It’s very hard being a differently abled person in a country like India. A physically challenged man from Indore, Vikram Agnihotri, has shown that sheer grit and determination can help surmount any odds. The motivational speaker and armless Indian, who lost both his arms in an accident at the age of 7, has now secured a driving license by using his legs to steer and brake the car.
But how does he drive?
Vikram uses his right leg to manipulate the steering while the left leg is used to control the accelerator and brakes. Given the fact that the car he drives is a Maruti Celerio automatic, only one leg is required to manipulate the accelerator and the brake. Other signalling and car functions such as the indicators, headlamps, etc are manipulated using the right leg.
It wasn’t easy getting the license though.
Vikram first applied for a car driving learner’s license in May 2015. In October 2015, he applied for the permanent driver’s license at Indore, and even drove a car on a heavy vehicle track as a part of the RTO driving test. However, he was failed in the test with the RTO giving the reason that he couldn’t use his hands to signal.
Thereafter Vikram approached the transport commissioner’s tribunal in Gwalior, seeking a reason for rejection. He was told that the car he drove wasn’t modified adequately for use by a disabled person, and this was the reason why he was failed in the driving test.
How then did he finally manage to get the license?
Vikram first modified his car to meet the RTO standards required for the disabled to be able to drive it. He then petitioned various ministers including Nitin Gadkari, the union minister for roads, transport and and highways. He finally received the driver’s license under the ‘invalid carriage’ category, on the 30th of September 2016.
Ever since Vikram received his learner’s driving license back in May 2015, he has covered 14,500 Kms, ‘without any mishap’ in his own words. Soon, he plans to drive to fulfill his dreams of driving to Ladakh, a good 3,000 Kms away. Now, that’s inspirational.