Mumbai's Wilson College shows the path to inclusion with new faculty member Payal Bhattad
Payal Bhattad, a history topper in the Mumbai University, has joined Mumbai's prestigious Wilson College as a faculty member. Being visually impaired is just one of the many challenges this young woman from Vidarbha has overcome.
Gold medalist in M.A History from the University of Mumbai and a first ranker in Wilson College in the same subject. Not to mention numerous achievements in sports, including medals in swimming at state and national levels.
No wonder Mumbai's well-known Wilson College was quick to hire Payal Bhattad for the post of assistant professor Its a dream come true for Payal. She loves teaching at her former college which has a rich heritage and iconic status.
While Wilson College welcomed her with open arms, other institutes were not so open to hiring a visually impaired person, says Payal. She cleared every interview but was never sent the appointment letter.
I have experienced a lot of rejections while applying for jobs and sadly they were because of then narrow minded attitudes of people in higher positions. They could not trust themselves to give me a chance to prove my abilities and their focus remained on the fact that I am blind. - Payal Bhattad, Assistant Professor, Wilson College
At Wilson College, Payal found a management that was ready to embrace her for her ability and was open to inclusion. Like everyone else, she went through the interview process and was found to be deserving. There were some voices that were sceptical of a blind faculty member but there were more voices in support.
Wilson College Principal Dr Anna Pratima Nikalje and faculty members Dr Biraj Mehta were especially receptive to Payal.
"Our principal Dr Anna Pratima Nikalje has faith in Payal and has recruited her as a faculty against many odds. Truly an example that other educations institutions should follow, says Dr Mehta.
Interestingly, Wilson College also offers a Certificate Course in Disability Studies, one of the few to do so.
As for Payal, she is happy to be doing what she always wanted to do. "Teaching has always been my passion as I believe that through students we can bring about a positive change in the society and make the world a better place.