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June 29, 2015

Man defies odds to earn livelihood with dignity


June 29, 2015

Once in a while you come across a person, who has defied all odds, but never lost his determination to lead an honourable life. Abdul Malik, a thirty-four-year-old rickshaw driver is one such person, who despite his physical shortcoming of being disabled from both legs is earning livelihood for his family with honour and dignity.
Despite the fact that he is disabled from both legs, Abdul Malik drives a CNG rickshaw.
While talking to this scribe, he revealed that his struggles with lives began when he was one-year-old. “It was due to a prolonged and severe typhoid attack after which I could never walk on my legs.”
He said that he made alterations to his rickshaw with the help of a mechanic and now he can drive it as the clutch, gear and brakes have been modified into the handles just like a scooter.
Abdul Malik pointed out that due to his physical disability he could not get education properly and had to leave school just after grade three. Currently he is living in a rented house at Sir Syed Chowk, Rawalpindi, for which he has to give rent of Rs6,500 per month. Abdul Malik is also a married person and he is father of three-year-old girl and two-month-old son.
According to him he never accepted any sort of financial assistance from any of his family members and he never thought to beg before anybody for his livelihood. “People like me with humble background generally start begging for earning their bread and butter. However, I chose to get myself involved in manual labour to earn my livelihood,” he commented.
Abdul Malik, purchased his rickshaw on instalments, some three years ago and so far has been able to pay Rs50,000 and an amount of Rs160,000 is yet to be paid to the rickshaw company to get it free of instalments.
When inquired, he said the commuters feel no difference while riding his rickshaw despite observing his ‘disabled legs’ however, this is the police, who questions him a lot about this issue.

“The police personnel often stop me on roads and generally give their verdict as though I was exploiting my disability to earn my living. I respond to them it is far better to ride a rickshaw than to beg,” he shared his feelings.
He takes out his rickshaw on the road when it is not rush hour, as riding rickshaw in rush hours creates a lot of physical pain for him. Generally he is able to earn Rs500 to Rs1,000 daily by commuting the citizens on his rickshaw. Before riding rickshaw he used to sell fruit on a pushcart at Rawalpindi Railways Station and he was able to earn Rs250 daily by this trade too. However, after his marriage, he realised that he needed bigger sums to run his family affairs and riding rickshaw was his ultimate choice.

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