New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Kargil war veteran and India’s first blade runner, Major Devender Pal Singh, said he wanted to change the mindset of people towards disability and this is why he took up running with the prosthetic leg.
On July 15, 1999 during the Kargil war, Singh was injured when a mortar shell landed 1.5 metres from where he was, causing major multiple injuries. In the hospital, doctors initially declared him dead but then managed to save him after amputating his leg.
Despite this, Singh gradually started running using a prosthetic limb. He has taken part in 18 marathons so far.
“To change the mindset of public towards disability, there was need for action on ground. As marathon running is the most difficult task for any amputee, I chose to convey this message through my actions,” Singh told IANS.
The JK Cement SwachhAbility Run, which culminated in Jaipur on Tuesday, is the brainchild of Singh.
JK Cement Swachhability Run has also partnered with non-profit organisations like ‘The Challenging Ones’ and ‘Flags of Honour’ to drive this initiative.
Asked about the concept of the run, Singh said: ” I realised that the impact of the work done by my NGO, The Challenging Ones, was getting restricted to only metros. I met Rajnish Kapur – Business Head (Grey Cement), JK Cement ltd. and shared my idea of bringing about change in the remaining parts of the Country. Then they decided to spearhead the noble cause of SwachhAbility and that is how the concept was taken to different parts of India”
The SwachhAbility Run was flagged off on October 7 in Kota, before moving to Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer and Jaipur.
After the run, the participants including divyangs (people with disabilities) helped run a cleanliness drive in each city.
The run also saw active participation by school children, where about 138 schools participated.
The event included two categories of runs — 5km and 3km. The 5 km run which is a timed race, is open for all to participate. However to encourage more participation towards the cause, 3 km run was done alongside, especially for school children and for anyone else who wished to run a shorter distance.