Arunima creates a record of sorts by climbing the Mount Everest
Arunima Sinha, the basketball player with postgraduate degree in sociology, became a wonder girl by defying all adversities of her life, and by mocking at her own mutilated limbs. With her artificial left leg and two rods supporting the right one, she took up the gravest challenge of life, and fulfilled her dream of climbing the Mount Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas, thus becoming a fountain of inspiration, to all those who fall victims to the criminals scattered all around us. Arunima’s left leg had to be removed when she was operated in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi after being thrown out of the train near Bareilly, while fighting with hooligans in a compartment of Padmavati Express. Arunima spoke to Organiser correspondent Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey in Lucknow. Excerpts:
What level of education you had attained before you were assaulted by miscreants in the train while travelling to Delhi?
I had completed MA in Sociology from Gramoday PG College Veersingpur Saraiya in my home district Ambedkarnagar. And I had finished four semesters of Law from CB Singh Law College Ambedkarnagar. I completed the course later on.
What happened on that fateful night when you lost your leg?
On April 11, 2011, I was going to Delhi in connection with my selection in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and I had taken Padmavati Express from Lucknow. I was travelling in a general compartment since I did not have a confirmed ticket. Even before the train reached Bareilly, some three-four persons assaulted me in full public view in the moving train. When I realised that none of the passengers are coming to my assistance, I resisted their move with all my might, and they came to realise that they cannot overpower me so easily. They snatched my chain and made a joint bid to grab me. I could not guess what they were up to when they, all of a sudden, threw me out of the fast moving train.
What happened thereafter?
It was around 2 am in the night and I was lying at an unknown place in utter darkness, writhing in excruiating pain, with a fractured leg and bruised limbs and bleeding profusely all over the body. With no help I kept on lying there, crying for help the whole night in pain. Only in the morning some locals from surrounding villages gathered and they took me to the GRP Bareilly who admitted me to the District Hospital.
Did any help came from the government?
First of all the Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav came to me (he was not the CM then) and he gave an assistance of Rs one lakh, instructing the doctors to take proper care of me. Later on some BSP ministers came and they also gave me Rs one lakh for treatment. After two days the doctors referred me to Trauma Centre in Lucknow.
Did any help come from Government?
When I was in Lucknow Trauma Centre, the Congress leader Ajay Maken came and he instructed the officials to arrange my shifting to AIIMS Delhi. It was all due to wide media coverage. I am really indebted to the media. I remained at the AIIMS for four months. Since I was a sportsperson my expenses were borne by the Ministry of Sports.
What physical loss had this incident incur on you?
I lost my left leg (it had to be removed), two rods were inserted in the right leg for support. There were fractures in spine, waste and arms.
What was the response of the CISF official after this episode?
They offered me a job. I am grateful to them. I have not accepted the job yet and the offer is still pending.
How did this idea of climbing the Mount Everest came to you, considering your present physical condition?
Everyone thought that I have become a burden. This kind of an image of myself I simply hated, and therefore I decided that I will try something which ordinary people with normal limbs and physique do not dare to undertake.
How did you manage to fulfill this dream?
I tried and got the contact number of Ms. Bachhendri Pal, the famous mountaineer, who heads the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation, an institution training the cadets and employees of the Tatas to undertake the adventure of mountaineering. I went to Jamshedpur to meet her. I am extremely thankful to Ms. Bachhendri Pal who accepted me as a trainee without demanding any fees. I stayed in their training camp in Uttarakashi from March 3, 2012 to March 18, 2013. For basic course I stayed at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering for 28 days.
How many days it took you to reach the Mount Everest?
It took me forty five days and it was a very difficult, rather hazardous journey to make it to the height of 8,848 meters. I started on March 31, 2013 and reached on the top on May 21, 2013 at 10.55 am.
And how did you feel when you touched the peak?
O! Wow! It was an inexpressible and mixed emotion of joy, wonder, amazement and jubilation.
What are your future plans?
I am going to establish a sports academy in Unnao district. I have seen the land. It is a project of Rs 12 crore. I do not know how I will manage, but I know – ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. I want to help out those who have a dream to become a sportsman but are not able to do anything because of their financial conditions.
What message would you like to give to the youth of the country?
We just need firm determination and a dream. In modern times girls have to move out of the homes. Therefore, they must get the training in martial arts. It is necessary for their security and protection. To the policemen I would like to say that instead of wasting their time on harassing the witness and the common man who comes forward to help a victim, they should search for the offender.