Paralyzed army officer turns role model

As a boy, Navin Gulia was a below-average student and since he was also physically weak he never participated in any sports. But the constant mockery of his classmates and the adventurism of his brother drove him forward. Finally, he became one of the most accomplished sportsmen in his school. Once he finished his schooling, he was selected by the military in Pune.

At the end of four years of training at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, the 19-year-old trainee reached the “Passing out Parade” on 29 April 1995. He was required to complete an obstacle course. After crossing an eight feet ditch, he was at the top of a high ramp. There, by mistake, a companion pushed him. As he tumbled down from the pedestal, Gulia landed on his upper back, damaging his spine.

Lying paralyzed in a hospital bed for two years, doctors told him that even if he survived, he would never be able to move about. Even then, he refused to hold any grudge against the companion who pushed him saying he never imagined that he will be paralyzed for life! During his bedridden days, he read many inspiring survivor stories. Deciding not to spend the rest of his life on a wheelchair complaining, he completed his Masters in Computer Science from Pune in first division and in the UGC NET Examination and became a computer teacher.

When he fell from the ramp, he was just one step away from becoming an Army Officer. So Gulia fought with the government to grant him the Officer status and the pension, and succeeded in getting it.

Not to confine himself to a classroom, he wanted to drive a car, and learned driving online and got his license. He then modified a Maruti 800 into a fancier model, and started driving on a modified SUV up to Khardung La, the alleged highest motorable pass. When he successfully completed it, he learned that Marsimik La was the highest motorable pass in the world.

Subscribe to The Teenager Today print / digital editions to read the full article.

F. M. Britto
Latest posts by F. M. Britto (see all)

F. M. Britto

F. M. Britto serves marginalized people in a remote village in Chhattisgarh with education and development programmes. He is the author of six books including 99 Changemakers and Keys To Success And Happiness published by Better Yourself Books.