the course,” a university official said.