Four months ago, Major Kamlesh Mani was on his usual patrol route in the Chanjmulla village of Kashmir when he met a young, friendly 16-year-old boy. Mani gave him a piece of chocolate and a friendship took root between Mani and the teenager, Gawhaur Mir, a native of the village who was born with a hearing and speech impairment.
Now, Major Mani sponsors the boy’s education. He has even bought him a smart phone so the two can always stay in touch.
“After meeting me a few times, he came with me to our Army camp. I gifted him a pair of shoes and we grew attached,” Major Mani told . “The next day, he came back with a crate of apples for me. I wasn’t there at the time, but, when I returned, he ran to say ‘hi’ and only then accepted something to eat.”
Mir comes from a big family of nine members, of whom four can’t hear or speak.
“After meeting with his family, I decided to sponsor his (Mir’s) education and pay for any medical expenses. The family was very emotional, but they were happy someone wanted to help out,” said Major Mani.
Mir, Mani added, was previously enrolled in a Baramulla school but was unhappy there because he would be beaten up by teachers. The major has now got him enrolled at a school in Handwara, where a teacher for special needs is available, and paid for his books, uniform, and tuition. Mir is currently in Class 9.
“The family has given me consent to take him wherever needed for his treatment. He was diagnosed with 70 per cent disability, so the chances of getting his hearing back are very low, but I’ve offered to take him to Delhi whenever I go for a check-up,” Mani said.
Major Mani, however, said there were no hesitations when he befriended Mir. “There were no apprehensions at all. The people of Chanjmulla are cooperative.” (ThePrint)